Low housing supply pushing rents higher – Orange County Register

As has been known for a long time, Southern California is an increasingly expensive place to live. With the construction and availability of new housing stock not keeping pace with the population, housing prices have continued to grow. According to several recent reports, rental markets have been especially impacted, with renters seeing consistent — and at times sharp — increases in their rents.

According to a recent report by Reis Inc., a commercial real estate data firm, rents continued to increase to all-time highs in the first quarter of 2017, with rents for apartments up 2.6 percent since last year in Orange County, 4 percent in Los Angeles County and 5.4 percent in the Inland Empire. Respectively, monthly apartment rents in Orange County, Los Angeles County and the Inland Empire have risen to $1,806, $1,778 and $1,278. In large part, this owes to low vacancy rates in the four counties — as low as 2.7 percent in the Inland Empire and up to 3.2 and 3.3 percent in Orange and Los Angeles counties.

“My instinct is that the very high home prices and rents in the coastal counties are forcing families inland,” Inland Empire economist John Husing explained to the Orange County Register, thus resulting in low vacancy rates and higher rents in Riverside and San Bernardino counties. One indicator of this is data from the California Department of Finance showing that in just the past two years, the Inland Empire has seen population growth of more than 100,000.

Meanwhile, another study by real estate website Zillow suggested renters in the Los Angeles and Orange County metropolitan area will need an annual raise of $1,152 just to keep pace with expected rent increases over the next year — the second highest in the nation just after Seattle. Nationwide, Zillow found the average to be $168.

Reiterating this point, real estate firm Marcus & Millichap has predicted rents in Los Angeles to rise an average of 5.4 percent by the end of 2017.

While increases of some…

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