Rent spike in LA shows affordability crisis may be deepening: report

Average prices for 1-bed units jumped more than 24 other cities, new data shows

(Credit: iStock)
(Credit: iStock)

Los Angeles’ affordability troubles have persisted for years, but a new report shows how quickly it may be getting worse for renters.

Median rent for one-bedroom apartments in L.A. spiked 15.7 percent last month compared to last year – a higher rate than any other major city in the country, according to Zumper, the apartment search site. It was the biggest year-over-year jump for Los Angeles this year, said Crystal Chen, a Zumper spokesperson.

Just last month alone, the median price for one-bedroom units jumped 2.5 percent compared to August. The median rate for two-bedroom units also jumped 9.5 percent since last year.

The report comes a week before Californians vote on an initiative that would allow cities and counties to regulate rent increases. Zumper tracks the rates that median rent has increased by in cities across the country for one- and two-bedroom units over the past year.

None of the major cities — including New York, Miami and Chicago — saw a greater increase for one-bedroom units than Los Angeles in the September year-over-year calculations.

According to the report, Los Angeles is home to the fourth-most expensive rental market in the nation, with median prices for one- and two-bedroom units now at $2,430 and $3,220, respectively.

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Median rent for one-bedrooms in San Francisco, the most expensive market of all, dropped slightly, by 0.8 percent, to $3,620, in Zumper’s latest report. Two-bedroom units fell 1.7 percent to $4,720. Neighboring San Jose, home to the the third-highest median rate for one-bedrooms, saw its rents increase 1.6 percent to $2,510, while its two-bedroom units decreased 0.6 percent to $3,220.

By contrast, New York City’s one-bedroom rent is about $2,850, and its two-bedroom rents fell 1.2 percent to $3,240.

Nationally, one- and two-bedroom rents grew 0.7 percent last month, to $1,203 and $1,432, respectively, according to Zumper.

The high rents in major California cities illustrate the tensions over the outcome of Prop. 10, one of the most expensive campaigns in state history.

The Costa-Hawkins law that would be repealed if the proposition passes prohibits cities and counties from imposing new forms of rent control on single-family and apartment buildings constructed after 1995. If Prop. 10 passes, local governments could expand rent control as they see fit.

The Zumper report analyzed rental data from more than one million listings across the United States. Data is aggregated on a monthly basis to calculate median asking rents for the top 100 metro areas by population.