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Los Angeles apartment renters returning to market

November 30, 2010 |  3:52 pm

Many Los Angeles County renters who doubled up during the recession are regaining the confidence to get their own apartments, a real estate brokerage said Tuesday.

The “de-bundling” of households prompted leasing of empty units in the third quarter, fueling one of the strongest periods of apartment absorption on record in the county, real estate investment company Marcus & Millichap said in an apartment industry report.Smerelda

Landlords helped fuel demand by lowering rents, but rents are now leveling out on the Westside where landlords are seeing the most gains in occupancy in the county. Asking rents there average $1,895 per month, down about 8% from prerecession peaks.

Downtown Los Angeles saw the most apartment construction in the last year, prompting record levels of concessions from landlords such as offering tenants periods of free rent in exchange for signing a lease. Renewed demand, however, and the fact that landlords can charge more for new space, have brought asking rents up 1% in 2010 to $1,342 per month.

Overall apartment vacancy in the county peaked early this year at 5.5% -- the highest level on record since 1992 -- and fell to 4.9% in the third quarter. Marcus & Millichap expects the vacancy rate to hold at that level through the end of the year.

-- Roger Vincent  

Photo: Smeralda Apartments in Los Angeles. Credit: Marcus & Millichap