The Breakdown

Explaining Southern California's economy

LA Rent: Having trouble finding an apartment? Here's why

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In Los Angeles County, the vacancy rate dropped 10.8 percent in the one-year period ending in June, to just 3.3 percent. But that was nothing compared to the the recession-battered Inland Empire, where the number of available rental units plummeted by 30 percent, to a 3.8 percent vacancy rate, according to the 2014 USC Casden Multifamily Forecast from USC's Lusk Center for Real Estate.

Over 7,500 multifamily units were added in L.A. during the same period, which was a 62 percent increase over the year before; but it still wasn't enough to make a significant dent in the number of available apartments. 

With so few units available, it probably won't be a shock to hear rents are rising, and economists expect them to keep rising, by more than 8 percent in L.A. and Orange County and by 10 percent in the Inland Empire by June of 2016.

The average annual rent has increased in Los Angeles county for four years in a row. Last year saw the steepest increase of those four years – 3.9 percent – according to the report. 

Santa Monica is the most expensive place to rent in Southern California. The average apartment will set you back more than $2,600 a month. If you want something more affordable, consider moving to Victorville, where the average rent is just under $800 a month.

The USC Casden Multifamily Forecast will be officially released at an event Tuesday morning in downtown Los Angeles and KPCC will provide more analysis on the numbers here in The Breakdown blog.

RELATED: How affordable is rent in your neighborhood? Let us know!

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