Cost of Rent Has Doubled Over Last 17 Years in Southern California

LOS ANGELES (CNS) - The cost of renting one's residence in Southern California has doubled in 17 years -- a jump practically twice as fast as the overall cost of living, a newspaper reported today, citing the regional Consumer Price Index.

Since the turn of the century to July, this measurement of local rents is up 102 percent vs. a gain of 53 percent for the overall CPI for Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino and Ventura counties, the Orange County Register reported. Nationwide, rent costs rose 72 percent in the same period.

This local inflation gap -- rental costs vs. the overall basket of goods and services -- is growing, according to the Register. It took 19 years for rental costs to double, but overall inflation in the 1981-2000 period rose by almost as much, up 82 percent.

The CPI’s rent index is compiled from a constant survey of households about everyday expenses, including the largest component: housing. This rent metric differs from the often-quoted indexes derived from polling landlords about asking rents.

Local salaries aren’t keeping up with the growing rent check. The CPI shows local rents are up at a 4.2 percent annual clip since 2000 vs. an estimated per-capita income growth of 3.5 percent in Los Angeles and Orange counties and 2.8 percent in the Inland Empire.

The trend is part of an exaggerated rent upswing in Southern California blamed on solid employment growth outstripping developer’s ability to construct more apartments, according to the Register. The rent rise has accelerated of late.

Southern California’s rental CPI rose at a 5.2 percent annual rate in July, topping the 5.1 percent annualized rate for the first half of the year, a 10-year high, the Register reported. Nationwide, the increase was only 3.9 percent in the first six months.

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