Rents in San Diego are cooling. Here’s how the changes break down by region

San Diego County rents have dropped for two months in a row, and it’s been a long time since that happened.

August rents fell 0.4 percent to an average of $2,425 a month, said Costar, which tracks real estate. It also decreased in July by 0.3 percent. While the declines may seem small, they are rare for San Diego County, where rents have not fallen since CoStar began daily tracking in 2015.

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The biggest declines occurred in places where prices have risen more over the past few years — such as University City and several North County cities — compared to lower-cost areas like National City. The rental market is in correction territory after explosive growth during the pandemic, said Joshua Uhl, a managing analyst at CoStar.

“There is a correction in rent growth in the market in many cases,” he said. “Some of these areas have seen rent growth of 20 percent (annual) and this is a market correction.”

Rent has risen to record levels in San Diego during the pandemic. In the second quarter of 2020, the county’s median rent was $1,926, an increase of 26 percent in three years. In the first quarter of 2022, rent rose 13.8 percent in a year.

CoStar’s research also points to a deeper trend of renters switching apartments rather than dealing with increases. Uhl said they found that landlords achieve rent increases primarily through renewals, rather than new leases. This is the opposite of how things usually go.

Increased vacancy rates mean that tenants can now choose to move rather than face an increase to renew their lease. The countywide vacancy rate is now 4 percent, compared to 2.5 percent at about the same time in 2021.

San Diego County is not alone in rent reductions, as much of the country is experiencing a slowdown. A recent study by said the average rent nationwide fell 0.5 percent annually. Analysts pointed to larger issues that could impact rent growth, such as tech layoffs, more housing construction, and a restart of student loan payments.

Rent changes vary across different markets in San Diego County. But what is clear in all areas is how rents, at the very least, are not rising at the same pace as they were a few years ago.

CoStar divides San Diego County into sectors, rather than cities, because cities don’t give a clear picture of what’s happening in certain areas. Here’s how rents have changed in different areas over the past 12 months, ranked from lowest to highest:

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