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Overall apartment rents jumped by more than 7 percent in 2021 for third consecutive year
atherton clubhouse
Part of the clubhouse at The Atherton apartment complex on Atherton Drive east of Bass Pro Shops.

The most expensive apartment in Manteca is commanding $2,845 a month.

It’s a three bedroom, two bathroom units with 1,292 square feet and a garage in the city’s newest complex — The Atherton — that opened last year just east of Bass Pro Shops.

That’s just $45 more a month than a three bedroom remodeled unit at the 47-year-old Union North complex fetches with one less bathroom, 367 less square feet, and a garage. You can dodge that $2,800 if you opt for and are able to secure a non-remodeled 3-1 unit at Union North that’s available for $2,650.

That’s just one highlight in the Bulletin’s 31st annual survey of rents for apartment complexes built in the last 50 years.

For the third consecutive year the average rent for all apartments has jumped more than 7 percent.

Average rents have stalled but have never gone down in the 31 years of the survey. Selected floor plans, though, at a handful of complexes have dipped slightly for a year.

The average rent in Manteca has climbed every year since 2010. The 13.75 percent rent hike in 2015 is the highest on record. Since then rents went up on average 6 percent in 2016, 2.4 percent in 2017, 7.8 percent in 2018, 7.1 percent in 2019, and 7.1 percent in 2020.

The category featuring the lowest rent increase are studios that saw a 2 percent jump. That’s because The Atherton units weren’t available until almost mid-year. The 515-square-foot unit that started out renting at $1,875 in mid-May was up to $1,885 at the end of 2021.

The other complex with studios — Westwood Village on Center Street with 460-square-foot units — increased 2020 rents of $1,125 to $1,265.

To give the current Westwood studio complex rent context $1,265 is what a three bedroom, two bathroom unit in the Stonegate complex across the street rented for in 2004.

The highest average rent increase last year was for one bedroom, one bathroom units that increased 10.47 percent. Two bedrooms, two bathroom units were up an average 9.2 percent.

The most stunning increase in those two categories was for a two bedroom, one bedroom unit at Union North. Those units rented for $995 in 2009. Today they are renting for either $2,000 or $2,300 depending upon whether the unit has been remodeled.

Going back 20 years ago a two bedroom and one bathroom unit at Laurel Glen on Button Avenue rented for $825. Today it rents for $1,920.


Two bedroom units

are most affordable

Although it seems counterintuitive, the two bedroom configurations that rent anywhere between $150 and $225 more per month than single bedroom units in the same complex are considered the most affordable.

That’s because a spot check with various complexes as well as data compiled by banks that underwrite construction loans for apartment complexes show the vast majority of those renting the two bedroom floor plans are unrelated and are not in committed relationships.

As such it essentially halves the rent. A solo renter in a one bedroom at Tesoro at Atherton Drive and Van Ryn Avenue for example pays $2,025 a month if they opt not to include a garage while two separate renters splitting the cost of a two bedroom, two bathroom unit in the same complex are paying $1,152.50 a month each.

It is why more than half of 222 of the 428 units at The Atherton when it is completed will be two bedroom and two bathroom apartments. That is essentially the market’s answer to affordable renting.

The second 214-unit phase of The Atherton complex is now under construction. Meanwhile the 124-unit Woodbridge complex on Lathrop Road at Union Road is nearing completion and now renting.


Average apartment rent

in Manteca is $900 less

than in San Jose

Regional apartment rent averages based in aggregate of all apartments listed for rent in the past year as compiled by indicates the overall average apartment rent in Manteca is $1,849.

As you head west average rents go up. In Tracy it is $2,293, in Livermore it is $2,490, in Pleasanton it is $2,678, in San Jose it is $2,740, and in San Francisco it is $3,249.

The difference between the average apartment rent in Manteca and in San Jose at the heart of the job rich Silicon Valley is $900 a month.

That is why the hybrid remote work and at-office work approach adopted by many tech firms as the pandemic unfolded accelerated a trend where single people wanting more affordable and nicer complexes in their price range started heading over the Altamont for housing and joined homeowners and house renters in the commute.


Renters never stabilize

their housing costs

At the depth of the Great Recession triggered by the housing price collapse attributed to liar loans, rents went up while home sale prices tanked.

That’s because those walking away from foreclosed homes had to live somewhere and since they weren’t in a position to buy they rented.

And while there was a time when some houses rented for less than many apartments, rents on apartments never dropped during the Great Recession although rent increases stalled for several years.

Many scoffed at those buying homes in 2008 when home sales started picking up steam. They argued prices hadn’t reached bottom yet and they hadn’t. That wouldn’t occur for two more years.

What happened though was when prices started accelerating and those that dismissed buying a home until prices hit bottom suddenly found themselves competing with not just the return of the Bay Area buyer that all but disappeared during the recession but speculators and even out-of-state investment firms eager to enlarge their home rental portfolio in a rebounding California.

A renter in 2008 paying $820 for a two bedroom, one bedroom bath bought a foreclosed home for $180,000 with 3.5 percent down payment.

Today they have an all-inclusive mortgage payment of principal, interest, taxes, and insurance of $1,449. That same apartment at Laurel Glen is now renting for $1,920. That’s almost $500 more as being opposed to more than $500 less than the initial mortgage 13 years ago with starting taxes and insurance.


To contact Dennis Wyatt, email