Bay Area rental crisis squeezing out middle class

Before you read this article – please note I will share my insight on how to work around this rental crisis in next weeks blog installment.   Next weeks blog – http://wp.me/p1GGbd-j9

Bay Area rental crisis squeezing out middle class

Diane Nesom rents a tiny cottage — just 600 square foot and one-bedroom — at the end of a cul-de-sac in Fremont for $1,400 a month. And while that eats up about 50 percent of her take-home pay, the 35-year-old accountant regards it as “a steal” and can’t imagine moving up to a larger rental in the current runaway market.

“I earn too much income to qualify for any kind of affordable housing,” she said, “but not enough income to actually afford anything else, so I’m stuck in this middle craziness. It’s not a fun place to be.”

Maxed out on her budget — “if anything goes wrong, I’m ruined” — Nesom is among the legions of professionals who struggle to navigate the Bay Area’s escalating rental market, where it’s no longer unusual for high-end apartments to fetch $4,000 or $5,000 per month and sometimes more, especially in Silicon Valley hot-pockets like Palo Alto and Mountain View.

Though thousands of new apartments were completed around the region in the last year, the inventory can’t keep up with tech-fueled job growth. With vacancy rates at about half the national average, the demand for housing has sent rents through the roof, creating a sense of desperation for many who are being priced out. According to the most recent data, an average two-bedroom apartment now costs $2,884 in San Mateo County, $2,552 in Santa Clara County and $2,172 in Alameda County. Contra Costa County is a relative bargain at $1,835, though bets are on for how long that will last.

For most of the region, rental prices are up about 50 percent since 2010, and up about 10 percent in the last year, according to the Marcus and Millichap real estate brokerage firm, which crunched the data for this story with help from the MPF Research group.

“Rents are at a historic high,” said Caryll-Lynn Taylor, executive director of Neighbors Helping Neighbors, a Peninsula-based nonprofit that educates clients about the increasingly complex rental market and helps them navigate it. Landlords typically ask tenants to show annual income that’s triple the cost of rent. As a result, many middle-income workers are imperiled. A $2,500 two-bedroom apartment requires $7,500 in monthly income, or $90,000 per year.

“So you rule out our school teachers, most of our firefighters, many of our tech workers,” Taylor said. “And where do they go to rent and live?”

Many displaced tenants spend half a year or more searching for new apartments, she said. Of the approximately 4,900 households with incomes between $50,000 and $160,000 that the agency serves, about 370 are living in their vehicles, mostly in Mountain View and Palo Alto.

Elected officials and citizens groups from San Jose to Richmond are putting new energy behind rent control measures and related efforts to stabilize rents and prohibit unjustified evictions. Richmond has been considering strict rent control and eviction policies, while Berkeley, San Francisco, Oakland, San Jose and a handful of other local municipalities already have rent control ordinances. But many observers believe a long-term solution to the rent crisis requires a pronounced regional effort to increase housing supply, bringing it into better balance with the rate of job growth.

The pent-up demand for housing is taking a toll on Mark and Caitlin Fisch, who live with their three young children in a 2-bedroom apartment in Mountain View that rents for $2,575. A well-paid private schoolteacher, Mark has so far been able to make his payments, while Caitlin home-schools the kids. But with their lease expiring in September, they learned this month that the rent is going up — way up — to $3,600. Their options: sign a new one-year lease at the new rate, go month-to-month at $6,566, or leave. The family expects to do the latter.

“We always knew that there would probably be a raise in rent,” Caitlin Fisch said, “because that seems to be the trend. But we were thinking something on the order of 10 percent.” She suspects the hike is “spurred by the inflated salaries at the tech giants” in town, most notably Google.

Failing to negotiate “the crazy maze” of rentals has led Andrea and Frazier Hubbard to unexpected living quarters: their 26-foot trailer, in which they have camped for the last eight months on the grounds of a church in Palo Alto. Andrea is a Stanford office administrator. Frazier is a business analyst with a firm on the Peninsula. Their combined income is just shy of $100,000, Andrea said, “but you can’t really save when you’re paying thousands of dollars a month for a little apartment.”

By living rent-free in their trailer, they hope to build their savings and eventually buy a house in the somewhat more affordable East Bay.

The rental market is “super-tight,” said John Chang, of Marcus and Millichap. He drew this picture: With so many jobs being created in the last year in Silicon Valley and San Francisco, the Oakland metropolitan area has emerged as “a more affordable alternative” for renters. It’s an “overflow market,” Chang said, “where people looking for better affordability are going. The housing demands in the East Bay are not so much driven by the growth of the employment there, as by the growth in the entire region.”

He cited these numbers: In the last year, San Jose metro led the region in job growth with 59,300 new positions, a 5.9 percent jump that’s nearly triple the national increase of 2.1 percent. San Francisco registered 47,500 new jobs, Oakland metro another 20,900. There is simply not enough housing stock being added to absorb that many people, so they are either doubling up or moving to neighboring areas. And even those “overflow” cities like Oakland are starting to feel overwhelmed.

