More single-family homes now for rent

A growing number of single-family homes in San Diego County are now being rented out instead of sold, according to a new study by Zillow.

The increased supply of rentals is putting a squeeze on potential first-time homebuyers, but still isn't enough to get rent prices down. 

"So far supply has not kept up with demand but in economic theory, at some point it should," said Aaron Terrazas, a Zillow economist, who noted San Diego's increase in high tech jobs also pushes up prices. 

Zillow says about 25 percent of the single-family homes in the county are for rent, a number that has grown since the Great Recession. The median rent for a single-family home is now about $2,650 a month, up 5 percent form a year earlier. 

Ed Nakamura, a San Diego property manager, said he's never been busier. He just leased a single-family home in the College area for about $2,950 a month, which is $700 more than the last people were paying. He did, however, have to lower the price about $50 a month before a tenant would sign. 

Nakamura said people minimize rent increases by renewing their leases, so the hikes aren't as drastic.

"The only time people seem to be moving is when it's for a job, or they're going to move back home," he said. 

The lack of supply is also making it harder for first-time home buyers to find a home to buy. 

Mark Goldman, a real-estate lecturer at San Diego State University, said it's best for home-shoppers to get pre-qualified for a loan, and study the market, so they can move quickly when they find the right place.  

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