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Rents are rising in Fresno. See how much, and how they compare with other parts of the state

Fresno experienced one of the highest rates of year-over-year increases in apartment rents among California’s 10 largest cities between March 2018 and March 2019, according to a recent analysis of rents nationwide.

Although Fresno continues to have average apartment rents that are among the lowest in the state at $1,060 per month, the city registered an average increase of 6.2 percent, according to the analysis by RentCafe.com. That increase was higher than every other big California city except Oakland, where the average rent climbed 6.7 percent to $2,793 per month.

RentCafe, based in Santa Barbara, issues a report each month evaluating average rents in 253 cities across the U.S., including 62 in California.

Of those 62 California cities, the six with the highest average apartment rents are all concentrated in the San Francisco Bay Area. Topping the list is San Francisco, where the average rent was $3,619 in March 2019. San Mateo, Sunnyvale, Santa Clara, Oakland and San Jose round out the top six. Daly City, just south of San Francisco, ranks ninth.

The rest of the top 10 rent averages are in Los Angeles County: Pasadena, ranked seventh at $2,527 per month, followed by eighth-ranked Glendale and 10th-ranked Los Angeles.

Only Bakersfield, in Kern County, had a lower average apartment rent than Fresno among the 62 California cities in the RentCafe report. Bakersfield’s average rent was $993 in March, the only city on the list where the average was under $1,000 per month.

The RentCafe analysis evaluates cities with populations of more than 100,000 and a rental stock of at least 2,900 apartments in buildings or complexes with 50 or more units. It does not include government-subsidized affordable-housing projects.

Nationwide, the highest year-over-year increases were reported in the west Texas cities of Midland and Odessa. Midland saw its average rent climb by 14.6 percent since March 2018, to $1,609. In nearby Odessa, the average rent of $1,418 was 13.3 percent higher than a year ago.

San Francisco’s high rents were eclipsed on a nationwide basis by only Manhattan, in New York City, where the average monthly rent in March 2019 was $4,141.

The report comes as leaders in Fresno County and California as a whole are grappling with a shortage of affordable rental housing. In Fresno County, almost 60 percent of rental households are considered “rent-burdened” because they spend about one-third or more of their monthly income on rent and utilities; the shortfall in affordable units is estimated at about 4,100 apartments countywide.

In California, there is an estimated need for 1.4 million more affordable units, according to a report by the California Housing Partnership.

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Lifelong Valley resident Tim Sheehan has worked in the Valley as a reporter and editor since 1986, and has been at The Fresno Bee since 1998. He is currently The Bee’s data reporter and covers California’s high-speed rail project and other transportation issues. He grew up in Madera, has a journalism degree from Fresno State and a master’s degree in leadership studies from Fresno Pacific University.
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