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Rents stop soaring in Sacramento, and they’re still way cheaper than the Bay Area

These are some of the issues behind California’s housing crisis

California's housing crisis is due in large part to a lack of supply, particularly when it comes to affordable housing, and it is hitting low-income individuals the hardest.
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California's housing crisis is due in large part to a lack of supply, particularly when it comes to affordable housing, and it is hitting low-income individuals the hardest.

Rents in Sacramento continued to taper off in February, falling by one-tenth of a point after months of sluggish growth. This was the second consecutive month when the median price of a two-bedroom apartment has fallen, according to the website Apartment List.

Among the largest 10 cities in California, Sacramento still ranks near the bottom in terms of price at a median of $1,210 for a two-bedroom apartment. Rents for a two-bedroom apartment were up a modest 1.4 percent year over year, growing faster than the nation and state as a whole.

Since fewer people move in the winter, one factor in the downward trend could be seasonal and it’s unclear if prices will continue to flatten, said housing economist Chris Salviati with Apartment List.

“That dip is generally a seasonal trend,” Salviati said. “If you look back over the past five years, rents in Sacramento are actually one of the fastest growing in the nation, looking over that period.”

Over the last five years, rents in Sacramento are up 26 percent, which is the sixth-fastest increase among large cities in the nation, said Salviati, who is based in San Francisco.

Sacramento rents climbed fastest in 2017 because, Salviati says, people are fleeing the high cost of housing in the Bay Area. It’s unclear if the latest data mean the influx has slowed down.

The median rent for a two-bedroom apartment in San Francisco is $3,100, about 256% more expensive than Sacramento. The same apartment costs $2,630 in San Jose and $2,240 in Oakland, which had a small decrease from the previous month.

Salviati said rental prices, like most goods, are governed by supply and demand. So prices follow consumer interests.

“A lot of it comes down to what’s happening on the demand side,” he said. “If landlords are able to increase prices and folks are willing to pay those prices then you are going to continue to see those increases.”

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Mike Finch joined The Bee in July 2018 as a data reporter after working at newspapers in Alabama and Florida. A Miami native, he has been a member of Investigative Reporters and Editors since 2012 and studied political science at Florida International University.

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