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KPBS Midday Edition

Average Rent Hit Record High In San Diego County

Average Rent Hit Record High In San Diego County
Average Rent Hit Record High In San Diego County GUEST: Phillip Molnar, real estate reporter, The San Diego Union-Tribune

This is KPBS Midday Edition. I'm Maureen Cavanaugh. It's been reported that the medium housing program has been breaking records.'s is that over $580,000 for a single-family home. What is been somewhat less reported is the increase in rental rates. San Diego rents hit a record high and Coke September. It costs an average of over $1000 last month for a one-bedroom apartment. It's been years since Phillip Molnar wrote about his own apartment hunt in San Diego. Joining me is Phillip Molnar. Real estate reporter, The San Diego Union-Tribune . How do high home prices affect the rental market? The high home prices make it difficult for a lot of people that live in San Diego to buy homes. Because of that, they may not be able to come up with a down payment or don't make much to buy that home. The end up going into the rental market, which pushes up prices for everybody. Is there an aspect were rising prices for both homes and apartments are caused by the same thing? There is a lot of different theories about what is causing the current issues with the rising prices at the moment. A big thing that everyone goes back to and everyone can agree on is it is a lack of new housing being built. We are seeing a slowdown in the amount of homes and apartments being built over the years. It really crash during the great recession and we've seen it go up a little bit here and there. It is still nowhere near where we were at in the early 2000's. Studio apartments are a safety value for renters looking to save money. Why are not there more available in San Diego? In just one year, we've seen the price of studio apartments go up 11.4%. That is like more than any other type of housing. The thing is especially for single people, they are going to move into the cheapest possible place they can find. You talked about -- when I moved to San Diego, I did not have a lot of money. I was trying to find the cheapest place. I ended up moving into a little studio. Actually what's been going on is builders preferred to build two bedrooms. They are good for a lot of reasons. They can command a higher rent. Say if your builder, you will get a lot money back from your construction if you build a two bedroom. Also they are great because they are in such high demand because with people not being able to move into houses, you will have a couple maybe with the AB or maybe a couple that uses that room as a guest room or office. They're almost like recession proof because even when the economy goes down, you have more people jamming into two bedrooms. A little unique thing that we've seen happening is the size of one bedroom is getting smaller. This is funny because two years ago I decided I was going to sit down and write a story about how apartments were getting smaller. You see all over there's the stories about tiny houses. My whole theory was apartments must be getting smaller in San Diego to accommodate more people. What I found out is that no, apartments were getting bigger. My whole hypothesis was wrong. So that is why builders are making it bigger. In the last year or so, we've seen one bedrooms sort of taking the place of studios. We've seen them now in the average of 705 ft.². Where is back in the earlier part of like just 2010 to 2016, there were about 800 ft.². They're getting smaller. When you were looking for an apartment you were talking about that a moment ago. You called it the most difficult apartment search you've ever had worse the New York or San Francisco. Is it worse now? I think it is. When I went to personally was pretty shocking because I moved around a lot in the last 15 years. I thought I could handle anything when it came to apartment search especially after New York City. San Diego was the worst and I think it is because I have a lot of friends now in the city and I get to hear their stories. What we know is the vacancy rate is lower. Is like an average of 2.3% vacancy rate. That is almost like someone practically moving out and then a few days ago and then someone else moves in. What sort of advice would you give for people looking for a new apartment? That is tough. What I would say is just be prepared to go through a lot of sadness and frustration as long as you are prepared for that don't think everything is going to go okay. One thing that I did recently and I heard this from some of my stories is a lot of them asked for credit reports and they want to know your past residences like who was your past landlord? What is your job? If you can get a full day -- folder and make copies of your credit report and just hand it to your landlord. Then also it seems silly but if you're able to write down all your past addresses and phone numbers of your old landlord and as much information as you can get ready because about eight months ago I decided to take -- move in with the roommate to save money. It was a two bedroom in Golden Hill going for $1600 a month. So it was like this huge group of people showing up. There must've been like 20 or 30 people. Thank God we both got the apartment. So just being prepared helps. I've been speaking with Phillip Molnar, real estate reporter, The San Diego Union-Tribune. Thank you so much. Thank you for having me

The average rental price in San Diego County hit a record high of $1,875 in September, growing faster than home price increases.

Rents jumped nearly eight percent last month from a year before, according to a new rental report by MarketPointe Realty Advisors, which tracks San Diego’s rental market.

Rising rents are partly due to a slow down in construction, higher demand, more expensive luxury units coming online and fewer studios being built.

Phillip Molnar, who covers real estate and business issues for The San Diego Union-Tribune, discussed these and other real estate trends Monday on Midday Edition.