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Tri-City Area Rents Rise Despite Weak Economy

City in line with trend around the Bay Area, research firm says.

If you’re looking to rent an apartment, good luck.

Rents in the Tri-City area are hitting all time highs, matching a trend that prevails around the Bay Area, according to a research firm in San Francisco.

And this price rise could continue according to Nick Grotjahn with RealFacts, which collects information on complexes with 50 or more apartments.

"If the double digit rent growth continues in San Francisco, the Peninsula and South Bay, I suspect we'll see a migration to the East Bay as renters will be willing to commute further in attempt to find more affordable housing," he told Patch.

According to the study released earlier this week by RealFacts, rental rates have jumped more than 10 percent over the last year in some areas.

Currently, the average rent in the Tri-City area is $1,591, up from $1,486 this time last year, according to a recent report. On average, rents have increased nearly $100 across the board in the Fremont-Newark-Union City region, the report shows.

A complete list of findings is contained on the attached PDF. Selected examples show the following monthly rents:

  • a studio now averages $1,113 per month, up 9 percent from $1,020 in the last 12 months;
  • a one-bedroom, one-bathroom apartment is about $1,440, up from $1,332 last year;
  • a two-bedroom townhouse (TH) now rents for $1,650, up 5.5 percent from $1,564 during the same period.

A survey of local complexes fit with the trend highlighted in the RealFacts study.

At in Newark, the city's newest apartment community, a one-bedroom, one-bathroom apartment's cost ranges start at $1,632, according to its website. Two-bedroom, two-bathroom apartments at Sycamore Bay start from $1,859.

Older apartment communites in Newark such as Bridge Bay off Haley Street offer one-bedroom, one-bathroom apartments start at $1,111, while two-bedroom, one-bathroom apartments start at nearly $1,400, according to Forrent.com.

In Union City, the Verandas apartment community located near the Bart station, a two-bedroom, two-bathroom apartment is about $1880, up more than $200 from $1,650 this time last year. At Avalon Union City — the priciest complex in Union City — a two-bedroom currently starts at $2,185.

In Fremont, the Estates at Park Place off Stevenson Boulevard list two-bedroom apartments starting at $2,365, while two-bedroom apartments at Pathfinder Village Apartments off Fremont Boulevard in Fremont start at $1,559.

While the Tri-City region is expensive compared to the national average of $1,029 a month, it's lower than our larger Bay Area counterparts.

According to the report, the San Jose market has seen the highest increase with an average rent reaching near $2,000. It’s the highest market surveyed this quarter, the report states. But San Jose isn’t alone. Oakland had a 14.4 percent jump in the last year to $1,835 with San Francisco’s average rent rising 12.9 percent to $2,734.

Why are rents rising?

A Mercury News article on the phenomenon attributes it to a combination of an improving job market and the fact that some would-be home owners are unable to buy or hold onto homes.

But given that rental properties are a market the best answer for why landlords are raising rents may simply be that they can.

Have you been in the market for a rental? What's your experience? Landlords, what do you say? Tell us in the comments section below.

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Tim July 20, 2012 at 01:48 AM
I work with rental housing operators and they have been struggling too. Let's compare RealFacts' data for the last 11 years in the Tri-Cities area for average rents instead of just the short term, so that this information can be kept in perspective: First Quarter 2001 rents in Tri-Cities were $1,680. Today they are $1590 - a decrease of 5.3%. According to RealFacts, rents have declined over an 11 year period and are only now beginning to recover. I'm sure that if you were to ask Nick Grotjahn, he would agree with that statement. To be fair, the average rents in all of Alameda County (Including Oakland) were $1,510.00 in 2001 and are $1,570.00 today. That is a total increase of 3.97% in eleven years. During those 11 years, rental housing providers have, in some cases, operated at a loss to pay for substantial increases in the cost of insurance, utilities and maintenance of the property, some of which nearly doubled. The price of rental housing is driven by supply and demand. Encouraging our public officials to remove barriers that hamper the creation of rental housing is the key to resolving the long term issue of rental housing costs. Unfortunately right now in Alameda County, it costs MORE in fees to build housing than it does to buy the land on which to build. Tim May @ Rental Housing Association

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