If you’re in the hunt for a two bedroom apartment in Manteca be prepared for sticker shock.
The top tier apartment complexes in the Manteca Bulletin’s twice a year apartment rent survey shows the most desired two bedroom floorplans — those with two bathrooms — have seen rents soar 18.4 percent in the last 18 months. At one complex — Union North — the 2-2 units have increased in rent by $340 in the last 18 months.
That compares to one bedroom one bathroom units that have gone up 15.1 percent during the same time period to an average of $1,995.
More telling though are rent increases during the last six months. Every complex on the Bulletin’s survey has increased rents on two bedroom and two bathroom units since December bringing them up 4.8 percent. Only two of the complexes with one bedroom and one bathroom units increased rents during the last six months for a 1.2 percent increase to bring the average unit rental to $1,375. The average two bedroom and two bathroom unit in Manteca is now renting for $1,702 a month. That is almost as much as the highest priced luxury one bedroom and one bathroom unit at the just completed Tesoro Apartments at Atherton Drive and Van Ryn Avenue that is commanding $1,715 a month.
Apartment experts say that two bedroom and two bathroom apartments have become the affordable rental option for singles and even two couples living together throughout the Greater Bay Area. That’s because they enter into joint rental agreements where they share living space but have separate bedroom suites. That brings the monthly housing cost for the typical two bedroom two bedroom unit in Manteca down to $851 per renter. That is $524 less a month than the average rent for a one bedroom and one bathroom unit in the Bulletin survey.
It is why Valencia Place — the 428-unit the city just approved to be built on Atherton Drive east of Bass Pro Shops — will not only be the largest complex ever built in Manteca but it will be the first major complex where more than half of the units (222) will be two bedroom and two bathroom.
Banks such as Wells Fargo that lend money for such complexes that can cost north of $70 million to build pay close attention to renting trends in terms of not what size units are being rented but who is renting them. No longer are two bedroom and two bathroom units rented by couples with children but are essentially two households in one apartment.
Valencia Place will also have the largest concentration ever of studio apartments in Manteca. A tenth of the units will be studios with 515 square feet apiece. The Westwood Village complex on the north side of Center Street at Union Road has several studio apartments that rent for $1,105 a month.
Two bedroom and one bathroom units have gone up the same as their 2-2 counterparts percentagewise — 4.6 percent since December. Over 18 months the 2-1 units have jumped 11.5 percent to an average rent of $1,665 compared to 18.4 percent for a monthly average rent of $1,702 for 2-2 units.
The 44-year-old Union North complex with 91 units has experienced the biggest rent increases. The 2-1 units have gone up $110 since December and $285 in the last 18 months. The Union North 2-2 units are renting for $195 more than they were in December and $340 more than they were 18 months ago.
Part of the increase has to do with the sale of the complex last year. A group of investors from Clovis won a competitive bidding war to pay a sub-market record $17.2 million for the 91-unit Union North complexion on North Union Road.
The sale of Union North that was built in two phases — the first in 1974 and the second in 1979 — set a record price per square foot for an existing apartment complex in the Manteca-Lathrop-Ripon area. That translates into $229 per square foot or $186,957 per unit.
But while the sale obviously led to the rent increases, the record price paid nor would the rents have increased that significantly if the supply wasn’t dwarfed by demand in Manteca.
Some like to blame Paseo Villas — the complex up until the opening of Tesoro across the street several months ago was the highest priced in Manteca — for putting upward pressure on prices.
Actually other complexes have seen Paseo increase the price of a one bedroom and one bathroom unit from $975 when they started renting in 2006 to $1,615 today to get a clearer picture of the Manteca market. That $1,610 rent has been steady for the past three years.
That has prompted other complexes to push the envelope with remodeling and such. Laurel Glenn on Button Avenue rented for $225 a month less for a one bedroom than Paseo did in 2006. Today Laurel Glenn is at $1,545 or $80 less than Paseo. Stonegate is just behind Laurel Glenn almost doubling in the last 13 years going from $750 to $1,473. If Paseo had doubled their one bedroom units would be rented for $1,950 instead of $1,615.
The most expensive one bedroom today in Manteca is at the 154-unit Tesoro complex that is rapidly filling. The lowest priced one bedroom at the complex rents for $1,715 a month or $365 more a month than the three bedrooms and two bathroom units did at Stonegate 13 years ago.
The addition of the 428-unit Valencia complex plus three other possible complexes in the work aren’t likely to flatten rents and might not even slow rent hikes then down given Manteca has the second lowest concentration of multi-family units in the region at 19.2 percent. It only tops Tracy that is at 17.56 percent. That is lower than the United States at 31.8 percent, California at 38.0 percent and Stockton at 33.7 percent and Lodi at 35.2 percent.
It could be worse, however. Most complexes in Manteca have stable ownership meaning price pressures — except for Union North — aren’t being exacerbated by financing pressures on the new investors.
To contact Dennis Wyatt, email firstname.lastname@example.org