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Rents in LA forecasted to rise $139 per month by 2021

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That will drive up the average annual cost of rent to $2,369, according to a new report

A tall turquoise building with a fire escape sandwiched next to a tan stucco building against a blue sky.
Nearly 55 percent of all LA County households are renters.
Getty Images/EyeEm

Sorry, Angelenos: A new report from USC’s Lusk Center for Real Estate anticipates that the average Los Angeles County renter will spend about $139 more per month on housing in 2021 than in 2019.

The average apartment rent in LA County was $2,230 per month this year—up from $2,180 in 2018, according to the 2019 Casden Multifamily Forecast, a rental market study published Friday.

The average rent is expected to increase 3.1 percent next year, rising to $2,300 in 2020. Another 3 percent increase is expected in 2021, pushing the average rent to $2,369, the study estimates.

“Rents are continuing to rise, and at a slower pace,” said Richard Green, director of the USC Lusk Center for Real Estate.

Rents rose a little bit less than renter incomes, the report’s authors said, “so affordability, while still poor, improved a tiny bit over the past year.”

Renters probably aren’t feeling the relief. The report cites American Community Survey data that shows more than 52 percent of renter households are rent-burdened, meaning they spend 30 percent or more of their income on rent. Nearly 55 percent of all LA County households are renters.

High housing costs and a shortage of housing that’s affected not only the region but the state go hand in hand.

The construction of new housing for renters has increased steadily over the last decade, the report says, but slipped 33 percent in the first half of this year. The county’s vacancy rate was 3.5 percent this year, and is expected to be roughly the same in 2021 (3.6 percent). Low vacancy “reflect the chronic shortfall of new housing stock,” the report says.

The report also says that a lack of affordability is likely the reason why many workers are “fleeing” the region for places where housing is less expensive. For those leaving Los Angeles metro area, the report said the vast majority headed east, to Riverside, San Bernardino, and Ontario.