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Santa Monica Rents Rise After 4-Month Drop


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By Jorge Casuso

March 28, 2024 -- After dropping for four straight months, Santa Monica rents rose 1.5 percent in March but remain down 4.3 percent over the past 12 months, according to the latest monthly report by Apartment List.

Currently, the overall median rent in the city stands at $2,491, or 14.4 percent higher than the $2,177 area-wide median for the 24 LA and Orange county cities analyzed in the report.

Santa Monica Rent Growth

The monthly rise in Santa Monica rents was higher than the 0.6 percent increase nationwide, where the median rent now stands at $1,388, according to data based on listings posted on the popular rental website.

March marked the second straight monthly rise in rents nationwide, a "turnaround" that is "in line with the rental market’s typical seasonal pattern" as "moving activity starts to gradually pick back up after bottoming out around the holidays," researchers wrote.

"That said, for the last two years seasonal declines have been steeper than usual and seasonal increases have been milder."

That has resulted in a year-to-year dip in rent growth that has remained in negative territory since last summer and now sits at -0.8 percent, according to the report.

"As the market has cooled, apartments are on average slightly cheaper today than they were one year ago," researchers said.

"But despite this cooldown, the national median rent is still more than $200 per month higher than it was just a few years ago."

After a historic tightening in 2021, the national vacancy index has now risen to 6.7 percent, as "multifamily occupancy has been slowly but consistently easing for over two years."

That trend is expected to continue "with this year expected to bring the most new apartment completions in decades," researchers predicted.

"We expect that there will continue to be an abundance of vacant units on the market in the year ahead."

Among the 24 cities in the LA Metro area, Newport Beach is currently the most expensive, with a median rent of $3,293, while Long Beach is the most affordable, with a median rent of $1,782.

The metro's fastest annual rent growth is occurring in Orange (3.3 percent) while the slowest is in West Hollywood (-6.2 percent).

In Santa Monica, the median rent for a one-bedroom apartment is $2,358 and $2,827 for a two-bedroom.

Of the nation’s 100 largest cities, 81 saw rents increase in March, although only 42 have seen positive growth over the past 12 months, according to the data.

"With consumer sentiment about broader macroeconomic conditions beginning to improve," the report concluded, "it’s possible that rental demand will also rebound in the year ahead, but likely not to an extent that would outweigh the impact of all the coming supply."

Apartment List Rent Report data are 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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