Last week, the 2014 USC Casden Multifamly Forecast informed us that median rent in Los Angeles County had shot up to $1,716 in the second quarter of 2014, making for the biggest annual rent increase in four years. What makes that especially shocking is that, in that same period from the second quarter of 2013 to the second quarter of 2014, more new housing units opened in LA County (more than 7,500) than at any other time in the last four years. It's simply not enough—the vacancy rate in the county has actually plummeted since last year, falling 10.8 percent since last year, to just 3.3 percent. USC Lusk Center Director Richard Green explained in a statement that the problem is, as usual, affordability: "Though the economy and employment have improved, renters' incomes are stagnant. So while net absorption and occupancy rates are moving in the right direction, affordability continues to worsen." So it looks like LA will hold its spot as the nation's most unaffordable place for renting, even as developers continue to build (it doesn't help that they're mostly building high-end luxury rentals).
Non-shockingly, the study found Antelope Valley had both the lowest rents and the highest vacancy in the county (at 7.4 percent); more weirdly, Van Nuys/Northeast San Fernando Valley had the third-lowest rent in the county, but also the lowest vacancy rate, at 2.3 percent.
Meanwhile, the report predicts that there will be fewer and fewer vacancies in the future, "but not as steeply as they have for the past four years." Offering one potential option for renters who are already putting enormous portions of their paychecks toward housing, Green went on to say, "As more renters double up or move elsewhere, vacancies could increase and drive down rents." In other words, find some roommates or move to the Antelope Valley.