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Countywide vacancy rate for rental units has dropped to 2.8%

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The countywide vacancy rate for rental units has dropped to 2.8 percent, down from 4.5 percent a year ago, according to the San Diego County Apartment Association’s (SDCAA) latest analysis.

“This is an unbelievably low vacancy rate for our region,” SDCAA Executive Director Alan Pentico said. “The last time we saw numbers this low was in 2002, when the overall vacancy rate was 2.5 percent. The demand for rental housing just keeps getting stronger.”

SDCAA has seen a surge in rental property ownership as more people throughout the region invest in single-family homes rented as one or two units. SDCAA also has seen an increase in permitting and construction for multifamily housing, but the demand for housing still outpaces supply.

"This clearly points to the need for government policies that embrace additional urban-infill and multifamily developments on a regional, state and national level," Pentico said.

Local apartment broker Robert Vallera, a senior vice president with Voit Real Estate Services, said: “In San Diego County, we are gradually seeing the emergence of a more sophisticated style of multifamily housing that frequently contains a vibrant mix of retail and restaurant space. These new developments are helping to create a renewed sense of vitality within our older neighborhoods.”

SDCAA's Spring 2014 Vacancy and Rental Rate Survey also broke down vacancy rates by region. The vacancy rate in the city of San Diego is slightly lower at 2.7 percent, down from 3.4 percent a year ago. The South Bay is experiencing the highest vacancy rate at 2.9 percent, with East County and North County each at 2.8 percent. In spring 2013, the vacancy rate for East County was the highest at 5.1 percent, with the South Bay at 4.6 percent and North County at 3.8 percent.

The survey found that the countywide average rent on all types of units this spring dropped 5 percent, from $1,330 last spring to $1,260 today. The spring 2014 survey found that the weighted average rent for studio units was $901; $1,092 for one-bedroom units; $1,347 for two-bedroom units; and $1,716 for units with three or more bedrooms.

Varying levels of responses in some ZIP codes make it difficult to pinpoint exactly what caused the overall rent drop. SDCAA recommends reviewing rents at the individual ZIP code levels when analyzing the survey data for trends.

SDCAA’s Vacancy and Rental Rate Survey is a bi-annual analysis of thousands of rental properties, including apartment complexes and single-family homes, throughout San Diego County.

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