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Manteca rents hit record highs
One bedroom apartment rents up 13% since 2006
Mantecas most expensive one bedroom apartment renting for $1,095 a month can be found at Paseo Villas. - photo by HIME ROMERO

There’s one segment of the Manteca housing market that’s pulling in more dollars per square foot than it did back in 2006 — apartments.

Today’s median sale price for an existing single family home is $265,000 or $195,000 off the historic peak of $460,000 set in 2006.

Meanwhile the five largest apartment complexes in Manteca have imposed average rent increases for one bedroom units during the same time period of 13 percent since 2006. The median rent back in 2006 for a one bedroom, one bathroom apartment was $769. Today it’s $870.

All categories of apartments in the annual Manteca Bulletin rent survey show rents are up since 2006.

• 10.3 percent increase in the average rent of two bedroom and one bathroom apartments going from $848 to $936 per month.

• 14 percent increase in the average rent of a two bedroom and two bathroom apartments going from $913 to $1,041.

• 0.56 percent increase in the average rent for three bedroom and two bathroom apartments going from $1,422 to $1,430.

In short, apartment rents in Manteca are at an all-time high.

The most expensive one bedroom one bathroom apartment in Manteca is a unit in Paaeo Villas on Atherton Drive south of the 120 Bypass.  It jumped a whopping $85 a month in 2013 to $1,095. The units rented for $975 in 2006.

The $1,095 rent is $220 higher than the nearest competitor at Laurel Glenn on Button Avenue. Of course, Paseo is renting a lifestyle and not just apartments. Young people want the granite counter tops, high ceilings, in-apartment laundry and other touches as well as the lifestyle amenities such as an in-complex theater and social events that Paseo offers.

Rents from 2006 to 2011 were a mixed bag. Some dropped from year-to-year, others stayed the same and some made modest gains. Virtually every apartment complex raised rents in 2012. Then last year there were rent increases at almost every complex or else prices remained the same.

Increases from the end of 2012 to the end of 2013 were by far the biggest for one bedroom and one bathroom apartments. Four of the five complexes that increased rents on their apartments did so in increments of $20, $35, $85 and $90 a month.

Back in 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010 there were two foreclosure dynamics at play in the apartment market. There were some families that lost homes in foreclosure who opted to rent apartments — for awhile. But when investors leaped into the housing market to snap up bargains many of the former homeowners rented single family homes as rental prices were depressed.

Meanwhile a number of apartment dwellers suddenly found they could afford to buy a home after the median dropped from $460,000 in 2006 down to $173,000 in 2009. It literally was as cheap — and in some cases less expensive — to buy a home than rent on a monthly cost basis. That resulted in a higher than normal vacancy rates for apartments causing stagnant or receding rents.

Also working against apartment renters in Manteca is supply.

When it comes to the Northern San Joaquin Valley 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 and Stockton at 33.7 percent and Lodi at 35.2 percent.

A study issued in 2012 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 2009 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 contend the high fees for building in California make it tough to financially pencil such projects out.

There is only one apartment complex that has advanced in the planning process in the past two years. Bill Filios and partner Art Nunes have positioned themselves so they can start work on a 128-unit apartment complex in North Manteca when financing options and market dynamics mesh.

Their Woodbridge Apartments complex is planned at 925 West Lathrop Road to the east of Woodbridge Shopping center anchored by CVS Drugs and north of Lathrop Road.

The 128-unit garden apartment complex includes a 3,800 square-foot community center with a swimming pool and spa. There also would be a mail kiosk, enclosed garages, carports and extensive landscaping and landscaping improvements.

The northeast corner of Lathrop Road and Union Road was master planned for what is called “smart growth.” That means basic retail services such as grocery shopping, drug stores and food services are within walking distance of the apartment complex. The complex is also situated to serve as a buffer between the single family homes of Union Ranch to the north and the retail complex.