Department of Numbers

San Diego California Residential Rent and Rental Statistics

The median monthly gross residential rent in San Diego, CA (the San Diego-Carlsbad-San Marcos metro area) was $1,504 in 2016 according to the Census ACS survey.1 Average gross rent in San Diego was $1,544 in 2016. The median rent more accurately depicts rental rates in the middle of the distribution of rents and is thus preferred in the analysis below. 2017 San Diego median and average rent data will be released in September of 2018.

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

Show dollars as: Nominal Real

Real Gross Rent in San Diego California (2016 dollars)2

2016 1 Year Change 3 Year Change
US Median Gross Rent $981 +0.93% +7.80%
California Median Gross Rent $1,375 +3.54% +11.70%
San Diego, CA Median Gross Rent $1,504 +4.01% +16.05%

San Diego, CA Real Gross Rent Trends

At $1,504, real median gross rent in San Diego was at its highest level in 2016 since the series began in 2005. At $1,544, real average gross rent in San Diego was at its highest level in 2016 since the series began in 2005.

Real Gross Rent in San Diego: San Diego CA Median, San Diego CA Average, California Median, US Median

Lower quartile, median and upper quartile real gross rent

Real Gross Rent History for San Diego

Date US
Median
California
Median
San Diego, CA
Median
San Diego, CA
Average
2016 $981 $1,375 $1,504 $1,544
2015 $972 $1,328 $1,446 $1,503
2014 $942 $1,278 $1,384 $1,455
2013 $910 $1,231 $1,296 $1,376
2012 $898 $1,219 $1,273 $1,352
2011 $898 $1,211 $1,276 $1,335
2010 $912 $1,241 $1,333 $1,399
2009 $916 $1,257 $1,332 $1,403
2008 $932 $1,284 $1,365 $1,430
2007 $885 $1,210 $1,310 $1,369
2006 $895 $1,207 $1,326 $1,380
2005 $869 $1,162 $1,280 $1,338

San Diego Rental Vacancy Rate

The rental vacancy rate is the fraction of homes for rent that are not occupied.3 In 2016 the rental vacancy rate for San Diego California was 3.79% according to Census ACS data.

Rental Vacancy Rate in San Diego California

2016 1 Year Change 3 Year Change
US 5.89% +0.04% -0.60%
California 3.31% -0.02% -0.91%
San Diego, CA 3.79% +0.54% -0.26%

Trends in San Diego, CA Rental Vacancy Rate

The rental vacancy rate in San Diego peaked in 2011 at 5.54%. Since then it has fallen by 1.75% to 3.79%. Data records for this series originated in 2005. From a 2015 post peak low of 3.25%, the rental vacancy rate has increased by 0.54%.

Rental Vacancy Rate: San Diego CA, California, US

Rental vacancy rate in California

Historical Rental Vacancy Rate data for San Diego

Date US California San Diego, CA
2016 5.89% 3.31% 3.79%
2015 5.85% 3.33% 3.25%
2014 6.32% 3.90% 3.62%
2013 6.49% 4.22% 4.05%
2012 6.77% 4.51% 4.46%
2011 7.40% 4.94% 5.54%
2010 8.17% 5.86% 5.43%
2009 8.43% 5.76% 5.05%
2008 7.86% 4.71% 4.91%
2007 7.87% 4.72% 4.57%
2006 7.70% 4.67% 5.11%
2005 7.74% 4.61% 4.24%

Rent as a Fraction of Income

Using median household income data for San Diego, we can calculate the fraction of income the median household would use to pay rent at the median monthly gross rent rate. For San Diego, median monthly gross rent as a fraction of median household income was 25.48% in 2016 according to the ACS.

San Diego California Median Annual Rent as a Fraction of Median Household Income

2016 1 Year Change 3 Year Change
US 20.43% -0.20% -0.35%
California 24.36% -0.03% -0.04%
San Diego, CA 25.48% +0.05% +0.30%

Trends in San Diego, CA Rent as a Fraction of Income

San Diego renters paid 25.48% of median household income towards the median monthly gross rent in 2016. This is the highest fraction of median household income going to rent since the series originated in 2005.

Fraction of Income towards Rent: San Diego CA, California, US

Percent of median household income going towards median monthly gross rent in San Diego California

Historical Data for Annual Rent as a Fraction of Income in San Diego California

Date US California San Diego, CA
2016 20.43% 24.36% 25.48%
2015 20.63% 24.39% 25.44%
2014 20.89% 24.57% 24.89%
2013 20.78% 24.40% 25.18%
2012 20.65% 24.69% 24.92%
2011 20.70% 24.59% 24.96%
2010 20.50% 24.18% 25.01%
2009 20.12% 23.52% 24.39%
2008 19.00% 22.32% 22.98%
2007 18.66% 21.58% 22.68%
2006 18.90% 21.80% 22.78%
2005 18.89% 21.77% 22.83%

Renter Fraction in San Diego California

You can calculate the renter fraction in San Diego 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 San Diego as a fraction of total San Diego households. In 2016 47.93% of households were renters according to Census ACS data.

San Diego Fraction of Renters by Household Units

2016 1 Year Change 3 Year Change
US 36.88% -0.09% +0.38%
California 46.36% -0.05% +0.15%
San Diego, CA 47.93% -0.04% +0.70%

Trends in the San Diego, CA Renter Fraction

The San Diego household renter fraction peaked in in 2015 at 47.97% and is now 0.04% below that level. The origin year for the series is 2005.

Fraction of Renting Households: San Diego CA, California, US

Fraction of renters in San Diego

History of San Diego Renter Fraction

Date US California San Diego, CA
2016 36.88% 46.36% 47.93%
2015 36.97% 46.41% 47.97%
2014 36.90% 46.27% 47.83%
2013 36.50% 46.21% 47.23%
2012 36.09% 45.97% 46.88%
2011 35.42% 45.12% 46.71%
2010 34.65% 44.36% 46.06%
2009 34.13% 43.43% 44.82%
2008 33.36% 42.95% 43.61%
2007 32.80% 42.00% 44.11%
2006 32.73% 41.55% 42.36%
2005 33.10% 41.56% 41.77%

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.