Where is California’s hardest spot to find an apartment?

Where is California’s hardest spot to find an apartment?

“How expensive?” tracks measurements of California’s totally unaffordable housing market.

The pain: California has three of the nation’s toughest spots to be an apartment hunter.

The source: RentCafe takes regular looks at a big renter challenge: finding vacant units to consider. The apartment listing service rates big rental markets on their “competitiveness” based on Yardi Matrix stats for apartment complexes. Those stats include vacancy rates, how long units remain empty, how many prospective renters view an apartment and how many current tenants renew their leases.

The pinch

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Orange County was California’s hardest place to find a rental in early 2024. Apartment seekers were faced with complexes nearly full (96%) with the average vacancies lasting 40 days and getting 11 looks. And 60% of OC tenants stay put and sign a new lease. A year ago, OC ranked No. 2 statewide.

On a national scale, Orange County was the 11th-toughest market to find a rental, according to the study.

Last year’s No. 1 market, San Diego, fell to No. 2. It was 95% full, with vacancies lasting 38 days and getting 9 looks as 50% of tenants renewed. It ranked No. 18 nationally.

The third-toughest California market was Silicon Valley, up from fifth in 2023. Its units are 94% full, with vacancies lasting 37 days getting nine looks as 47% of tenants renew. It ranked 20th most competitive in the U.S.

By the way, the five most competitive US markets were Miami, Milwaukee, North New Jersey, suburban Chicago and Grand Rapids, Mich.

Pressure points

Other California markets tracked, ranked by 2024 competitiveness …

No. 4 Eastern Los Angeles County: 96% full; vacancies lasting 43 days getting 14 looks as 48% tenants renew. Year ago? No. 4.

No. 5 Central Valley: 96% full; vacancies last 40 days, get 8 looks as 53% renew. Year ago? No. 7.

No. 6 Central Coast: 97% full; vacancies last 40 days, get 9 looks as 46% renew. Year ago? No. 3.

No. 7 Sacramento: 95% full; vacancies last 44 days, get 8 looks as 52% renew. Year ago? No. 9.

No. 8 North LA/Ventura County: 95% full, vacancies last 46 days, get 9 looks as 48% renew. Year ago? No. 8.

No. 9 San Francisco Peninsula /North Bay: 93% full; vacancies last 42 days, get 6 looks as 45% renew. Year ago? No. 12.

No. 10 Inland Empire: 94% full; vacancies last 48 days, get 9 looks as 51% renew. Year ago? No. 6.

No. 11 Western Los Angeles County: 93% full; vacancies last 43 days, get 8 looks as 38% renew. Year ago? No. 10.

No. 12 East Bay: 94% full; vacancies last 43 days, get 7 looks, as 45% renew. Year ago? No. 11.

Jonathan Lansner is the business columnist for the Southern California News Group. He can be reached at [email protected]