Department of Numbers

Santa Cruz California Residential Rent and Rental Statistics

The median monthly gross residential rent in Santa Cruz, CA (the Santa Cruz-Watsonville metro area) was $1,442 in 2015 according to the Census ACS survey.1 Average gross rent in Santa Cruz was $1,472 in 2015. The median rent more accurately depicts rental rates in the middle of the distribution of rents and is thus preferred in the analysis below. 2016 Santa Cruz median and average rent data will be released in September of 2017.

Data is also available below for Santa Cruz rental vacancy rates, Santa Cruz rent as a percent of median income and the fraction of renters in Santa Cruz.

Show dollars as: Nominal Real

Real Gross Rent in Santa Cruz California (2015 dollars)2

2015 1 Year Change 3 Year Change
US Median Gross Rent $959 +3.12% +8.24%
California Median Gross Rent $1,311 +3.88% +8.98%
Santa Cruz, CA Median Gross Rent $1,442 -1.90% -2.44%

Santa Cruz, CA Real Gross Rent Trends

Median gross rent for Santa Cruz peaked in real terms in 2008 at $1,480 and is now $38 (2.57%) lower. Average gross rent for Santa Cruz peaked in real terms in 2012 at $1,472 and is now $0 (0.00%) lower.

Real Gross Rent in Santa Cruz: Santa Cruz CA Median, Santa Cruz CA Average, California Median, US Median

Lower quartile, median and upper quartile real gross rent

Real Gross Rent History for Santa Cruz

Date US
Median
California
Median
Santa Cruz, CA
Median
Santa Cruz, CA
Average
2015 $959 $1,311 $1,442 $1,472
2014 $930 $1,262 $1,470 $1,463
2013 $898 $1,215 $1,340 $1,347
2012 $886 $1,203 $1,478 $1,472
2011 $887 $1,195 $1,383 $1,388
2010 $901 $1,225 $1,353 $1,322
2009 $905 $1,241 $1,355 $1,334
2008 $920 $1,267 $1,480 $1,461
2007 $874 $1,194 $1,284 $1,339
2006 $883 $1,191 $1,352 $1,351
2005 $858 $1,147 $1,417 $1,401

Santa Cruz Rental Vacancy Rate

The rental vacancy rate is the fraction of homes for rent that are not occupied.3 In 2014 the rental vacancy rate for Santa Cruz California was 1.64% according to Census ACS data.

Rental Vacancy Rate in Santa Cruz California

2015 1 Year Change 3 Year Change
US 5.85% -0.47% -0.92%
California 3.33% -0.57% -1.18%
Santa Cruz, CA

Trends in Santa Cruz, CA Rental Vacancy Rate

The rental vacancy rate in Santa Cruz peaked in 2010 at 6.75%. Since then it has fallen by 5.11% to 1.64%. Data records for this series originated in 2005.

Rental Vacancy Rate: Santa Cruz CA, California, US

Rental vacancy rate in California

Historical Rental Vacancy Rate data for Santa Cruz

Date US California Santa Cruz, CA
2015 5.85% 3.33%
2014 6.32% 3.90% 1.64%
2013 6.49% 4.22% 2.04%
2012 6.77% 4.51% 2.74%
2011 7.40% 4.94% 2.31%
2010 8.17% 5.86% 6.75%
2009 8.43% 5.76% 5.64%
2008 7.86% 4.71% 3.61%
2007 7.87% 4.72% 3.84%
2006 7.70% 4.67% 3.81%
2005 7.74% 4.61% 2.50%

Rent as a Fraction of Income

Using median household income data for Santa Cruz, we can calculate the fraction of income the median household would use to pay rent at the median monthly gross rent rate. For Santa Cruz, median monthly gross rent as a fraction of median household income was 26.56% in 2015 according to the ACS.

Santa Cruz California Median Annual Rent as a Fraction of Median Household Income

2015 1 Year Change 3 Year Change
US 20.63% -0.26% -0.02%
California 24.39% -0.18% -0.30%
Santa Cruz, CA 26.56% -0.55% +0.46%

Trends in Santa Cruz, CA Rent as a Fraction of Income

The fraction of median Santa Cruz household income required to pay median monthly gross rent peaked in 2014 (relative to the 2005 series origin) at 27.11%. Since then it has fallen by 0.55% to 26.56%.

Fraction of Income towards Rent: Santa Cruz CA, California, US

Percent of median household income going towards median monthly gross rent in Santa Cruz California

Historical Data for Annual Rent as a Fraction of Income in Santa Cruz California

Date US California Santa Cruz, CA
2015 20.63% 24.39% 26.56%
2014 20.89% 24.57% 27.11%
2013 20.78% 24.40% 23.67%
2012 20.65% 24.69% 26.10%
2011 20.70% 24.59% 26.07%
2010 20.50% 24.18% 25.23%
2009 20.12% 23.52% 24.61%
2008 19.00% 22.32% 23.59%
2007 18.66% 21.58% 21.81%
2006 18.90% 21.80% 22.54%
2005 18.89% 21.77% 24.60%

Renter Fraction in Santa Cruz California

You can calculate the renter fraction in Santa Cruz in at least two ways: by housing units or by population. I've gone with the housing units measure here. This measure looks at the number of renting households in Santa Cruz as a fraction of total Santa Cruz households. In 2015 44.59% of households were renters according to Census ACS data.

Santa Cruz Fraction of Renters by Household Units

2015 1 Year Change 3 Year Change
US 36.97% +0.07% +0.88%
California 46.41% +0.14% +0.44%
Santa Cruz, CA 44.59% +1.17% +1.32%

Trends in the Santa Cruz, CA Renter Fraction

At 44.59%, the 2015 household based renter fraction in Santa Cruz was at its highest level. The origin year for the series is 2005.

Fraction of Renting Households: Santa Cruz CA, California, US

Fraction of renters in Santa Cruz

History of Santa Cruz Renter Fraction

Date US California Santa Cruz, CA
2015 36.97% 46.41% 44.59%
2014 36.90% 46.27% 43.42%
2013 36.50% 46.21% 39.96%
2012 36.09% 45.97% 43.27%
2011 35.42% 45.12% 42.69%
2010 34.65% 44.36% 40.60%
2009 34.13% 43.43% 39.26%
2008 33.36% 42.95% 40.27%
2007 32.80% 42.00% 40.50%
2006 32.73% 41.55% 40.14%
2005 33.10% 41.56% 40.18%

1. Gross rent is defined as contract rent plus the estimated average monthly cost of utilities (electricity, gas, water, and sewer) and fuel (oil, coal, kerosene, wood, etc.). Because some rentals include utilities and others don't, gross rent is a way of normalizing the variability.

2. Real dollars are calculated using the CPI-U less shelter series.

3. The rental vacancy rate is computed by dividing the number of vacant units for rent by the sum of the renter-occupied units, vacant units that are for rent, and vacant units that have been rented but not yet occupied.