Landlords Forced To Offer Discounts as Rental Units Stay Empty
By Dolores Quintana
In August, the average monthly cost of a typical California apartment dipped to $1,958, marking a notable 2.4% decline over the course of a year, according to a report from The Orange County Register based on data from Apartment List. This reduction in rental rates represents the most significant drop since March 2021, when the economy was still reeling from the impacts of the pandemic. Nationally, rents saw a more modest decrease of 1.2%.
This decline from the previous year’s rental rates could be looked at as a good thing for renters in the county, who had been grappling with a relentless annual increase of 4.6% over the preceding four years.
One pivotal factor in this shift is the willingness of landlords to offer discounts, a response to the growing options available to renters. The increasing number of vacant units in the market underscores this phenomenon.
Throughout August, California’s statewide vacancy rate remained static at 5.1% for the third consecutive month, up from 4% a year earlier. This marks the highest number of rentals awaiting tenants since March 2021. On a national scale, 6.4% of rental units stood vacant in August.
However, it’s important to note that despite these vacancies, finding suitable housing remains relatively challenging. California’s vacancy rates are still below pre-pandemic levels, which averaged 5.4% during the 2018-19 period. It should also be noted that overall, California rents have risen 17% in the last five years.