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Downtown L.A. Vacancy Rate Highest In 17 Years

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The DTLA skyline. (Photo by Shadbro Photo via the LAist Featured Photos pool on Flickr)
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With the abundance of luxury apartments going up downtown, and rental prices higher downtown than in Bel-Air, Downtown L.A. has hit a 12 percent vacancy rate. This puts it at its highest since 2000, and three times higher than the rest of Los Angeles.

KPCC reported that supply has now outpaced demand, with approximately 2,000 of the 21,000-plus market-rate rentals sitting vacant. As a result, landlords have been offering deep discounts and perks for renters willing to sign long-term leases. This includes up to several months of free rent and free parking for a year. Despite these perks, landlords still have had difficulty filling the buildings.

Landlords have been using these concessions downtown for awhile now; Curbed reported last year of similar tactics to attract renters. Despite the prolonged need for these perks, Steve Basham, a senior market analyst for the real estate research group CoStar, told KPCC he believes the double-digit vacancy rate is temporary. He said "as construction falls off in 2019, supply will catch up with demand among affluent urbanites."

The median price for a one-bedroom apartment downtown is $2,500, according to Curbed. L.A. has seen a 23% increase in homelessness in the past year, so the abundance of luxury apartments has sparked criticism from local advocacy groups. Thelmy Perez of Los Angeles Community Action Network told KPCC "[t]his is not the kind of project we need downtown, especially considering the vacancy rate is so high," after protesting a new luxury high-rise set for 7th and Maple.

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