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January 2014 Ventura County Apartment Rental Market Commentary
Dawn Dyer

Ventura County Rental Market Outperforms the Nation

Local landlords enjoyed another year of strong rent growth and occupancy levels that surpassed national trends in 2013. Dyer Sheehan Group’s January 2014 Ventura County Apartment Market Survey indicated a countywide vacancy rate of 3%, better than the national average of 5%, and in line with the tightest rental markets in the U.S.

The Ventura County Overall Average Rent in January 2014 was $1,536 ($1.79 per sq. ft.), for all unit types and cities combined. Countywide rent appreciation for the year was 4.7%, ranking the region in the op 10 Metropolitan Statistical Areas in the country, and well above the national rent growth for the year, which slowed to 2.8%.

The rental market has benefited from a stronger economy, job creation, increased household formation and a tight mortgage market that continues to limit consumer’s ability to buy homes. Demographic trends have led to increased demand for rentals from young people and immigrants and from a sharp rise in one and two-person households to historically high levels.

While some of our rent survey participants expressed concern over applicants’ ability to qualify at higher rents, most managers and owners expressed optimism about the market. The January 2014 Countywide Vacancy Rate fell nearly a full percentage from the previous year and has remained below 4% since July 2011, leading to substantial rent appreciation in most sub-markets. Vacancy rates varied somewhat between cities (from a high of 3.6% in Oxnard/Pt Hueneme and Simi Valley to a low of 2% in Moorpark); while significant rent growth disparities were evident based on unit types and market areas.

Rents for Studio apartments in Camarillo fell 5% for the year to $1,091, the lowest level since July 2012, while rents for one-bedroom units in Camarillo shot up 8.5% to a record high of $1,422. Rents for three-bedroom units in Moorpark jumped nearly 9% to $1,984, the highest level since January 2008; but studio rents at $890 have remained unchanged since January 2010. The strongest year-over-year rental growth for any unit type was in Oxnard/Port Hueneme where rents for three bedroom units rose 9.6% to a new peak of $2,138; followed closely by Thousand Oaks/Westlake Village where rents for three-bedroom units jumped 9% to a record high of $2,252.

Market conditions also improved in the smaller communities. The vacancy rate in Fillmore dropped dramatically to just 3.1%, down from 6.2% in July 2012. Three-bedroom rents in Fillmore jumped 7% since last January to $1,425; while overall rent growth was only 3.1%. Santa Paula’s vacancy rate plunged to 3.5% from a high of 10.1% in January 2012. In Ojai, although the vacancy rate increased two full basis points since last January to 2.6% and rents continued to climb with studios up 8.5% and two-bedroom rents 5.9% higher than last year. 

Local rental conditions outperformed expectations this past year but are expected to slow a bit moving forward. While vacancy levels should remain at or below 3%, rents in most markets have already returned to, or eclipsed, pre-recession levels. Future rent growth will, to some extent, be moderated by job creation and incomes.


All information provided herein is from sources deemed to be reliable, but no guarantee or warranty is stated or implied.

Copyright 2014 Dyer Sheehan Group, Inc.

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