SAN DIEGO – San Diego’s scorching hot rental market is showing no signs of slowing down.

Rental prices have surged in the community with the median price of rent at $2,970 a month in December 2021, a rise of 29.3% compared to the previous year, a new report by Realtor.com shows. It places San Diego’s metropolitan area as the sixth-highest average rental increase in the U.S. and it marks the highest average rental increase in California, ahead of the Riverside-San Bernadino-Ontario market.

“People want to live here,” San Diego-based real estate agent Chad Voisen said. “People have always wanted to live in Southern California and they’re always going to want to live in Southern California.”

Voisen added, “The moral of the story is they’re willing to pay the price.”

Here are the top 10 markets for rental increases, per Realtor.com:

  1. Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach, Fla. (Rent up 49.8% year over year)
  2. Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, Fla. (35%)
  3. Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford, Fla. (34.1%)
  4. Las Vegas-Henderson-Paradise, Nev. (29.8%)
  5. Memphis, Tenn. (29.4%)
  6. San Diego-Carlsbad (29.3%)
  7. Jacksonville, Fla. (29%)
  8. Austin-Round Rock, Texas (28.7%)
  9. Riverside-San Bernadino-Ontario, Calif. (27.2%)
  10. Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale, Ariz. (26.7%)

With few homes for sale on the market, would-be buyers turn into high-paying renters, moving the market for everyone in the region. Experts say the pandemic also has changed the housing market along with the greater work-life balance.

“The rental market inventory is just as low,” Voisen said. “People cannot find places to live. Landlords are charging more money and they’re getting away with it.”

A large group of renters and buyers from San Francisco also are adding to the prices of rentals bumping up. The Bay Area is one of the only areas seeing a decrease in rental prices with Realtor.com reporting a 2.5% drop in prices.