Photo by Abrajam Escalante on Unsplash

Following a year of steadily declining prices, the Los Angeles rental market is making a quiet comeback. 

April marked the second consecutive month that one-bedroom median rents posted gains, rising 2.6 percent from March to $1,960, according to the latest report from apartment rental platform Zumper. Compared to the same period last year, one-bedroom rent is down 10.9 percent, equating to a price difference of $240 per month. 

Two-bedroom median rent plateaued in April at $2,650 after experiencing a 0.4 percent monthly decrease in March. On an annual basis, rents for two-bedroom apartments dropped by 11.7 percent, providing renters with a savings of $350 per month. Los Angeles moved up in the rankings from the seventh most expensive rental market nationwide to the sixth.

“As more Americans become vaccinated, 2020 rental market trends could reverse rapidly,” wrote Zumper data analyst Neil Gerstein, who authored the report. “Specifically, more Americans may consider moving back to expensive, coastal markets, which could increase prices in these places after a year of historic decreases.”

Interestingly, mid-sized cities in the Greater Los Angeles Area, including Long Beach, Anaheim and Santa Ana posted stagnant or declining one-bedroom rent prices in April. These outer markets were less severely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic as renters sought out more affordable apartments farther away from job centers. Rents in Anaheim, for example, dipped 0.6 percent in April but are up 5.0 percent year-over-year.

While rents in expensive coastal markets could take until 2022 to reach their pre-pandemic levels, the report notes that these cities are “likely to see quite a bit of growth throughout the summer of 2021.”

As more Angelenos become fully vaccinated, college students return to campus, and newcomers make moves to the city, the rental market could return to its normal price growth trajectory.

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