SAN DIEGO - Rental prices in the San Diego area are among the most expensive in the U.S. Department of State, with the rising cost far outpacing its West Coast counterparts since the COVID-19 pandemic began, according to a Zumper report released Tuesday. That increase is also felt in the larger metropolitan area, with the rate of a room in Chula Vista increasing by almost 40% since last year, while prices for it in Oceanside rose by almost 30% in the same period. Jeff Andrews, senior market analyst at Zumper, who wrote the report, said San Diego's rental patterns are more like cities in the center of the country than cities on the West Coast and cited two reasons why.
The first was due to the pandemic with “transplant cities such as New York City, Los Angeles or San Francisco, where workers leave for periods of time or permanently, in some cases, as work-by-home configurations became commonplace. Andrews sees San Diego differently, as many in the city remained waiting for the pandemic to pass, keeping the market relatively tight for renters. The other reason is due to the high cost of real estate, which effectively “traps tenants in the market,” he said. This week Keatts documented the difficult decision made by tens of thousands of San Diegans to move out of the county and return to work.
Housing will likely take up most of your monthly budget, so let's start by evaluating the cost of living in San Diego. Cusick hopes to return to California one day, but for now he's looking forward to renting a luxurious two-bedroom, one-bathroom apartment for hundreds of dollars cheaper than his current San Diego rental. With so much to do in San Diego and so many amazing restaurants to enjoy, you'll need a pay raise. However, if San Diego seems too expensive to you, consider other California cities that might be cheaper.
Andrew's report notes that the average price of a room in San Diego remained virtually fixed in the first year of the pandemic. Renters looking to become homeowners face stiff competition in San Diego, as city home prices continue to rise and outperform much of Southern California. However, despite its high cost of living, it is still cheaper than other California access points, such as San Francisco. When I arrived in San Diego 56 years ago, residents seemed frugal, and few drove modern cars and had stylish TVs and other appliances.
The U.S. Navy has a strong presence in the area, as does the University of California, San Diego and the San Diego Unified School District. While San Diego home prices are in the top three in the United States by most indicators, median income is not.