Apartments under construciton
Apartments under construction in downtown San Diego. Photo by Chris Jennewein

Average apartment rents in San Diego are expected to rise $121 a month by 2019 because building is not keeping pace with job and population growth.

That was the conclusion of the University of Southern California‘s annual Casden Economic Forecast, which was released Wednesday.

The report noted that San Diego County added 17,200 jobs from July 2016 to July 2017, and its population has increased 1.5 percent since 2015.

“Housing stock will increase, albeit slowly, leading a very slight uptick in the vacancy rate,” the report found.” Overall, however, supply will fail to meet demand.

The average rent countywide is expected to increase from $1,927 per month now to $2,048 in 2019.

Rent increases will be even higher in other parts of Southern California –$149 in Orange County, $136 in Los Angeles County, and $124 in the Inland Empire.

Richard Green, director of USC’s Lusk Center for Real Estate, said seven years of economic recovery have not produced a commensurate rebound in home ownership.

“It’s certainly no surprise to anyone — developers, landlords, tenants and elected officials — that available units are becoming more scarce and more expensive in Southern California,” Green said. “As employment and wages improve in the region, home ownership remains stagnant. This combination is a key stressor in the availability and cost of apartments and has an increasing impact on the local economy.”

The forecast’s authors conclude that rent growth is outpacing income growth at a level that is not sustainable.

Chris Jennewein

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.