The Number


A survey by real estate data firm Yardi Matrix found that among the 250 largest cities in the United States, Lancaster ranked fourth for apartment rent increases in 2017.

The Antelope Valley city had average rent hikes of 9.8 percent, according to a report published on website Rent Café, which is owned by Yardi Matrix in Scottsdale, Ariz. Lancaster had an average rent of $1,166 a month, compared to a national average of $1,359.

“Renters in Lancaster ended up paying a total of $1,248 in extra rent for the year, compared to the previous year,” the report stated.

Jason Caudle, deputy city manager in Lancaster, said improvements in the economy have brought a lot of new workers to the Antelope Valley. For example, electric bus manufacturer BYD Motors Inc. has expanded its factory and hired more workers; Lance Camper Manufacturing Corp. is in expansion mode following its acquisition by Rev Group; and Northrop Grumman Corp. has started ramping up for production of the B-21 stealth bomber, requiring new employees.

“All these are driving demand,” Caudle said. “And the economy is better everywhere.”

Although the Yardi Matrix report stated that “new large apartment developments are non-existent” in Lancaster, Caudle said that’s not quite true. The Copper Square complex with 205 units recently finished construction, and a pair of other projects that will add about 300 units to the market have been submitted to the city for approval.

Caudle noted that developers historically have mainly built single-family homes in Lancaster, but the demographics of the city have changed. People want a more urban lifestyle and apartments figure into that.

“There are opportunities for alternative product here,” he added.

The Yardi Matrix report found that, nationally, average rent increased 2.5 percent last year.

– Joel Russell

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