WeHo’s High Demand, Low Inventory Rental Market Sends Prices Sky-High

West Hollywood Apartments
A shortage of available apartments in WeHo is driving rent prices up.

With its central location and high quality of life, the little burg of WeHo beckons to many apartment-hunters.
But those in the market now — perhaps encouraged by recent reports of a renters’ market in L.A. County—should brace themselves for sticker shock.

With few apartments becoming available for rent, prices are going up. The result, says Westside Rentals president Kevin Miller, is a “feeding frenzy.”

“The demand is ridiculously high,” Miller said. L.A. as a whole is one thing, he said, but “anything by the water is through the roof.”

Miller said that West Hollywood is the area’s second most popular spot (second to Santa Monica) where apartment-seekers want to live. Miller noted that demand has been especially high in recent weeks due to the influx of students moving to the area to attend L.A.-area colleges.

Leasing specialist Marco Colantonio and independent real estate agent Greg Johnson have seen competition for units escalate along with prices.

“There’s almost nothing right now in West Hollywood,” said Colantonio of MC Designs, LLC.

Over the past three or four years, he said, the situation was very different. There were many WeHo buildings with 12 to 15 percent vacancy rates, and landlords installed hardwood floors and granite countertops to woo prospective tenants.

Now, he said, a landlord with a vacant apartment will be flooded with applicants. One apartment garnered 20 applicants within a matter of hours.

That competition drive prices up, Colantonio said. Studios that used to rent for about $1,000 are going for closer to $1,300. One-bedroom apartments that would have gotten about $1,350 previously are now renting in the $1,600-$1,700 range.

Johnson, too, says the rental crunch is severe.

“I’m turning people down left and right,” Johnson said. “It’s so tight.”

Over the past year, he said, and particularly the past few months, demand and prices have shot up. Apartments listed for rent are often taken the same day they’re posted.

“If you see something, you have to grab it,” he said.

What’s behind the growing demand and increasing rents? Both Colantonio and Johnson suspect economic factors.

Johnson suggests that people may be considering moving, then getting discouraged by the cost. In turn, that contributes to the low number of apartments being put on the market.

Colantonio believes that cash-strapped buyers may be deciding against “upgrading” from a studio or one-bedroom apartment to a larger place. One couple, for example, told him they would skip “the condo phase” and continue to rent until they were ready to buy a house.

According to Jessica LeDuff of Linza LeDuff Real Estate, there’s a lot of competition among those looking to purchase homes, too.

“This market still feels pretty tight,” said LeDuff, who said that inventory has been low for most of the year.

LeDuff believes that potential sellers may be “riding the market” to see if prices keep rising before they decide to sell their homes. As the economy stabilizes, she said, more people may decide to put their houses on the market.

“They still don’t know which way things are going,” she said “It’s kind of a holding pattern.”

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Professor Shivers
Professor Shivers
7 years ago

You have all wasted your time here. The building is wrong-headed because the traffic is already intolerable and unsafe AND there is not enough parking for residents and our visitors. Period.

chloe ross
chloe ross
7 years ago

Marco – I am and grateful to be in one. I have always lived in apts, so I really have no issue with high rise buildings as a matter of upbringing. I have actually never had a backyard either. I have never yearned to own a house – and there must be others who don’t either. Neither have I ever been interested in real estate as a career. My only comment was “the buildings are rented yet are they? We’ll see.” Pragmatism some skepticism – I will be curious to see how it all shakes out. I appreciate your comments… Read more »

Marco Colantonio
Marco Colantonio
7 years ago

I echo the sentiments of Steve and John with a boisterous cheer to Weho for its central location and high quality of life! So nice to hear people and the press recognize what a beautiful city we live in and so tired of those who don’t appreciate how fortunate they are to be here. Weho is a bastion of tolerance, acceptance and diversity and fortunately has the sound fiscal management and forward thinking long term planners to ensure an even better quality of life for the future for our citizens. Yes, we can afford to build a magnificent library, fund… Read more »

Steve
Steve
7 years ago

One more thing….why does you showing your face and saying your last name make your comments more relevant or important then those of us who would rather not share personal information to the world?

Steve
Steve
7 years ago

If you feel it wastes your time Chloe, then please feel free to go somewhere else. I direct a few remarks your way in hopes of educating you. It’s meant to be a positive thing. I’m sorry you don’t understand that. Now back to the point….Stephen is absolutely correct. The only thing I’ll add is that as people expect better housing units, irresponsible landlords/slumlords will have no choice but to put some money into their buildings or risk staying vacant. These new units have nothing but a net benefit to the community. I just wish the anti-development folks could understand… Read more »

chloe ross
chloe ross
7 years ago

Steve – I do not know you. You have no last name nor a face. You don’t know me and yet you respond to my posts with some sort of vitriol that feels personal. This is a forum where all posts are invited. I did not specifically invite your snideness. I posted an opinion. I would like you to refrain from directed references to me. I would say that until we are on an equal basis, a single named, faceless heckler is childish. Unless you can come up with a last name – please stop directing your opinions and snarky… Read more »

Stephen
Stephen
7 years ago

Chloe, you obviously don’t understand how the housing market works. Creating more affordable housing does not require new construction to be affordable. When these new apartments are built, they will be priced at the top of the market for the area because they are modern and new. The buildings will employ leasing experts who will aggressively market the buildings and price the units to be fully rented within a short time. Practically all housing in the greater region is occupied by someone. Vacancy rates are very low and what vacancies do exist are a natural function of the market. When… Read more »

chloe ross
chloe ross
7 years ago

Everything you said 90069 is interesting logic. A. The population is dropping. OK. B. The reason is people being priced out left and right. OK. C. So we need more development (at presumably lower prices) to cope with demand for what? More expensive or at least market value units? How does that logic work? But moving on. NIMBY desire for less development notwithstanding has to happen in someone’s back yard. But in someone’s backyard in the vicinity of Olive Dr. should not be part of it. OK. Development on high transit corridors is okay then. That should make sense. I… Read more »

Steve
Steve
7 years ago

@Jacob: New units are not rent controlled/stabilized so it has no impact. @90069: Exactly! more units will actually improve the ability to find a reasonably priced apartment. There is no question that people want to move to West Hollywood. The question becomes finding something affordable. Whatever these new units are priced at, they will either rent them or they won’t. If they don’t, our free market steps in and forces lower prices allowing more people to move here. The NIMBY mentality and those who are anti-development (like Chloe) actually causes the problems. Allow the market to do it’s thing and… Read more »

Jacob
Jacob
7 years ago

What role does rent control play in prices?

90069
90069
7 years ago

The population of West Hollywood has been dropping because people are being priced out left and right. What we need is MORE development to cope with the demand not this constant NIMBY desire to constrain development. That doesn’t mean we need to build a 20 story apartment on Olive but concentrating high density near our transit corridors like La Brea and Fairfax makes sense. We need that “Domain” Project and Movietown Project built ASAP to help satisfy the enormous demand. I went apartment hunting two months ago and pricey 1 bed rooms were being snapped up within hours of listing.… Read more »

John
John
7 years ago

Well said Steve. I’d rather live in a new building on La Brea which has transformed night/day the past year than in some dumpy old 1950’s crap hole in WeHo with a window air conditioner mounted in the middle of my living room wall.