A new report from USC’s Lusk Center for Real Estate suggests that Long Beach could continue to see rent increases in the next few years.
In Long Beach, where 60% of residents are renters, vacancy has dropped to less than 5%. This trend is reflected in Los Angeles County, Orange County, San Diego County, and the Inland Empire.
“The biggest driver of next quarter’s rents is the previous quarter’s vacancies, so when vacancies are low, rents will go up,” said Rusk Center’s director, annual report, It was released earlier this month.
At the start of the pandemic, apartment rents moved very little until 2021-2022 when rents began to rise sharply, Green said.
Many Long Beach zip codes were seen 5% increase through 2021, West Long Beach zip codes, in particular, are experiencing the biggest increase in the last few years.
High inflation is a key factor in the projected increase, which the report forecast will occur faster than was typically seen before the pandemic.
“We expect rents to rise, maybe not as much as inflation, but more in the next few years,” he said.
However, the report contained some warnings. Green noted that it can be difficult to truly assess potential outcomes based on the past two years, which were unlike any other in history.
Factors documented in the report also include significant levels of migration from Long Beach and Los Angeles counties, mostly low-wage workers who migrated to more affordable locations such as Arizona and Nevada. said Mr Green.
Immigration has led to a rapid increase in per capita personal income in the Los Angeles area, retaining and attracting higher-income workers, but whether this trend of migration will continue over the next few years and what the impact will be. It is unknown what it will be. Current and Future Forecasts.
“Long Beach is, in some ways, the epitome of the region in terms of demographics and income inequality. Long Beach has some very wealthy neighborhoods like Naples, but not very wealthy neighborhoods. said Green. “Thirty years ago, people would call it a fairly affordable community . is creating challenges.”
nationwide, Median rent increased by more than 19% Realtor.com evaluates properties with 2 bedrooms or less in 50 metropolitan areas from December 2020 to December 2021.
Long Beach’s current median rental price is $2,195, up $200 from last year. According to Zillow.
According to a USC report, average rent in Los Angeles County could rise from $2,187 with 3.6% vacancy to $2,289 with 4.59% vacancy by 2024, an increase of 4.66%. increase.
while in california landlord can legally raise rent Up to 5% per year, plus the percentage change in cost of living, totaling up to a 10% increase, means landlords won’t have to raise their rents every year, said Sylvana Uribe, communications director at Long Beach Residents Empowered. . LiBRE, an organization advocating for tenants.
“Stopping rent increases, waiving rent during the pandemic, and reducing rents to a price renters and their families can actually afford will help contain this crisis and prevent mass evictions and mass evictions. “It’s going to be a great starting point for us,” said Uribe.
LiBRE encourages renters to determine: The rent increase they experience is legalin the case of non-negligible evictions of the tenant, in Long Beach help with relocation, This will require landlords to pay tenants two months’ rent or $4,500, whichever is higher, Uribe said.
But in LA County COVID-19 tenant protection solutions It’s expected to close on Dec. 31 of this year, so many Long Beach tenants are likely to be left unprotected, Uribe said.
“Now that we are approaching the holidays, we may be facing a new surge in COVID-19. This is not the time to leave people vulnerable,” Uribe said. “People are recovering from the pandemic. may have to leave.”
Long Beach is becoming increasingly unruly, and with rents expected to rise, homelessness rates could rise along with it, Uribe said.
Green said that with the pandemic and ensuing interest rate hikes slowing development projects, it is likely that tackling vacancy rates—and the resulting rent rises—will take time.
California is subject to more complex and costly development regulations than many other states. The Greater Los Angeles area, which includes Orange County, is 70% more populated than both Dallas and Houston, yet the area builds half the homes of those cities.
“Long Beach appears to be much more open to doing the kind of development needed to ultimately bring some relief to the rental side, but the impact will not be felt for some time,” said Green. said.
But housing advocates like Uribe are concerned about the types of development projects the city will undertake and whether they will truly serve existing low-income families in need of affordable housing.
“There are a lot of skyscrapers and luxury apartments being built, especially in the downtown area,” says Uribe. “Sometimes there is a promise that a certain number or percentage of units will be reserved and become affordable, but the definition of affordability continues to change.”
Affordability, for example, is sometimes determined by the median income of a region, but as more wealthy people move into these luxury apartments, median income rises, Uribe said.
“That’s something that has to be considered in the development of these buildings,” said Uribe.
As rents rise and Long Beach continues to grapple with falling affordability, how LiBRE members can include allocations in the city’s budget for programs that provide legal assistance to renters are planning to consider Uribe said LiBRE members are currently working on a mapping project outlining the growing shortage of affordability in Long Beach and hope to see changes from city officials.
“We are really afraid of how it will change the fabric of our city in terms of people having to leave the city, being kicked out of the community and, unfortunately, becoming homeless. .
The organization is also considering implementing the city’s first Community Land Trust. This is a model that aims to stabilize neighborhoods while making way for low-income and marginalized communities to become homeowners and maintain affordable units.
While some cities have considered rent freezes or rent controls, housing advocates have been unsuccessful. Rent restraint measures In the 2018 Long Beach poll.
“We are definitely learning lessons from it,” Uribe said. “This is part of the fabric of Long Beach, an initiative that requires the strength of vast amounts of people and the cooperation of elected officials to hear voters’ pleas to continue to live and work. . . At the end of the day, it starts with making sure it’s affordable and you can actually have one in their home.”