County rents jump — again
February 02, 2015, 05:00 AM By Austin Walsh Daily Journal
As rents continue to skyrocket throughout the region, housing experts say San Mateo County residents should not expect to see relief in the near future.
In the past year, average monthly rents in the fourth quarter increased $227, jumping to $2,572, according to reports from according to RealAnswers, a group that compiles apartment data.
During the fourth quarter in San Mateo, studio apartments increased by an average of $193 from last year, to $1,762 per month, marking a 12.3 percent increase. One-bedroom apartments with one bathroom increased by 10.3 percent on average to $2,332 per month, up $218 from 2013. And two-bedroom, one-bathroom apartments increased $181 per month, to $2,593, a 7.5 percent increase from the previous year, according to the report.
But some renters have seen increases as substantial as $600 in a year, said Josh Hugg, program manager at the Housing Leadership Council of San Mateo County.
Hugg and other advocates for renters promote policies that protects residents from exorbitant rates or increases.
“We need more affordable housing,” Hugg said.
Well-paying technology jobs are frequently cited for driving up costs across the region, but Hugg noted that for every job created in the tech sector, there are multiple support workers who are finding it increasingly difficult to live locally.
“When we bring in all these great jobs, they are creating jobs of more modest means,” Hugg said. “We are not making a place for them, even though they are the fastest growing part of the workforce.”
Some residents are being priced out of their homes, and are forced to move back in with their families to afford the cost of living, said Sally Navarro, a rental, sales and property management Realtor for AVR Realty in Burlingame.
“Everyone is piling in until they find something. Folks are just waiting it out to see what’s going to happen,” she said.
But the outlook is not optimistic for those hoping to see prices drop, she said.
Navarro, who has worked in the local rental industry for nearly three decades, said she has never seen a tougher rental market than what is currently available.
“I don’t see that it’s going to get a lot better,” Navarro said.
The best that renters might hope for is that rates level out from their constant incline. Navarro said that she has not seen rents decrease since the dot-com bubble burst around the turn of the century.
She said that the feeling of dissatisfaction with expensive rents is prevalent throughout the county.
“People are extremely frustrated,” she said.
But it’s not bad for everyone involved in the housing industry, said Navarro.
“I think landlords are very lucky right now,” she said. “They have been reaping the benefits for quite a while.”
But she expressed compassion for those who are trying to find a new place to live in the current market.
“I feel bad for tenants. We don’t know how it’s going to go, or when it’s going to change. In the meantime, we have people looking for places and there is nothing out there. It’s really frustrating,” she said.
Those interested in landing a new place should bring all the preliminary paperwork with them to the appointment, and be willing to pay more than the market rate, Navarro said.
Though the region has reaped the benefits of being a globally acclaimed hub of innovation and is seen as a gold mine for people across the globe, Hugg said the success has come at a substantial cost to those who have lived in the region for years.
“We are a victim of our own success,” he said.
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