Man Without Qualities

Thursday, July 17, 2003

Sign Of The Times In Los Angeles: No Vacancy

The average apartment rent in Los Angeles County surged $22, to $1,326, between March and June, the biggest dollar increase in the West as the region's rents surpassed the Silicon Valley... San Francisco still has the state's highest rents at $1,554 monthly.

"The way it's always gone is San Francisco is No. 1 and San Jose No. 2 in terms of rents. For the first time in 10 years L.A. County moved ahead of Silicon Valley ... and that's a very significant change," said Caroline S. Latham, RealFacts chief executive officer.

The pressure on rents in Los Angeles is likely understated by this report. Ultra-low mortgage rates have allowed many people who would otherwise be renters to purchase their own homes, thereby removing a great many people from the rental market. Further, there is wide-spead complaining among apartment owners that local regulation greatly inhibits the ability of landlords to convert their rental units into condominiums to the extent they would prefer - which is said to have artificially increased the supply of rental units on the market and artificially reduced rents.

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