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Los Angeles Multifamily Market Sees Lowest Vacancy Rate in Two Decades

3/04/22

This report provided by Marcus & Millichap

Robust leasing velocity widespread for a second consecutive year. Los Angeles County rentersabsorbed more than 30,000 units last year, slashing apartment vacancy to a 20-year low. Conditions that supported stout multifamily demand will extend through 2022, further compressing unit availability. Organizations are expected to push the metro’s total job count to a tally slightly below the pre-pandemic mark this year, supporting the formation of more than 30,000 new households. For many of these residents, dwelling options will be limited as the county’s median home price sur-passes $800,000. Suburban submarkets, neighborhoods south of Downtown Los Angeles and Silicon Beach should all benefit as more households seek areas of regionally lower rent or proximity to tech hubs. Additionally, demand for rentals in the San Fernando Valley, South Bay and Westside Cities will coincide with a moderation in each regions’ construction pipeline. Year -over-year declines in delivery volumes will direct more renters to existing properties, enabling regional vacancies to hold at historically low levels this year.

Long-term outlook for lower- and mid-tier assets bolsters buyers’ confidence. Tight Class C vacancy is attracting more investors to the property tier, including those seeking to reduce risk exposure via 1031 exchanges. These buyers and other private investors from California are competing for sub-30-unit complexes. Those targeting returns in the 5 percent range pursue listings in Southeast Los Angeles, Greater Inglewood and Korea town. In these locales, Class C pricing remains largely below $300,000 per unit. Similar pricing is available in Long Beach, a top target among out-of-state investors seeking areas of double-digit rent growth.

Investors focused on mid-tier assets are competing for similar-sized Class B complexes in higher priced Westside and San Fernando Valley cities. Competition for rentals in Santa Monica, Glendale and Studio City-North Hollywood has lowered local cap rates into the 2 percent to 3 percent band for many properties.

2022 Market Forecast

• Hiring velocity exceeds the national rate of increase for a second straight year as employers add 180,000 positions in 2022.
• After completing more than 10,000 apartments in each of the prior two years, developers increase the metro’s rental inventory by just 0.6% in 2022.
• Net absorption exceeds delivery volume by more than 4,000 units in 2022, lowering vacancy to 2.3%. This compression follows last year’s 180-basis-point decrease.
• The average effective rent in Los Angeles rises at a pace consistent with increases registered from 2016 through 2019. This gain elevates the mean monthly rate to $2,580.
• Rent control in Los Angeles, Santa Monica and West Hollywood may lift investor demand for post-1980-built assets in these cities as complexes of this vintage are not subject to restrictions.





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