What’s behind San Diego County’s record breaking rents?

SAN DIEGO (KUSI) – There’s a lot of construction activity in downtown San Diego, but who are the people who will be living in the new apartment complexes with their sweeping views of the city?

From the East Village to Little Italy, rent levels are soaring, exceeding the amount that many people pay each month for a home mortgage. In Litle Italy, an upscale complex called “Vici” is nearing completion. Studios lease for $2,100 and the rent for a one bedroom unit starts at just over $3,000. It’s not just in the downtown area, where rents are rising.

All across San Diego county, the price of rental housing is going up. According to a survey by MarketPointe Realty Advisors, rent over a one year period from March 2017 to March 2018 rose by 20%. Since 2015, MarketPointe said rents in the county soared by a whopping 20%. Real estate analyst Gary London said the average rent on a one bedroom in the county is just under $2,000.

A one bedroom in the downtown area is renting on average for $2,300. London said rents will continue to rise because of the short supply of housing. Older apartments may be more affordable for lower and middle income families. Yet, tenants rights organizer Rafael Bautista said landlords at older properties are also hiking rents.

At the Village Apartments in Linda Vista, the management had been hiking rent by as much as $200 a year, even though some units had mold, leaks and were in substandard condition. Bautista who helped the tenants protest the conditions and the steep rent increases said the property owner eventually agreed to make repairs and hold off on rent hikes. Bautista said he would like to see rent control, as a means of keeping housing costs more reasonable.

This November, California voters will decide if a 1995 state law that restricts rent control should be repealed. San Diego is one of the few big cities in California that doesn’t have rent control. Even if the proposition passes, it would still be up to local lawmakers to pass a rent control ordinance. Opponents of rent control don’t believe new restrictions will ease rental prices, and might even tighten housing supply.

At this point in time, London said we are building just a third of what the market needs. One of the most surprising figures; in a county of more than 3 million people, there are only 18 new apartment projects being built this year, which will produce about 5,000 new units. London said we need to set more aggressive housing targets and help developers build projects more quickly by reducing the time and costs of getting permits.

Categories: California News, Local San Diego News, Politics

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