After climbing steady for over four years, the average cost of an Orange County apartment rental reached an all-time high of $1,888 near the end of 2015, according to the county’s Economic Indicators Dashboard. The record high was recorded in October of 2015, which was an increase of $106 the previous month.
“I would probably have to share but on my own I couldn’t afford it,” said Cole Reed, a business and economics major. “Unless I wanted to go out get multiple jobs and work 60 hours and try to go to school full time.”
Although consistently rising cost means steady growth for apartment developers and landlords, the high cost of living means struggle for young adults trying to establish themselves.
“I don’t know if it’s possible but I have heard of people doing it,” Reed said.
A handwritten flyer in the Science and Math Building advertises room for rent without name or price in Rancho Santa Margarita. (Kurtis Rattay/ Lariat Staff)
Reed works more than 20 hours while attending Saddleback full-time. If he were to move out he would probably look into Lake Forest, Costa Mesa or Anaheim.
A longer commute to class in exchange for cheaper rent could pay off financially, however the average asking rent in Anaheim during the first months of 2015 was $1,736, according to a housing market profile by U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. This five percent increase from the previous year means Anaheim is only $100 cheaper than the county average.
“A lot of students can’t afford that rent,” said Michael Liu, public relations and international studies. “Maybe they have to drive 30 minutes because they cannot afford the rent near school.”
Liu receives help from family in China to afford the $1,600 rent for his one bedroom apartment in Irvine. He has been living on his own for six months.
However, full-time students who do not live with family or receive financial help do exist. Ryan Miller took a break from managing several nightclubs to earn a business degree in six months.
Miller partly owns several establishments including Cake and AV Nightclub. Miller rents a one-bedroom apartment near the campus for $2,150 in addition to his Hollywood apartment.
Students who haven’t fount a lucrative career but want to leave their parents home may have to begin by renting or sharing a room.
Music major Dante Ivec affords a shared bedroom in a three-bedroom apartment with four other roommates by working two jobs. Ivec is a full-time student working between 40 and 50 hours a week.
Students seeking roommates often post flyers on campus bulletin boards advertising rooms for rent. A flyer posted in the Science and Math Building offers an $800 bedroom in Aliso Viejo.
Online housing finders Trulia and Zillow organize listings based on price and date posted. For a single bedroom, Trulia has one listing in Mission Viejo and Aliso Viejo at $750 each. The only single bedroom listing offered by Zillow is $950 with one-year-lease.
Orange County is likely to maintain a high number of renters due to high cost of living and lack of wage growth, according to Economic Indicators Dashboard.