Tom York on business: Falling rents are a silver lining amid slowing economy



The San Diego real estate market
A rental sign outside a North Park apartment complex. Staff picture

Well, the general downturn in the economy is a silver lining for potential renters in an otherwise gray cloudy sky.

Residential real estate website Zillow in a recent data analysis found that typical rents in San Diego fell slightly month-over-month this fall.

Granted, typical rent was up nearly 13% from a year ago, to $3,105 in October, which puts us third nationally for a year-over-year increase, found Zillow.

There is a national downward trend in rents, with typical prices falling 0.1% month over month. This is the first monthly decline in 2 years.

Typical rent in the United States was $2,040 in October, up 10% from 2021.

“According to our economists, the small drop is reminiscent of a more ‘normal’ rental market, in line with the October declines seen in each of the three pre-pandemic falls,” a Zillow spokeswoman said.

According to the company, rents fell in all but nine of the 50 largest metropolitan areas in the United States, including upscale markets like Boston and Miami and more affordable Midwestern metros like Cleveland and St. Louis.

California cities have the most expensive major markets, such as San Jose, where the typical monthly rent is $3,341, San Francisco at $3,199, San Diego at $3,105, and LA at $2,979.

Miami and New York saw the biggest year-over-year increases

Rent increases have come down after hitting a year-over-year high of 17.2% in February 2022.

Americans’ housing demand has fallen this year, after surging in 2021, thanks to higher rental costs and generally high inflation, Zillow found.

The analysis found that more and more tenants were living with roommates or family, driving up vacancy rates and putting pressure on landlords to control rent increases.

This slowdown in the growth rate of rents is likely to show up in official measures of rent inflation early 2023.

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Zillow also looked at the impact of rising rents on tenants.

According to the company, a tenant in San Diego must work 85.5 hours a month before earning enough to pay the area’s typical rent of $3,110, the new Zillow analysis shows. This represents an increase from the 74 hours of work required five years ago.

Rents rose faster than ever last year, tightening budgets as leases expired and renewals came due.

The rental market is cooling now, says a Zillow spokesperson, but rent cuts haven’t come down enough to have much impact on the portfolio.

While rents have risen, wages have not kept up with inflation, the spokesperson said. Rents in Metro San Diego have increased 46.9% over the past five years. The average wage has only increased by 27%.

“Finding a rental in this market is stressful – 40% of tenants lose sleep during their search. Strategies such as flexibility in move-in date and being one of the first applicants have helped recent tenants find housing,” he said.

Americans earning an average salary must work 62.6 hours to pay the typical monthly rent in the United States.

Over the past five years, rents have increased by 36.9%, while the average salary has only increased by 23%.

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Pierre Distributing Co. says it will distribute beer made by Coronado Brewing Co. in Southern California and will represent a large sample of Southern California.

Coronado Brewing says its sales are currently up 20% year-to-date.

Distribution of stonesfounded in the late 1990s, is now one of the largest independent distributors of craft beverages in the country.

The distributor became a standalone operation, breaking away from the Escondido-based company stone brewing earlier this year.

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Sacramento-based pizza supplier and franchisor pizza guys — opens its first store in San Diego at Pacific Beach.

The store is located at 1975 Avenue Garnet, and will be operated by a local entrepreneur Behzad Kazemiaccording to a press release.

The chain said it hopes to have more locations in the area in the future.

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The 2,670-passenger Diamond Princess cruise ship has left its new home in San Diego. The ship’s homeport here highlights a cluster of new operator crossings Princess Cruisesranging from five to 16 days with excursions along the Mexican Riviera, the Californian coast and the Hawaiian Islands.

The program also includes a unique 20-day round-trip cruise to Central America on November 27, according to a press announcement. The cruise line is part of the public company Carnival Corp.

San Diego is California’s third-busiest cruise port after LA and San Francisco and handled 93 ships before the COVID pandemic hit in 2020.

Port officials expect the terminal, which can accommodate three ships at a time, to recover this year, with more than 90 cruise ships docking at the city’s two terminals at the height of the season.

Princess Cruises operates a total of 15 ships in various global markets.

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Kearny Mesa Subaru will ring in the holidays with its annual “Share the Love” food truck event, which will benefit a local nonprofit Meals on Wheels San Diego County.

This event is open to the public and attracts some of San Diego’s best food trucks to support area nonprofits, including Meals on Wheels.

The trucks will compete for the title of “Best Dish” with local celebrity judges voting for the winning food truck.

Go to for more information.

Over the past 14 years, Subaru of America and its dealers have donated $227 million to more than 1,700 local charities nationwide.

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And finally, back to the news related to residential real estate.

Investor home purchases fell 30.2% year-over-year nationally in the third quarter, according to a new report of the site for the sale and rental of residential real estate red fin.

The report said it was the steepest decline since the Great Recession outside of the second quarter of 2020, when investor activity plummeted due to the onset of the pandemic.

And it topped a 27.4% decline in overall home purchases nationwide.

According to the report, many cities where investor purchases have declined are areas that have gained popularity during the pandemic.

These areas included San Diego, as well as Phoenix, Las Vegas, Sacramento and Miami, which consistently rank on Redfin’s list of top migration destinations.

Investor buying is down almost 35% here in October compared to October 2021.

Tom York is a Carlsbad-based freelance journalist who specializes in business and economics writing. If you have any topical tips you’d like to share, send them to

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