San Diego real estate
Sunset Cliffs Apartments in Vista. Photo courtesy Cushman & Wakefield

Residential rental website RentCafe has released results of a study that looked at 50 suburban areas flipping from mostly owner-occupied to mostly renters.

According to the study, which mined data from the U.S. Census Bureau, many U.S. suburbs have been reshaped over the past decade, especially in terms of the balance between renters and homeowners.

For example, the number of renters grew 22% nationwide, which caused 103 suburbs in the nation’s largest metros to flip to renter populations.

Not surprising, considering that the price of housing has extended beyond the means of a growing portion of the population.

A few of the study’s other findings:

  • Renters upset the balance with owners in three San Diego suburbs over the decade: La Mesa, Vista and Coronado. 
  • Of the three, La Mesa now has the highest share of renters — 58% — an increase from 50% in 2010. La Mesa is followed by Vista with 54% and Coronado with 51% rent majorities.
  • The study said that based on projected patterns, Escondido will shift from mostly owners to mostly renters. Currently, the city’s population is equally divided between the two.
  • Other San Diego suburbs have also seen impressive growth in the percentage of renters, though they remain for the time being in the domain of owner-occupants.

Currently, there are 21 million renters in the 50 largest U.S. suburban areas — 3.7 million more than 10 years ago, the study found.

From 2010 to 2019, the number of suburban renters grew 22%, which dwarfs the 3% increase in the growth of homeowners in the same period.

The report also noted that there are now 23 major suburban areas in California dominated by renters, most within Los Angeles County.

According to RentCafe, this trend will have far-reaching effects on politics in the state, as already evidenced by the various rent controls moratoriums put into place during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The study, “Picket fences for rent: 100+ suburbs transitioned to majority renters in last decade,” is available to read on the website.

* * *

The U.S. economy gained 235,000 jobs in August, with the national jobless rate now 5.2% — well below the near 15% peak at the height of the pandemic.

For a deeper dive, personal finance web site WalletHub has released its report on the Cities Whose Unemployment Rates Are Bouncing Back Most, which was a follow-up to an earlier report on States Whose Unemployment Claims Are Recovering the Quickest,

Alas, San Diego didn’t fare well in this study. The city was way down on the list — ranking no. 132 out of 180 cities on the list.

Overall, the region did enjoy an 88% improvement in the jobless rate compared to the year-ago period.

The most recovered city was Lincoln, Nebraska, with a 1.7% jobless rate. Lincoln had a 56% drop in the unemployment year-over-year.

* * *

Politically connected local business leader Sam Nejabat has been appointed to San Diego’s Small Business Advisory Board by Mayor Todd Gloria and the San Diego Parks Advisory Committee by county Supervisor Terra Lawsom-Remer.

The appointments come as Nejabat continues his outreach philanthropy and humanitarian efforts in the pandemic, according to a news release. Just last year, for example, the release said Nejabat donated 15,000 masks to needy San Diegans.

He ran for a city council seat in March 2020 but lost in the primary.

In addition to his two new appointments, Nejabat serves as a San Diego County Fair director at the appointment of Gov. Gavin Newsom.

He is CEO at SJN Properties, which specializes in the buying, rehabilitating and managing apartments across the United States.

* * *

Cheap-seats Canadian air carrier WestJet has resumed service between Calgary, Alberta, and San Diego International Airport on Nov. 1.

The year-round nonstop flights operate twice weekly, and the carrier will increase the service to three times weekly on Nov. 1.

The resumption comes after WestJet suspended service in March 2020 due to the pandemic.

* * *

Chula Vista social services provider MAAC has partnered with San Diego nonprofit BQuest Foundation to provide up to $2 million in low-interest loans to those in underserved communities who purchase electric vehicles.

According to a news release, the program’s intent is to encourage use of electric vehicles in a bid to increase renewable energy usage and reduce polluting emissions.

San Diego residents could receive up to $11,000 in assistance, according to a news release. And the agency was quick to note that poor credit won’t be a barrier to participation, according to the release. 

A typical auto interest rate for consumers with low credit scores could be as high as 12%, but MAAC said its loan-program will provide loans from 4% to 6%.

The two agencies will offer up to 75 loans in San Diego County and 75 in the Central Valley. Loan apps will be processed on a first come, first-served basis.

Applications will be accepted until Dec. 1. For more information, visit 

* * *

Dunkin’ — which apparently no longer uses Donut on its official nameplate — has unveiled its sixth San Diego restaurant in Eastlake. The chain, famous for its donuts, now has more than 12,600 restaurants in 40 countries worldwide, according to the company website.

* * *

Luna Grill has named Tony Reaman as the company’s new chief financial officer. Most recently, Reaman was senior vice president of strategic planning at Corner Bakery Cafe

* * *

Finally, this item of note. Japanese ramen specialist Tajima Ramen is celebrating 20 years in business this month. It opened its first location in Convoy, and now has seven locations in the county and Tijuana. The local chain also serves up other Japanese cuisine on its menu, but its best known for those noodles.

Tom York is a Carlsbad-based independent journalist who specializes in writing about business and the economy. If you have news tips you’d like to share, send them to