The rent squeeze continues.
With no new at-market apartments breaking ground in 12 years, record high housing prices pushing apartment dwellers out of the Bay Area, and a rebounding economy, Manteca renters suffered their third consecutive year of double-digit rent increases in 2016.
The average 2016 rent jump of apartment complexes included in the annual Manteca Bulletin conducted since 2001 came in at 10.7 percent. That is lower than the record high of 18.1 percent posted in 2015.
The increase over the past six years is staggering. Rents have skyrocketed 58.9 percent since 2011.
Laurel Glenn today commands $610 more than in 2011 for a one bedroom/one bathroom apartment that now rents for $1,390 a month. That’s $10 more a month gain over the same time period as Manteca’s top tier apartment complex — Paseo Villas — where a one bedroom/one bathroom apartment that cost $1,000 in 2011 now rents for $1,590 a month.
Vista Verde — the oldest complex in the Manteca Bulletin survey — collects $845 today for a one bedroom/one bathroom apartment. That compares to $600 in 2011.
Overall, renting a one bedroom apartment from the five complexes included on the Bulletin survey is $1,225 a month this year, up $84 from $1,141 a month in 2015.
Manteca’s most expensive apartment is Paseo Villa’s three bedroom/two bathroom floorplan that rents for $1,920 a month. That’s up from $1,700 in 2015 and $1,450 in 2011. to put that $1,920 a month rent into perspective, a qualified buyer can purchase a $400,000 home in Manteca with 20 percent or $80,000 down at 4.5 percent on a 30-year loan and have a monthly payment of $1,599 not including property taxes and insurance.
And if you’re thinking a studio apartment is the answer, you may want to rethink that strategy. As of Friday there was one studio apartment available in all of Manteca that has a 460-square-foot floorplan that costs $1,005 a month at Westwood Village on Center Street at Union Road.
The average rent for all apartments in Manteca except for smaller complexes typically 12 units or less was $1,305 in 2015. That compares to $1,049 for Modesto, $1,785 for Tracy, $2,055 for Livermore, $2,478 for Pleasanton, and $2,822 for San Jose.
The biggest hits this year for rents were two bedroom floorplans. Those with one bathroom went up 14.1 percent or $183 to $1,473 a month. The two bathroom units jumped 13.3 percent or $179 to $1,520 a month.
Property managers indicate the two bedroom units are seeing more pressure due to their popularity. Typically they attract roommates seeking to split rent as well as couples or single parents with one or two children.
But even splitting the rent for an apartment can be daunting. Half of the two bedroom/two bathroom combo is $760 a month or what a one bedroom at Laurel Glenn rented for in 2007. If that roommate is making $15 an hour fulltime for 40 hours a week they have a gross annual income of $31,200 before taxes. Rent would take $9,120 a month or almost a third or gross income, just a bit more than what federal housing experts consider is the upper limit for housing costs before they start becoming unaffordable. Factor in typical tax burdens — both federal and state — and they would have $1,000 left for other expenses such as auto and gas, utilities, food, clothing, phone, and other costs.
If that same person, though, was able to secure a one bedroom apartment on their own in an older, lower tier complex such as Vista Verde they would be paying $85 more a month in rent and have $915 left over for all other expenses.
In 2015, property managers started reporting seeing more and more single renters that have fled San Jose, Pleasanton and even Livermore in search of affordable apartment rents this side of the Altamont Pass.
To understand what prompts long-distance commuters to rent an apartment in Manteca put yourself in the shoes of someone earning $25 an hour in a full-time 40-hour a week job in San Jose. That’s $52,000 a year in gross income. A typical one-bedroom San Jose apartment has rented during 2016 for $2,473 a month. That’s $29,676 a year or almost half of their gross income. Add to it crime and such, and complexes in Tracy and Manteca are seeing an uptick in apartment renters fleeing the Bay Area not to rent or buy a home but to rent an apartment.
Manteca is among
lowest when it comes
to apartment units
When it comes to the region, Manteca’s 19.2 percent of multi-family units in communities over 20,000 is one of the lowest topped only by Tracy at 17.56 percent. That is lower than the United States at 31.8 percent, California at 38.0 percent, Stockton at 33.7 percent, and Lodi at 35.2 percent.
A study issued in 2013 by economists at the University of Pacific’s Business Forecasting Center credited the higher percentage of single family homes in Manteca and Tracy to the “commute-centric southern San Joaquin County.”
And, according to previous studies by the forecasting center, renters are paying the price in Manteca.
For-rent surveys of available apartments show rents in Manteca, Lathrop, and Ripon tend to be higher than the rest of San Joaquin County. The forecast center noted that in 2010 the median gross monthly rent that includes water, sewer, and electricity was $998 in San Joaquin County. US Census data shows that’s $28 higher than in Sacramento County and $156 higher than the United States as a whole but $57 lower than the California average.
While Manteca has a big demand for more apartments, developers have noted the high fees for building in California make it tough to financially pencil such projects out.
To contact Dennis Wyatt, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org