The vacancy rate for rental units in San Diego County this spring is at its lowest level in a dozen years, according to the San Diego County Apartment Association.

The vacancy rate for the county as a whole is 2.8 percent, with only minor variances noted in different areas of the region.

A Rancho Bernardo home for rent. Photo credit:

In the spring of 2013, the rate was 4.5 percent, according to the association.

“This is an unbelievably low vacancy rate for our region,” Executive Director Alan Pentico said. “The last time we saw numbers this low was in 2002, when the overall vacancy rate was 2.5 percent. The demand for rental housing just keeps getting stronger.”

Even though demand is up, rental costs dropped 5 percent, from $1,330 last spring to $1,260 this year, according to the trade group.

The spring 2014 cost survey found that the weighted average rent was $901 for studio units, $1,092 for one-bedroom units, $1,347 for two-bedroom units and $1,716 for units with three or more bedrooms.

The association was unable to pinpoint the cause of the cost decline because of price differences among different zip codes in the county.

A snapshot of the housing market was offered this week as well, with sales falling sharply recently.

– City News Service