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Average Rent in San Diego, CA: Median Prices + Trends

The average rent in San Diego is around $2,400/month.

When moving and looking at housing for rent in San Diego, CA, you’ll find that prices can be all over the place. How much should you expect to spend on an apartment, townhouse, loft, room, or condo?

Find out whether you’re paying through the nose: Landlords can prey on new visitors to the region who aren’t aware of the average cost. While yes, San Diego rent prices are outlandish, it’s important to be aware of which listing is reasonably affordable, surprisingly cheap, or horrifyingly expensive.

average rent in san diego

Image source:

Rent is more than two times the national average.

Here are some sobering statistics on the average rent in San Diego, California:

average rent in san diego

Image source: Zumper

That’s high.

Yes, it’s high. Renting in San Diego can be difficult because it’s a landlord’s market. It’s a pretty desperate situation because of the vacancy rates, which spiked up to 4.1 percent in early 2015 and then dropped back down to 2.6 percent. These low rates mean there are fewer rooms to rent available and, as a result, it’s a more competitive market.

A big portion of your paycheck will likely go toward rent.

The city ranks 11th on the list of most cost-burdened renters, with more than 55 percent of renters spending more than the recommended 30 percent of their income on rent alone. While it may not be as high as that for you, a huge share of household income is spent on housing in San Diego, with only Los Angeles having a higher ratio in the state.

Luckily, the overall cost of living in the area isn’t as bad. Other expenses, such as food and transportation, are only a bit higher than the national average, meaning that rent will be honestly the only cost to worry about.

The city took action when officials realized that 61 percent of their city’s occupants could not afford an average two-bedroom apartment.

The shortage on the supply of cheap housing forced the city of San Diego to take action in 2011, leading to the creation of 4,703 rental units. They started looking into this kind of action because of the findings of the studies they did at that time, which told them that two adults working full time for minimum wage ($8 per hour) could not come close to being able to afford the average rent of a two-bedroom apartment, which required $54,000 annually.

According to their studies, a nursing aide ($13.49 per hour), school bus driver ($9.63 per hour), or elementary school teacher ($26.16 per hour) could not afford an average two-bedroom apartment for their families. At that time, there were an estimated 5,000 homeless people on the street per night. Since then, there have been positive changes, but the costs are still famously high in the city.

average rent in san diego

Image source: Legislative Analysts Office

Sudden hikes are common, and some renters have been pushed out by dramatic increases.

Renting in San Diego is also difficult because of the odd fluctuation in prices. Last year, rent prices rose 3.6 percent overall, but the general trend has shown increases of 8-10 percent per year, with rent in some neighborhoods increasing as much as 20 percent. Reports of people who have their rent almost doubled after being given 60-day notices are becoming unfortunately more common.

Many people have actually left the city for Baja, Oceanside, Escondido, and other areas, which can sometimes be cheaper than paying San Diego’s rates. But buying a house or duplex or renting in other places like this means that a working professional will be committing to an hours-long commute.

Some neighborhoods are more stable than others.

The best neighborhoods tend to have the highest rents and are likely to be on the water: Columbia, La Jolla, North City, and Torrey Pines are some of the most expensive places to rent, with the Memorial and City Heights areas being the cheapest.

The best solution for most people, even well-established professionals, is to find a roommate, which isn’t always easy. Working with an online rental agent through Jumpshell can help, as that will at least cut costs to around that $940 estimate. Now that you know the average apartment rent in San Diego, California, it’s time to find an apartment within a reasonable range. Contact an expert broker with us today!

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