Apartment renters are fighting for personal space in El Cajon


Renters of apartments are being squeezed out of personal space in a recent study by Rent Cafe, who’s research team analyzed floorplan information of apartments in 254 cities using Yardi Matrix data and the average number of people living in a household according to the U.S. Census Bureau. The study shows that renters in the Golden State have the least amount of personal space in the nation between the high cost of living, crowded cities, and the lack of available apartments pushing people to live under the same roof.

In the state of California, El Cajon came in sixth place of available space per renter at 327 square feet, closely followed by Chula Vista, which came in last with 322 square feet per person.

For reference, the city of San Diego has 459 square feet per person, equivalent to a bedroom plus a shared living room.

Yardi Matrix senior analyst and Business Intelligence manager Doug Ressler said the study was done in conjunction with its sister division Renter Cafe, part of Yardi, a privately held software company out of Santa Barbara, California.

“What we do at Yardi Matrix is track single-family, student housing…and use the data collected for loans, data analytics, demographics and a multitude of things,” he said. “We do all of this data collection as researchers looking for whatever the asset type is.”

Ressler said the research is important from a developer’s standpoint to how to meet demand and the consumer demand granularity. He said it shows current trends, what the next trends will be, and it breaks it down into 160 markets and submarkets across the nation.

“One of the things consumers are looking at, especially in the work-from-home mode, we see people need some sort of privacy in terms of working from home, so they do not have barking dogs and things like that,” he said. “So, workspace is considered extremely important, especially from an occupant’s level. You are seeing a lot of smaller unit configurations, like alternative domestic units, especially in California because of zoning, and current legislation.”

Ressler said basically there is much demand occurring within housing, and that there is a gap in the availability of housing, and the affordability of housing continues to grow.

“What you see is supply trying to catch up to demand,” he said. “We look at it at a standpoint of different demographics. We look at the people just coming into the workforce. Their needs are different from millennials who are starting families, have larger families, and are looking for larger square footage. They typically look to the excerpts, the areas that border urban cores.”

Ressler said many will look living close to transit, so they do not need an automobile, the same with student housing.

“We write these articles to share the granularity, but also the empathy we have for the different types of asset classes,” he said.

Ressler said across the nation, built to rent housing is becoming more available because of the demand, and it supplies a quicker demand for the market.

“At the same time, they know how to manage multi-family, and they can manage the expenses to hit that sweet spot at the cost that consumers are looking for,” he said.

Apartment renters are fighting for personal space in El Cajon