Rents dip across Southern California — but not in Orange County

Apartment dwellers in OC paid 2.2% more last year as people left big cities for suburbs

Rents Dip Across Southern California — But Not in OC
(Illustration by The Real Deal with Getty)

Apartment rents are falling in Los Angeles County and much of the U.S. — but not in Orange County.

Overall rents in OC rose 2.2 percent last year, while falling 2.6 percent across L.A. County, the Los Angeles Times reported, citing figures from Apartment List. 

Demand for housing in urban areas such as Los Angeles fell after the pandemic as office workers were allowed to work remotely and flocked to suburbs. That pushed down rents near central business districts, but increased them in suburban markets such as Orange County.

Such L.A. County cities as Los Angeles, Burbank, Long Beach, Santa Monica and West Hollywood have seen typical rents fall from 3 to 5 percent compared to a year ago, according to Apartment List.

As rents in the U.S. fell 1 percent year over year, “denser urban areas have seen much slower rent growth,” and rentals in outlying and suburban areas have “sustained a pretty strong upwelling of demand,” Rob Warnock, a researcher at Apartment List, told the Times.

Since the dawn of the contagion, rents have wobbled across L.A. County, dropping 7 percent in 2020, rising 15 percent in 2021, then ticking up in 2022 before falling last year. One outlier is Santa Clarita, where rents rose 3.9 percent this month from a year ago.

In Orange County, rent prices never dropped.

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While staying flat through 2020, OC rents jumped 22 percent in 2021, stabilized in 2022, then rose slightly last year.

In Anaheim, the median rent for a one-bedroom apartment this month was nearly $2,000, up 1.2 percent from a year ago, according to Apartment List. Ditto in Santa Ana, where rents rose 1.6 percent. Rents also rose 1 percent in Costa Mesa, 2.3 percent in Irvine and 3.2 percent in Orange.

For some tenants in OC, rents have doubled, according to María Alejandra Barboza, a community tenant counselor in Anaheim and Santa Ana.

“We continually see the displacement of entire families,” Barboza told the Times.

A University of Southern California study in December predicted apartment rents across Southern California would rise up to 4 percent through 2025, with a slightly above-average rent increase in Orange County, where the typical asking rent would hit a record $2,800 a month. 

— Dana Bartholomew

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