The Pandemic Ushered in a Dip in L.A. County Rent Prices

One data tracker predicts the trend could continue throughout the year

The average asking rent for apartments in Los Angeles dropped by 3.3 percent in May compared to the same period in 2019, according to a new report by real estate data tracker RealPage.

The dip, brought on by the economic crises related to the COVID-19 outbreak, saw the average asking rent in L.A. fall to $2,254 for units of all sizes, and followed a decrease of 0.8 percent in April. According to RealPage’s numbers, this is the first time L.A. County rents have declined since 2010, following the great recession, the Los Angeles Times reports.

“We’ve had a big drop off in overall demand,” Greg Willett, RealPage’s chief economist, said.

Rental data is limited, however, by the fact that the price renters actually pay is not a matter of public record. RealPage also covers only professionally managed rental properties and leaves out mom-and-pop operations.

The Real Deal notes that RealPage’s report shows that the rent decrease only applied to apartments at the top and middle of the housing market, while rents at the lower end remained flat. Class B apartments, which are those just below the Class A aka top quality properties, saw a decrease of 4.5 percent, the largest decline among the three segments.

RealPage projects that the downward trend will continue throughout the year and could end with a decrease of 5.6 percent in the first quarter of 2021.

A report from data tracker CoStar, meanwhile, predicts that an even steeper decline is possible. According to that study, rents for newer L.A. apartments dropped by 0.75 percent between March 11 and March 30, which would result in a decrease of 12 percent if the trend continues through a full year.

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