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Santa Monica Rents Drop for First Time This Year

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By Jorge Casuso

December 1, 2021 -- Rents in Santa Monica dipped by 1.8 percent last month, marking the first decrease since last December, according to Apartment List's latest monthly report.

The drop comes as rents nationwide grew by 0.1 percent, the lowest month-to-month increase this year, according to the report released Monday.

Still, rent growth nationwide is "outpacing pre-pandemic trends," with the median rent increasing by a "staggering" 17.8 percent since January, according to the report.

That compares to an average of 2.6 percent during the same period from 20017 to 2019.

"After a wild 2021, rent growth is finally flattening out across the United States," the researchers wrote. "The pace of rent growth has been cooling rapidly for the past few months."

That is especially the case in "expensive coastal markets" like Santa Monica "that saw steep rent drops in 2020 and fast rent rebounds in 2021," the researchers said.

Santa Monica rents grew by 16.4 percent this year, reflecting a national spike, according to the report.

But while rents nationwide dipped an average of 1.3 percent in 2020 between January and November, Santa Monica rents plummeted by 14.7 percent.

Median rents in Santa Monica currently stand at $2,092 for a 1-bedroom apartment and $2,631 for a two-bedroom, based on listings on the popular rental site.

In neighboring Los Angeles -- where rents are up by 14.1 percent compared to the same time last year -- rents ticked up 0.1 percent over the past month.

Santa Monica's rent dip in November reflected a trend seen in 53 of the nation's 100 largest cities, with the largest declines coming in fast-growing cities that saw major rent growth this year.

They also fell in some of the nation's most expensive cities, with San Francisco seeing rents drop by 2.7 percent, Seattle by 2.1 percent and Boston by 1.9 percent.

"A slowdown in rent growth during the fall and winter is typical due to seasonality in this market, but this year the seasonal slowdown is capping a year that has been characterized by unprecedented price increases," the researchers said.

Apartment List researchers attribute this year's booming rent growth to "a tight market in which more households are competing for fewer vacant units."

But that has been changing, as the vacancy index "ticked up for a third straight month and month-over-month rent growth was essentially flat," according to the report.

"The market remains extremely tight, but we’ve now seen continued signs of that pressure gradually beginning to ease," researchers said.

Still, "even if rent growth is finally cooling, this year’s rent boom has already burdened many American renters with significant new housing affordability woes," the report concluded.

Apartment List Rent Report data is drawn monthly from the millions of listings on the site, according to the website.

The report calculates one-bedroom and two-bedroom rents and aims to identify transacted rent prices, as opposed to the listed rent prices. To view the full report click here.

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