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Rent hikes follow Bay Area exodus
BOTTOM apartment
Laurel Glenn on Button Avenue with its park-like setting that provides more ground space around units than any other complex in Manteca commands the second highest monthly rents in the city. - photo by PHOTOS CONTRIBUTED

George Martinez didn’t think much of it when he moved to Manteca to an apartment to avoid the skyrocketing rent costs of the Bay Area.
After all, it was significantly cheaper and while the commute would take a larger chunk out of his day, he ended up paying half as much as he would have if he had stayed in the Silicon Valley where he previously lived.
But now those rents are starting to creep up.
With the technology sector driving rent and home prices in the San Francisco Bay Area through the roof – so much so that residents in some neighborhoods in San Francisco have actively rebelled against the technology companies that are recruiting high-paid skilled workers from around the globe and thus creating a shortage of affordable housing for class families – the prices in the Northern San Joaquin Valley have started to reflect that trend.
Until the housing market collapsed in 2008, home prices in San Joaquin County were soaring thanks to communities like Tracy, Lathrop and Manteca becoming bedroom communities for Bay Area-bound commuters.
That’s when Martinez made the trek over the hill, and while he’s still not paying as much as his counterparts who choose to skip the morning commute, he has seen his apartment rent continue to rise year-after-year.
“I couldn’t afford to live over there anymore because of how crazy things were getting, and now that’s starting to show here in some ways,” he said. “I love it here – it’s a great place to spend the time that I do have away from work – but there’s no doubt that renting is becoming more expensive as more people start looking inland to adapt to their budget.”
If you’re looking for a high-end luxury apartment – or Manteca’s equivalent to that – it’ll likely end up costing as much if not more than a standard residential home mortgage would. Rents as Paseo Villas – which boats a Tuscan-theme and boasts granite countertops and state-of-the-art appliances in its units – have eclipsed the $1700-a-month mark for their townhouse-style homes, which boast two bedrooms spread out across two floors of living space and a garage.
Other apartments have followed suit.
Whenever a tenant moves out of Lauren Glen on Button Avenue, the property management company upgrades the entire apartment – laying new flooring, carpet, countertops and cabinets and installing a stackable washer-and-dryer in every unit. Rent for their top unit – a two-bedroom, two-bath apartment – is now over $1400-a-month.
“I think my place is nice, but I want to be able to have a family one day and there isn’t enough room here for that to be a possibility,” Martinez said. “There are parts about renting that I love – I don’t ever have to do yard work – but then again I’m getting no equity and the prices just keep going up every time I re-sign my lease. Maybe it’s time to start looking elsewhere.”