An apartment in the East Village. Photo by Chris Stone

A recent nationwide study of rising rents that includes San Diego County confirms what we’ve already experienced this past year. It’s costly to live here.

Indeed, San Diego ranks as one of the most expensive cities in the country for renters, with monthly rates jumping nearly a third over the past year.

This information is taken from a recent nationwide survey conducted by  apartment listing service Zumper.  The website looked at price increases in five cities in the county last month. The listings were aggregated by city to calculate median asking rents.

Zumper found that the median price of one-bedroom units in SanDiego jumped to $2,280, a 5.1% increase, while two bedrooms reached $2,900, also a $5.1% increase.

The cheapest rent was found in El Cajon at $1,550 a month, while the most expensive was San Diego at $2,280.

Oceanside came in at $2,070, while Chula Vista stood at $2,100.

Chula Vista had the fastest growing rent for an average one-bedroom apartment, up 32.1% since last year, while San Diego saw rents climb 26.7%, making it the second fastest growing in the county. La Mesa was third with rent increasing 22.4%.

The California statewide median is around $2,000 a month for a one-bedroom unit, according to Zumper.

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Well, obviously people are looking for relief, and want less expensive housing.

Residential real estate Web platform Zillow has released the results of a new survey which finds broad support to allow backyard cottages, duplexes and triplexes in residential neighborhoods.

The company, which surveyed 26 metro areas across the nation, says its research finds that 77% of homeowners and renters surveyed voiced support for construction of either new accessory dwelling units, duplexes, or triplexes in residential neighborhoods.

For San Diego, support was even higher. Zillow found that 80% of those surveyed support the addition of ADUs or construction of duplexes and triplexes to ease skyrocketing prices for homes and apartments.

These survey results match up with what’s happening statewide and locally in terms of trying to ease the ongoing shortage of housing.

Lawmakers in California have enacted a number of laws over the past few years that serve to both ease restrictions and encourage construction of ADUs in areas traditionally zoned for single-family housing.

In 2020, the city of San Diego permitted close to 500 ADUs as a result of the changes.

But adding housing through infill is not cheap. Another study found that construction of so-called “granny flats” can run three times as much as traditional sized houses.

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And speaking of rents…San Diego’s Malick Infill Development along with Titan Development and Thornburg Real Estate Ventures, both based in New Mexico, have broken ground on a $35 million, six-story, 94‐unit apartment complex in North Park. 

Malick is a so-called urban infill development firm that is based here. And its apartments are being snapped up as fast as they are built. Its recent 127 unit mixed-use project, Parco in National City, was leased in just 9 weeks, according to a news release.

When completed, the units will range in size from studios averaging 410 square feet to one-bedroom apartments averaging 593 square feet and two-bedroom apartments of about 800 square feet.

Five apartments will be set aside as affordable for residents who make 30% to 60% of the median income in the city.

The project will have no parking, with planners and developers expecting occupants to use public transportation services, such as buses and rideshare, to get around the city.

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Meanwhile, Boston’s King Street Properties, which boasts being one of the country’s largest commercial real estate firms focused on science, has opened a West Coast office in San Francisco, which will cover activities San Diego.

King Street owns and operates 2.5 million square feet of buildings with an additional 2.3 million square feet under development.

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Specialty retailer Batteries Plus, which claims to be the nation’s largest and fastest-growing battery franchise, says it is opening 12 new locations San Diego area as part of nationwide expansion plans.

The 34-year-old company has grown from one store in Wisconsin to a network of 700 plus stores.

The company said it signed 88 franchise agreements in 2021 with the intent to add 60 more by year-end 2022. The growth was largely fueled by the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the need for battery storage and light bulbs.

A company news release noted that with the average U.S. household having 28 battery-powered devices and 61 light bulb sockets, there is a high-demand for Batteries Plus services and products in the San Diego region.

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Hospitality operator Good Time Design (the business behind Moonshine Beach and Moonshine Flats among others), will opened another bar, Happy Does, in the Gaslamp Quarter, on April 14 — opening day for the San Diego Padres. 

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San Diego has a new appliance repair company for those in need. Asurion Appliance Repair  said recently it is bringing its service to the region. The company said it has 12,000 technicians nationwide.

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More news from the biotech sector…Charles River Laboratories International has acquired San Diego’s Explora BioLabs Holdings, according to a news release.

Explora BioLabs offers live animal, or contract vivarium, services, which provides its biopharmaceutical clients with turnkey in vivo vivarium facilities, management, and related services.

Charles River paid $295 million in cash for the business. Explora BioLabs said in a news release that it had $38 million in sales in 2021

Explora operates 15 preclinical vivarium facilities in Southern California, the San Francisco Bay area and Boston, and is planning an expansion in Seattle this year. It has 100 employees.

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Finally…two new Chick-fil-A stores are opening this week in San Diego. The outlets

Chick-fil-A Ocean View Hills will open for business on April 13 and Chick-fil-A Hwy 78 and Vista Village will open on April 14.

A spokeswoman said Chick-fil-A will donate $50,000 to Feeding America ($25,000 in celebration of each opening). 

The 50-year-old fast food operator, which has 2,600 locations nationwide, will have 14 outlets in San Diego after this week.

The first store opened in Chula Vista in 2004, according to one source.

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 tom.york@gmail.com.