Apartment space dwindles
costs rise in Fairfield

Robert Eyler, president of Economic Forensics and Analytics, said the information seems to fit in with the overall economic picture of a Bay Area experiencing strong job markets, but corresponding spikes in the cost of living.

By Todd R. Hansen
Fairfield Daily Republic

The number of available apartment units in Fairfield is on the decline, and the average price is on the rise, according to a recent survey by the city’s Economic Development and Workforce Housing Division.

“The data from our most-recent survey indicates a significant tightening of the multifamily market in Fairfield,” Robert Burris, manager of the city agency, said in a statement with the June survey results.

“Available supply has decreased and average rents are increasing, especially as new product comes online,” Burris said. “At least part of this can be attributed to the lack of affordability in the San Francisco Bay Area, and an increasing population of those moving north and east seeking lower housing costs.”

Robert Eyler, president of Economic Forensics and Analytics, said the information seems to fit in with the overall economic picture of a Bay Area experiencing strong job markets, but corresponding spikes in the cost of living.

“If it was $600 to rent a three-bedroom apartment in San Francisco, people would work and live in San Francisco,” Eyler said.

Instead, the cost for a two-bedroom apartment is far higher than the average cost of a three-bedroom apartment in Fairfield.

“So people are willing to commute,” Eyler said.

Eyler said that there is an unusual trend of having rental prices and home prices being close to historical highs at the same time for an extended period. He said that is largely due to the lack of inventory in the house market. People who may be looking to buy a home, may instead be in the rental market because of the lack of houses.

The Fairfield survey of more than 60 apartment complexes, with at least five units, shows the vacancy rate among the 4,445 units has dropped to 1.55 percent compared to the 2.42 percent vacancy rate in the 2015 survey.

“This reflects a very tight rental marketplace considering a typical vacancy rate is closer to 5 percent, even in a healthy economy,” according to the city’s survey. “Many multifamily complex managers stated that there are waiting lists for available units.”

Burris said in a phone interview Wednesday that the survey also revealed a wide range in rents.

“If you go to a lot of the newer apartment (complexes), the rents are much higher than the averages,” Burris said.

That is particularly true for the larger centers with 100 or more units, he said.

Senior housing was not part of the survey.