Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash

Median rent prices across Los Angeles continued their downward slide in May, making it the third month in a row that one- and two-bedroom rents have declined on a year-to-date basis. The city ranked as the seventh priciest rental market nationwide, according to a new report from apartment rental platform Zumper. 

One-bedroom rent dropped 1.4 percent from April to May and 3.6 percent over the same period a year ago to a median price of $2,170. Two-bedroom apartment rent experienced a more modest decline, falling 0.7 percent month-over-month and 1.7 percent year-over-year to $2,980.

Four other California cities were named among the country’s 10 most expensive rental markets. San Francisco, which nabbed the top spot, recorded its sharpest-ever decline with one-bedroom rents plunging 9.2 percent year-over-year to $3,360 — a price level not seen since 2017.

In nearby Oakland, rents for one- and two-bedroom apartments inched up 0.4 percent compared to one month ago to $2,350 and $2,850, respectively. San Jose, located in the heart of Silicon Valley, saw one-bedroom rent dip 1.6 percent in May to $2,420, while the median price of a two-bedroom tumbled 3.0 percent to $2,950.

One-bedroom rent in San Diego decreased 0.6 percent month-over-month, although it has risen 3.5 percent since the same time last year. Two-bedrooms saw more pronounced declines, falling 2.1 percent between April and May and 1.3 percent over 2019 levels.

“As more and more companies move into remote work, many renters don’t want to pay the big city price tag when they are unable to use the amenities and are looking for more affordable options outside of large, metropolitan areas,” wrote the report’s author, Crystal Chen.

This, combined with a record-shattering unemployment rate of 15.5 percent in April, could slow the demand in California’s urban rental markets even further, causing landlords to cut their prices or offer incentives to attract new tenants.

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