LA rents dip in December, still higher than pre-pandemic

“Declines are negating some rent growth from earlier,” says researcher

ApartmentList's Rob Warnock (ApartmentList, Getty)
ApartmentList's Rob Warnock (ApartmentList, Getty)

The cost to rent a Los Angeles apartment dipped 1 percent in December, but that does not mean it’s becoming a cheaper city to live in, according to a research report from Apartment List, a San Francisco-headquartered rental listing site.

The median rent in Los Angeles, for apartments of all bedroom sizes, was $1,873 in December. In the previous month, Los Angeles’ median rent was $1,891.

The reason for the price dip is similar to the slowdown in the market for single-family houses, said Rob Warnock, senior research associate for Apartment List. People move around less during the holiday season. Also, people move around less in markets such as the current one where consumer confidence is low and interest rates are higher.

Los Angeles rents are still more expensive than they were before the pandemic. Apartment List found that the current median Los Angeles rent is 7 percent higher than in March 2020, when the pandemic started, Warnock said. Median L.A. rent was $1,752 in March 2020.

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“There’s a lot of talk of how slow the market is. Rent declines are negating some rent growth from earlier in the year,” Warnock said. “But compared to pre-pandemic, most markets are more expensive. We’re not negating price gains.”

If rents are higher, it doesn’t mean landlords and property owners have an easier time, said Dan Yukelson, executive director of landlord trade group Apartment Association of Greater Los Angeles.

“Owners are trying to cover debts from the losses that they have suffered through the past years,” he said. Yukelson also noted that property owners’ cost of doing business has increased, which has made their business tougher.

Zumper, another apartment listing site, has research which found a slight uptick of 0.8 percent in Los Angeles rents when comparing December to November. Crystal Chen, a Zumper representative, said that her group has a different research methodology than Apartment List.

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