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Rents still flat in LA, despite low vacancies

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Apartment prices haven’t changed in the last two months

The median price for a one-bedroom apartment is $1,370, according to Apartment List.
Photo by Liz Kuball

The price of rent in Los Angeles hasn’t changed much in 2018, and in November, the median cost of renting didn’t budge at all, according to a new report from Apartment List.

The price of a one-bedroom apartment remained at $1,370, unchanged from a month ago (and the month before that). The price of a typical two-bedroom—$1,760—hasn’t moved either in the last month.

In the past year, rental prices have risen just 1.5 percent in Los Angeles. That’s actually slightly higher than the average increase of 1.4 percent across the state of California.

Rental costs have leveled off in spite of a historically low vacancy rate. According to real estate analyst CoStar, only 3.8 percent of apartments in LA County are currently vacant.

Typically, fewer vacancies correspond with high prices, since renters have fewer options to choose from when looking for a new apartment. Since 1990, when CoStar began keeping track, LA’s vacancy rate hasn’t dipped below 3 percent.

Though low, LA’s vacancy rate also hasn’t changed significantly throughout the year, allowing prices to hold steady.

Earlier this year, Richard Green, director of the Lusk Center for Real Estate at USC, told Curbed that a slight bump in housing construction within the city of Los Angeles has helped to satisfy some of the demand from renters—though it hasn’t been enough to drive prices down.

Apartment List bases its price calculations on Census data, giving a good snapshot of what residents in the city of Los Angeles are paying. CoStar gathers price information from online listings across the county, and gives a better sense of what prices renters might find when hunting for a new apartment.

CoStar finds the average price for an apartment of any size in LA County is $1,880 per month, up from $1,830 a year ago. That represents a 2.7 percent increase over that time.