Santa Monica, WeHo most expensive rent cities in LA County

Demand and inflation mean no relief in sight for renters or landlords

Santa Monica Homes
(Illustration by The Real Deal with Getty)

Los Angeles market rents continue to climb, according to a survey of the most expensive, as well as the cheapest, cities in metro area for renters.

Santa Monica was the most expensive city to rent, according to the monthly Los Angeles Area Metro report from apartment rental platform Zumper. It was released on July 18.

The median rent in Santa Monica totaled to $2,920 for a one-bedroom apartment. West Hollywood came in second with a median rent of $2,890 for a one-bedroom. In Orange County, Laguna Beach was the third priciest city in the market with a median rent of $2,820 for a one-bedroom unit.

The most affordable Los Angeles area cities included Inglewood, home of SoFi Stadium, where the median one-bedroom apartment was priced at $1,700. Long Beach ranked as the next cheapest at $1,710 per month. The South Bay city of Hawthorne, headquarters of Elon Musk’s Space X company, had a median rent of $1,750.

The Zumper survey found that the Los Angeles area city with the fastest-growing rent was Huntington Beach. The Orange County surfing hub offered a median rent of $2,320. Rents grew 31.1 percent in a year-over-year comparison.

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The median rental price for a Los Angeles area one-bedroom was $2,360, which represents an 18 percent hike compared to the price at the same time last year, according to Zumper’s National Rent Report, which was released earlier this month. Los Angeles was the sixth most expensive city for one bedroom apartment rentals in the nation, ranking behind New York, San Francisco, San Jose, Boston and Miami.

Pressure will continue to grow on the Los Angeles area rental market. Rising interest rates have pushed home ownership out of reach for many first time buyers, which pushes up demand for rentals.

While Zumper does not cover apartment vacancy, research from Marcus & Millichap’s second-quarter research note said that vacancy for L.A. County apartments fell to a record low of 1.8 percent. The report from the Calabasas-based brokerage found that demand will exceed supply for the rest of the year.

Rental hikes don’t necessarily mean big paydays for landlords, said Dan Yukelson, executive director of Apartment Association of Greater Los Angeles.

“Recent rent increases have merely reset most owners at par, or at a place they would have ended up without the impacts of Covid,” Yukelson wrote in an email. “Today, housing providers are being pulled at both ends. One end we have moratoriums on evictions and rent increases. At the other end we have 40-year high inflationary pressures along with labor and supply shortages driving up costs.”

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