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'Seeing a lot of demand right now' | Skyrocketing rent hikes across San Diego County, new report shows

New research shows rent has skyrocketed over the last year across the San Diego region.

SAN DIEGO COUNTY, Calif. — If you’re a renter, you probably know how hard it is to find an affordable place to live these days. 

New research shows rent has skyrocketed over the last year across the San Diego region.

“Throughout 2021, we were seeing rent growth far above the typical trends that we’re used to in pre-pandemic years,” said housing economist, Chris Salviati. 

According to researchers at apartmentlist.com, over the last year, San Diego saw a staggering rate of growth in rent prices at 18.3%. 

Surrounding cities saw similar rent hikes with Vista, Escondido, Oceanside, and Carlsbad all around 20%. Chula Vista was not far behind at a 16.9% rise in rent over the course of 2021.

“That 17% that we’re seeing in Chula Vista is still an extremely high rate of rent growth,” said Salviati. “But really, across the board, we’re seeing really fast rent growth throughout the region.”

The rates of increase across the county are extremely high in comparison to previous years.

“I mean, it’s huge,” said Dr. Alan Gin, an economics professor at the University of San Diego. “Typically inflation, in terms of rent, is in the low single digits so if you have something approaching 20%, that is a really big number.”

Dr. Gin says rent growth numbers like these really put pressure on the cost-of-living for people with lower incomes.

“People at the lower end are more likely to be renters and so if the rent goes up almost 20%, that’s more money out of their pocket,” said Dr. Gin.

According to apartmentlist.com, median rent prices in San Diego are $1,850 for a one-bedroom and $2,450 for two-bedrooms. 

Looking around the county, Carlsbad tops the list with $2,230 for one-bedrooms and $2,830 for two-bedrooms, whereas Chula Vista shows up as one of the more affordable options with one-bedroom units at $1,630 and two-bedrooms at $2,250.

“You tend to find lower prices both in the South Bay and also in East County as well,” said Dr. Gin. “So rents tend to be lower in those areas.”

Rent prices year-to-year typically see growth anywhere from 1% to 5%, so why did the numbers rise so drastically last year?

“We’re seeing more and more folks just simply renewing leases, so I think a lot of that is just folks not wanting to move during the pandemic,” said Salviati. 

“At the same time, we’ve been seeing delays in the construction pipeline related to the pandemic as well. Labor shortages, increase in materials costs, particularly lumber, are having a factor there," said Salviati. "Overall, what it comes down to is we’re seeing a lot of demand right now and very low vacancies, so not a lot of inventory available and a lot of folks competing for what is available.”

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