The cost of apartment rentals in Orange County reached an all-time high this summer. Apartment manager Stacy Calmese suspects the increase is due to price hikes being "extremely easy." Lolita Lopez reports from Anaheim for the NBC4 News at 5 p.m. on Oct. 18, 2012.
Rent in large apartment complexes in Orange County is at an all-time high, according to a data firm that tracks apartment real estate.
For the third quarter of 2012 – this past summer – rent has risen to an average of $1,628 in Orange County. That was a 4.7 percent increase over rent averages for the same period in 2011.
Los Angeles County, where rent averaged an even higher $1,751, saw the same 4.7 percent increase since 2011.
Rents are going up nationally, Northern California-based RealFacts said in a press release.
Orange County rents were above the broader Southern California average. The new data was first reported in the Orange County Register.
The data showed that Southern California communities accounted for the highest occupancy rate increases in the state – a factor that can drive up rents.
"It’s a strong quarter for occupancy rate growth as many more people are choosing rental housing. This phenomenon is occurring everywhere, coast to coast, not just job-centric metros like San Francisco, Denver and Seattle," RealFacts noted.
Nineteen of the top 20 cities in California with the highest rental-rate increases were in the San Francisco Bay Area. Daly City, south of San Francisco, saw rent go up 21.4 percent over last year.
Los Angeles was ranked 20th out of 20, with a rental rate increase of 8.4 percent.
Nationally, of major metropolitan areas, San Jose ranked first in the nation, with rent increasing 10.4 percent on average over 2011.
RealFacts said it expected property owners would continue to raise rents "to their limits in every market," with an average increase of 6 percent through the end of 2012.
RealFacts' survey covered large apartment complexes in 13,000 rental communities in 15 states.