Joe McCarthy, senior project manager for San Francisco-based Bridge Housing, didn’t know what to expect when the affordable housing developer opened the application process in June for 68 units at the new AveVista Apartments on Lake Merritt in Oakland. For two weeks, lines circled the block as more than 3,700 people applied to live in the apartments, half of which will rent for between $785 and $1,399 per month. The other half, governed by Section 8 subsidies, will rent for about 30 percent of a resident’s income.

“It was the busiest lease-up we’ve ever experienced,” said McCarthy, who attributes the unusual level of interest to “the job generator that has started up in Alameda County and Oakland. We’re seeing a lot more folks looking for housing.”

Nesom, the Fremont accountant, can attest to that.

She recently went apartment hunting with her best friend, Molly Darling, who must leave her $1,300 rental in Alameda this fall. The house Darling lives in has been sold and the new landlord is likely raising the rent.

The duo checked out an open house “for a tiny — and I mean tiny — one bedroom cottage in Alameda,” Nesom recounted. “I mean, it could barely fit a twin bed. And the rent was like $1,500 a month, and there must have been at least 12 people in line when we got there.”

A $1,300 rental is just about the limit for Darling, who works as an office manager: “I can probably push it a little more than that,” she said, “but it’d eat into my groceries. My wages haven’t gone up, but the rents have exploded to the point that I can’t afford to live by myself. I’m boxed in.”

Contact Richard Scheinin, read his stories at www.mercurynews.com/richard-scheinin and follow him at www.twitter.com/RealEstateRag.

I read this article at: http://www.mercurynews.com/business/ci_28585609/bay-area-rental-crisis-squeezing-out-middle-class

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New Rental Units Too Pricey for Most Renters

New Rental Units Too Pricey for Most Renters

Much of the recent multifamily construction has focused on the luxury segment, which is pricing renters out of the market, according to Harvard University Joint Center’s 2015 State of the Nation’s Housing Report.

The rising costs in multifamily development pushed the median asking rent for newly constructed rental units up to about $1,290 per month as of 2013. That marks an increase of $180 compared to 2012, according to U.S. Census Bureau data.

Meanwhile, the typical renters’ incomes rose by just $60 a month, going from $32,000 in 2012 to $32,700 in 2013, according to the American Community Survey.

In order to afford a standard new multifamily unit, a household would need to earn at least $51,440, according to JCHS. Less than a third of renters, however, earn this much.

In some areas, rental costs are even higher. JCHS’ report notes that 84 percent of new multifamily units in the Northeast and 67 percent of those in the West went for a monthly rate of $1,350 or higher in 2013. In fact, many units built in 2012 to 2013 rented for at least $2,000 per month – which would require an annual salary of at least $80,000.

In the South and Midwest, new units rented in the $1,350 range were only about a third of growth, which indicates a more even regional supply of new units by price.

“While new multifamily construction is easing some of the demand for new units, it is currently not sufficient to ease the broader affordability problems facing renters,” notes Elizabeth La Jeunesse, a research analyst, at the JCHS’ Housing Perspectives blog. “Closing the gap between what it costs to produce this housing, and what economically disadvantaged households can afford to pay, requires the persistent efforts of both the public and private sectors.”

Source: “New Multifamily Construction Is Out of Reach for Most Renters,” Harvard University Joint Center for Housing Studies’ Housing Perspectives Blog (July 30, 2015) DAILY REAL ESTATE NEWS

I read this article at: http://realtormag.realtor.org/daily-news/2015/08/04/new-rental-units-too-pricey-for-most-renters?om_rid=AACmlZ&om_mid=_BVwQu3B9EOtOGt&om_ntype=RMODaily

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Why Renters May Be Losing Out

Why Renters May Be Losing Out

Americans are better off buying than renting in the majority of places across the U.S., but the number of renters continues to be at record highs.

Realtor.com® finds that it’s cheaper to buy rather than rent in 80 percent of the counties in the U.S. That’s because renters continue to face sharp price increases. A record number of renting households are leading to fewer apartment vacancies, which in turn is continuing to push rents upward, notes Jonathan Smoke, realtor.com®’s chief economist, in recent commentary at realtor.com®.

But many renters – with home ownership aspirations – are struggling to break into the housing market. Indeed, 81 percent of renters indicate they would prefer to own a home if they could afford to do so, according to the Federal Reserve’s Survey of Household Economics and Decision making. Fifty percent of renters reported that they lack the funds for a down payment and 31 percent of renters say they could not qualify for a mortgage.

Other reasons given for renting included 27 percent of renters saying it was cheaper for their household; 25 percent who thought renting was more convenient; and only 12 percent said they rented because they preferred it over owning.

