Rents rise in Los Angeles as renters scoop up apartments

Landlords are pulling back on concessions offered during the pandemic

The second quarter was the third straight of rising asking rents (Unsplash / Christian Gabele)
The second quarter was the third straight of rising asking rents (Unsplash / Christian Gabele)

The pandemic lull in Los Angeles’ apartment market may be over — vacancies are tightening and rents are on the rise.

The vacancy rate across L.A. County in the second quarter stood at 4 percent compared with 4.8 percent in the second quarter of last year, according to the L.A. Business Journal.

The second quarter was the third straight of rising asking rents and positive net absorption.

An influx of new units has slowed rent increases compared to the pre-pandemic pace. About 11,000 units have hit the market over the last year in the region, according to Stepp Commercial principal Kimberly Stepp.

Leasing is slower in submarkets with high supply, including Downtown L.A., which could continue to lag behind other submarkets. Downtown’s market was among the hardest hit in the region — vacancy rose 3 percent from Q1 2020 to Q2 2020.

Downtown Santa Monica has also been slow to recover. The vacancy rate remained high in the second quarter at 9.4 percent.

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Overall, however, the wider Southern California region is recovering from pandemic lows.

“All the Southern California counties are back to having 5 percent or less vacancy and 95 percent occupancy, which means rents are on the rise again,” Colliers International Group senior vice president Kitty Wallace said.

The Inland Empire, which has historically been cheaper than L.A. and Orange Counties, has some of the fastest rising rents in the nation.

Landlords are also pulling back on concessions. Last year, some were offering as much as two months free rent, equivalent to a 16 percent discount.

“If you’re smart and know what you’re doing, you’re not giving concessions anymore,” Wallace said.

[LABJ] — Dennis Lynch