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Santa Monica Rents Cooled Down Last Year

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By Jorge Casuso

January 5, 2023 -- Rents in Santa Monica grew at a slower rate last year than they did in 2021 and are now slightly higher than at the start of the coronavirus shutdown, according to a report released by Apartment List on Thursday.

Rents increased 7.2 percent in 2022, after rising 12.5 percent in 2021, according to data compiled from listings on the popular website. They are up by 1.5 percent since March 2020.

Santa Monica Rent Growth

Still, Santa Monica’s rent growth over the past year outpaced both the state, where the median rent increased by an average of 3.5 percent, and the nation, which saw an average increase of 5 percent.

"Last year represented a return to pre-pandemic levels of rent growth, after the astronomical 17.6 percent spike in rents that we saw in 2021," researchers wrote.

"The cooldown in rent growth is being mirrored by continued easing on the supply side of the market," with the vacancy index currently at 5.9 percent "after more than a year of gradual increases."

Currently, the overall median rent in Santa Monica stands at $2,200, after falling -0.6 percent last month, with the median rent for a one-bedroom at $2,079 and $2,591 for a two-bedroom.

Santa Monica's overall rent is 6.1 percent higher than the price for the two dozen other cities in the Los Angeles Metro area analyzed bt Apartment List, according to the report.

Eight cities or communities had higher rents than Santa Monica, with Marina del Rey easily topping the list, with the median rent for a two-bedroom apartment at $5,197, or double Santa Monica's rate.

It was followed by Irvine, where the median rent for a two-bedroom stands at $3,220, followed by Newport Beach, where the rent is $3,184.

The lowest rents are in Long Beach, which has an overall median rent of $1,678, according to the report.

Torrance had the fastest year-over-year rent growth at 10.8 percent, while West Hollywood had the slowest at -3.9 percent.

Only four other cities in the region saw rents decline in 2022 -- Costa Mesa, Pomona, Irvine and Newport Beach.

Santa Monica prices were up 6.7 percent year-over-year after dipping by -0.6 percent in December and -0.5 percent in November.

The average national rents fell for the fourth straight month in December, declining by -0.8 percent, according to the report.

"The timing of this cooldown in the rental market is consistent with the typical seasonal trend, but its magnitude has been notably sharper than what we’ve seen in the past," researchers wrote.

"This suggests that the recent swing to falling rents is reflective of a broader shift in market conditions beyond seasonality alone."

The slowdown has been widespread, with rents falling last month in 90 of the nation’s 100 largest cities, according to the report. The sharpest decline was in New York City, where prices dropped by 3 percent.

The trend is likely to continue this year, with prices expected to remain flat, researchers said.

"We expect that 2023 will see bargaining power shift back to renters, and that rent prices this year will grow only modestly, if at all," the report predicts.

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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