The amount of income renters may have influenced their responses for why they choose to rent. For example, for renters earning less than $40,000 year, their top responses on why they rent were because they were unable to save for a down payment (52%) or qualify for a mortgage (35%). On the other hand, for renters who earn more than $100,000 a year, their top responses for renting were because they believed renting was more convenient (39%) or they preferred renting to owning (17%). Twenty-nine percent in the $100,000 and up earner group said they plan on moving in the near term.

Source: “Federal Reserve Report on Household Economic Well-Being,” National Association of Home Builders Eye on Housing Blog (June 10, 2015) and “Midyear Report: The Housing Market Is on Track for Its Best Year Since 2006 (and it Ain’t a Bubble,” realtor.com® (June 10, 2015)

I read this article at: http://realtormag.realtor.org/daily-news/2015/06/11/why-renters-may-be-losing-out?om_rid=AACmlZ&om_mid=_BVeejGB9CnYC8V&om_ntype=RMODaily

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Open House for our Rental on McLellan in San Mateo

Open House Saturday 6/13 from 1-3pm

Look no further.  This charming two-bedroom detached house is perfectly situated in a cute San Mateo Village neighborhood.  Walk to CalTrain, Hillsdale Mall and Bay Meadows area restaurants and shopping.  Easy access to Hwy 101.  A commuter’s dream location.  The house has beautiful hardwood floors throughout the living areas and wall to wall carpet in the bedrooms and hallway.  There is a spacious updated bath with shower over tub and large vanity.  The kitchen features plenty of counter space, cabinets and newer appliances.  A small family room adjoins the kitchen.  An enclosed patio with laundry area expands the living space considerably.  The extra large yard is perfect for summer fun and entertaining.  A large detached storage building is available for all your extra storage needs.  Newly painted inside.  All new double pane windows.  Gardener included.  Tenant pays all utilities.  No Pets. No Smoking or Drugs.  Must have excellent credit.

Visit our website for photos:

http://thecatonteam.com/IDX/McLellan-San-Mateo-CA-940/2107728917/0004010

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The Caton Team – Susan & Sabrina – A Family of Realtors

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County rents jump — again

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.

 

I read this article at: http://www.smdailyjournal.com/articles/lnews/2015-02-02/county-rents-jump-again/1776425137606.html?interaction=normal

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Good News for Landlords: Rents Still Rising – Bad News for Tenants

Good News for Landlords: Rents Still Rising  –  Bad News for Tenants

The article below is both good and bad news.  For investors, whom have scooped up deals on the San Francisco Peninsula through the bust, they are raking in the gold with high rents.  For the rentals properties I service, it’s been amazing to see the increase in rent year over year.  But demand is there – and with few homes to buy – the rental market is booming.

For those who are renting, they cringe when they see a letter from their landlord in the mailbox.  Several clients of mine have emailed me this year concerned that their rent went up.  Some as little as $50 – other a more substantial jump.  These renters are the first time buyers of the future.  Skipping dinners out to stash away cash for down payments and closing costs.  And around here – where the median home price starts at $800,000 – we’re not talking pennies and dimes that need to be saved.

Right now the cheapest rental listed on the Multiple Listing Service is a 3 bedroom 1 bath home of about 1050 square feet in the Buri-Buri area of South San Francisco – asking rent is $3,000.  The most expensive rental is a dated but spacious 3 bedroom 4 bath home of close to 4000 square feet in Portal Valley asking for $9,500 a month.  The median rental listed today is a 3 bedroom 2 bath condo in Menlo Park listed at $4,250 a month.

Suddenly that $50 rent increase doesn’t sting as much.

But the word is out – the Bay Area is a wonderful place to live and we’re all paying for it now.  Enjoy this article below…

 

Good News for Landlords: Rents Still Rising

 

Average rental prices have ticked up nearly 4 percent nationwide, according to the latest TransUnion Rental Screen Solutions industry report of data collected from property managers in September 2012 and September 2013.

Rents were on the rise for all four of the classifications of rental properties that TransUnion analyzes: newer institutional properties; older institutional properties; older properties in less desirable areas; and older properties in less desirable areas that are in need of renovations/updating. The average rent of all four types of properties was $1,072 in 2013.

The largest rental increases were seen in properties that were in less desirable areas that need renovations, up 4.2 percent to an average of $693.

“The rental market continues to be strong as demand for rental units remains high while consumer credit risk slowly improves,” says Michael Doherty, senior vice president of TransUnion’s rental screening solutions group. “The combination of improving rental risk scores and continued demand for rental properties is particularly good news for property managers. … When the credit risk of the population improves, property managers may be more inclined to tighten their criteria to ensure they are getting the best possible resident. This is integral because a resident who ‘skips’ out on a lease can cost a property manager thousands of dollars in lost revenues.”

By: DAILY REAL ESTATE NEWS

 

I read this article at:  http://realtormag.realtor.org/daily-news/2014/01/28/good-news-for-landlords-rents-still-rising?om_rid=AACmlZ&om_mid=_BS6BpXB838Asq2&om_ntype=RMODaily

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