California rents dipped 1% last year, first drop since 2020

Jonathan Lansner


California’s renters got a mild breather in 2023.

When my trusty spreadsheet looked at ApartmentList’s rent data – a curious mix of landlord listings and Census stats – it’s clear that the Golden State remains a pricey place to be a tenant, even after pandemic-era rent hikes ended last year. The stats track rents in 46 states and the District of Columbia.

The modest good news for California tenants is that rents by this measurement fell on average 1% last year to $2,156 after rising 11% in 2022 and 6% in 2021. Average rents fell 2% in 2020, the pandemic’s first year.

California was one of 12 states with declining rents last year. Nationally, rents fell 0.2%. The biggest drops were in Idaho, off 4.8%, Arizona, off 3.5%, and Nevada, off 3.4%. And California’s economic arch-rivals?

Florida had a 0.9% rent drop. Texas rents rose 0.2%.

But that slim 2023 decline still left California with the second-highest rent nationally – 54% above the $1,404 rent a typical American paid.

The only place pricier was Hawaii at $2,236. Cheapest? West Virginia at $886. Texas was No. 22 at $1,320, and Florida was No. 11 at $1,585.

It’s been tough to be a tenant since a coronavirus entered the economic picture. An initial rush to find extra living space created heated competition for housing. Rising rents got developers in a building mood – and that construction may be finally helping tenants.

But that’s why California rents remain 14% above 2019 – though if it makes anyone feel better, only four states had smaller increases.

Nationally, rents have risen 22% in four years. The biggest rent hikes were in New Mexico (46%), Delaware and New Hampshire (38%), and Florida and Idaho (35%). Texas rents rose 20%.

Mixed California

Rent swings are by no means universal across the Golden State.

Just look at the 12 most populous counties, ranked by last year’s rent change – with the local four-year price increases as perspective …

San Francisco: $2,738 – off 3.4% in a year but still up 7% since 2019.

Alameda: $2,054 – off 2.9% in a year but up 6%.

Riverside: $1,444 – off 2.8% in a year but up 10%.

Sacramento: $1,348 – off 2.6% in a year but up 6%.

Contra Costa: $2,011 – off 1.9% in a year but up 6%.

San Bernardino: $1,397 – off 1.3% in a year but up 8%.

Ventura: $1,939 – off 1.1% in a year but up 9%.

Los Angeles: $1,821 – off 0.8% in a year but up 11%.

Orange: $2,135 – off 0.6% in a year but up 13%.

Santa Clara: $2,539 – off 0.2% in a year but up 13%.

Fresno: $1,011 – flat in a year and up 3%.

San Diego: $1,949 – up 0.3% in a year and up 15%.

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2024-01-09 15:24:46 , Sunnyvale – The Mercury News

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