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Santa Monica Rents Drop for 6th Straight Month

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By Jorge Casuso

February 28, 2023 -- Santa Monica rents dipped by -0.7 percent in February, marking the sixth straight monthly drop, with the median rent now standing at $2,157, according to a report released by Apartment List on Tuesday.

The dry spell reflects a national trend that saw rents decline by 3.4 percent from August to January, marking "the sharpest dip in the national median rent over any five-month period in the history of our estimates," the report said.

Despite the recent monthly decreases, Santa Monica rents have risen by 5 percent over the past year and continue to outpace the average year-to-year rent growth of 1.6 percent for California and 3 percent for the nation.

Santa Monica's median rent is 3.8 percent higher than the $2,0781 for the Los Angeles Metro area, where annual rent growth stands at 1.5 percent.

The median rent in Santa Monica for a 1-bedroom apartment is now $2,038 and $2,540 for a two bedroom, according to data compiled from listings on the popular website.

Of the 26 cities in the Los Angeles metro area included in Apartment List's database, 14 saw rents increase in February.

Marina del Rey, an unincorporated community, continues to be by far the most expensive area with a median rent of $4,738, while Long Beach is the metro’s most affordable city, with a median rent of $1,660.

The metro's fastest annual rent growth is taking place in Torrance (12.7 percent), while the slowest is in Costa Mesa (-3.7 percent).

Santa Monica's February dip came as Los Angeles saw rents tick up by 0.1 percent, reflecting a nationwide trend that saw rent increases in 62 of the nation’s 100 largest cities. The biggest increase was 1.5 percent in Boston.

"This month’s (national) increase is of a similar magnitude to the typical February price change that we saw in pre-pandemic years," Apartment List researchers wrote.

"After a few months of record-setting price declines, it appears that rental demand is rebounding in line with the usual seasonal trend."

Still, a continued "easing on the supply side of the market" led to a 6.4 percent vacancy index reading nationwide, the highest in two years.

"With a record number of multi-family apartment units currently under construction, we expect that supply constraints will continue to soften," according to the report.

"2023 could be the first time since the early stages of the pandemic that we see property owners competing for renters, rather than the other way around."

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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