Published by Kartik Subramaniam
The rental market in California has seen some significant changes as a result of the pandemic, the resulting jobs crisis, and changes to the economy as a whole. Large cities have seen some of the biggest changes. As workers ended up furloughed or even with job loss after pandemic problems hit businesses hard, the trickle-down effect impacted the real estate markets too. Here are some thoughts on those impacts and what they might mean for the future.
Laid-Off Workers Leaving Multi-Family Units
Workers facing job losses or furloughs who live in big cities find themselves in a position where they need to leave their costly apartments. Without income, the rent becomes unmanageable. However, these job losses have extended longer than many people anticipated, and as such many of these apartments have been left vacant.
The result of these vacancies is rent falling in many major cities. Vacant apartments cost landlords money, and they are better served by lowering the rent to bring in tenants than leaving the apartments empty. As uncertainty about the economic future of the country and the state of California lingers, real estate experts do not anticipate seeing a change in this trend.
Fewer People Moving Out on Their Own
Another factor that is impacting the rental markets in large cities inCalifornia is the number of people choosing not to move out on their own. The economic uncertainty and job losses have led many people to choose not to form new rental households. Instead, they are choosing to stay with roommates or family longer because they do not have the money to pay rent for a new household. This trend is further driving down rental costs in these larger areas.
Suburban Areas Seeing Increases
While large cities are seeing decreased numbers of renters, those displaced tenants need to find somewhere to live. As a result, suburban areas are seeing an increase as people flee the high-cost cities in search of more affordable rentals. The multifamily market segment seems to be increasing in suburban communities or areas that have traditionally lower incomes. If the housing market starts to improve, these areas will likely see the growth first before people feel comfortable moving back into the city.
Changes May Last Several Years
How long will these effects last? Only time will tell, but a recent post in the L.A. Times indicates the pandemic’s effect on the California real estate markets may last through 2023. Investors and renters need to be prepared for long-term effects and changes as they navigate this new normal for the next few years.
If you are considering entering the market as a renter or an investor, or if you are currently part of the market, understanding these changes and shifts is important. Armed with the right knowledge, you can enter the markets confidently and make wise choices about your own real estate investments.
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