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Santa Monica Rent Growth Slowing, Listings Show

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By Jorge Casuso

November 2, 2021 -- Rents in Santa Monica continued growing slowly, inching up another 1 percent in October as the national rental market cools, according to Apartment List's latest report released Monday.

The increase comes after rents ticked up 0.8 percent in September and marks the 10th straight month rents have increased in the beach city.

Last month's increase continues a recovery that has seen rents in Santa Monica rise sharply by 11.8 percent compared to the same time last year, when the coronavirus shutdown crippled the economy.

Despite the jump, Santa Monica's year-over-year rent growth lags slightly behind California's average of 12.8 percent and the national average of 15.8 percent, according to the report.

Currently, median rents in Santa Monica stand at $2,102 for a one-bedroom apartment and $2,644 for a two-bedroom, according to the report.

"Throughout the past year, rent increases have been occurring not just in the city of Santa Monica, but across the entire metro," researchers said.

"Of the largest 10 cities that we have data for in the Los Angeles metro, all of them have seen prices rise."

Irvine continues to fetch the highest prices with a median rent of $3,579 for a two-bedroom apartment, more than $900 a month more than Santa Monica.

Santa Clarita had the second highest rates in the Metro area with a median rent of $2,660 for a two-bedroom, or $16 a month more than Santa Monica, which was third.

By comparison, Los Angeles --- where rents have risen 10.4 percent year-to-year -- the median rent last month for a one bedroom apartment was $1,700 and $2,200 for a two-bedroom, according to the report.

That compares to a 17.9 percent increase for San Diego and 9.7 percent for San Francisco, where prices still remain 11.8 percent below pre-pandemic levels.

While virtually all of the nation’s 100 largest cities have experienced "rapid and uninterrupted" rent growth over the past six months, 22 of those cities saw rents fall in October, according to the report.

October marked the the third month in a row that rent growth slowed across the country, rising by .08 percent, the smallest increase since February.

Still, for October -- which "normally sees prices declining due to seasonality in the market" -- this year's increase contrasts to rent decreases between 2017 and 2019 before the pandemic sent rents plummeting, the report said.

"Nationally, and in nearly all individual cities across the country, rent growth in 2021 has exceeded average growth rates from pre-pandemic years," researchers wrote.

But there are indications the rental market is cooling, they said.

Apartment List's vacancy index "ticked up for a second straight month and month-over-month rent growth came in at less than one-third of its July peak."

"The record-setting growth is finally showing signs of a meaningful slowdown," according to the report.

Apartment List Rent Report data is drawn monthly from the millions of listings on the site, according to the website.

The report calculates one-bedroom and two-bedroom rents and aims to identify transacted rent prices, as opposed to the listed rent prices. To view the full report click here.

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