Apartment rents in Orange County rose on average nearly 8% this year, to a record $1,170 per month, according to a survey released today.
Rents have jumped nearly 50% above the 1996 average of $802 per month, according to a review of apartments at complexes of 20 or more units by Research Network Ltd., of Rancho Santa Margarita. That far exceeds the rate of inflation.
But over a longer period of time, the study found that average rents in Orange County today, adjusted for inflation, are just $5 more per month than in 1985.
Rents have surged in recent years because of the scarcity of new building, surging home prices and robust job growth.
The survey found that the rent for a one-bedroom unit in Orange County, boosted by luxury apartments built in South County, now tops $1,000 per month.
Within the county, average rents varied widely among larger cities, from $938 in Anaheim to $1,561 in Newport Beach.
Units in all major regions of the county, from older apartments in the north to new ones in the south, averaged more than $1,000 per month.
Despite the increases, occupancy rates remained at 98%, as tight as a year ago. This means landlords can fill units without advertising, said Pamela S. Wooldridge, who directed the study of 116,000 units in Orange County.