Affectionately known as the OC -- Orange County lies 40 miles south of Los Angeles. In the center of it all is Newport Beach, home to the ultra-status conscious, ultra-rich and ultra-conservative – sort of an über-trifecta. Read Guide >
Some NB neighborhoods, such as Port Streets and Corona del Mar, are primarily residential with few, if any, apartments. To make your search easier, we’ll focus on neighborhoods with plenty of apartment, condo and townhouse rentals. By the way, the median gross rent in all of Newport Beach is $1,774.
A man-made haven in Newport Bay, Balboa Island’s biggest attraction is the opportunity to live right on the beach. This may also be a negative, especially during the summer tourist season with nosy out-of-towners peering into your yard and windows. Although most of the rentals here are of the vacation variety, there are homes and apartments for residents. Plan on paying a premium to live here or on the adjacent “Little Balboa.” Rents range from $1,400 to $12,500 a month. Balboa and Little Balboa are full of community-minded folks so if you like to get involved in your hood, this is your spot.
The 3-mile long Balboa Peninsula runs east of 45th Street and wraps its arms around the islands and the harbor. The area around Balboa Pier is where a lot of the young, single crowd lives. Surfers know this area as home to The Wedge, a well-known, treacherous surf spot. A lot of the more inexpensive rentals here are apartments attached to single-family homes and it’ll take a concerted effort to find one of these. A 2-bedroom apartment, a block from the pier, rents for $1,900. Expect to pay a minimum of $2,500 for an oceanfront condo and townhouses on the beach run from $3,000 a month and up. Most of your neighbors here are younger than the median age of all of NB, but, not by much – the median age of residents here is mid 30s.
The West Bay area is the most congested part of the city, with people packed onto the beach and lots of college students. Lido Village – the area between the bay and Newport Blvd. and north of 32nd St., offers lofts for $1,100 and other apartments and condos with rents as high as $6,000.
Although living across the Pacific Coast Highway (PCH to locals) won’t put you seaside, it does have its advantages. Chief among them: lower rent. The area bordered by Newport Blvd, 17th St. and Irvine Ave. is known as Newport Heights and you may just get yourself a 1 bedroom condo for $1,295 a month.
Since you’re considering a place off the beaten beach path, you might want to take a stroll around the Eastbluff neighborhood. Here, you can snag a 1,000 square foot, fully furnished unit for about $2,000 a month. Folks that live in Eastbluff love it for its proximity to Fashion Island Mall and the Back Bay’s wildlife preserve. Check out the townhomes west of Eastbluff Drive. The views here can be pretty special.
Newport North is an older neighborhood, home to a large number of college students. It’s a convenient hood, within walking distance to a huge array of restaurants and bars. Two bedroom apartments here can be had for $1,750, making it quite reasonable with a roommate.
The aforementioned lower ends of the rent spectrum are those that, natch, are the most difficult to locate. Now, I don’t mean to salt NB’s game, but even if you snag one of the cheaper apartments, rents are rising at almost 6 percent each year, so plan on a rent hike when your lease is up. Apartments may be hard to find. The vacancy rate is low, with over 95 percent of rentals occupied. Finally, although studio apartments are the cheapest to rent, they’re tiny – with an average size of 510 square feet. This makes the average studio apartment rent, $1,134, the most expensive price-per-square-footage in the OC.
Portfolio.com chose NB as “America’s Wealth Center” in 2010. Money magazine chose NB as the number one city to “Live in if You’re Rich and Single.” Empty out the investment accounts to make the move to Newport Beach. Renting is pricey and security deposits are high.
Decide first if you want a quiet area or a partying area. These two considerations seem to determine the environments around NB, at least according to locals. Although the median age of a NB local is 41 years, there are lots of college students that either live or come here to party.
Your new neighbors in NB will most likely be single – less than half of the residents are married. He or she is employed because, although the city did feel the pinch of the recession, Newport Beach employees fared quite well. The city’s unemployment rate is half that of the state of California. Not only is your new neighbor employed, she makes over $100k a year, and works in the science, tech, finance or real estate industries. You’ll be relatively safe in Newport Beach, with a violent crime rate that is one-third the national average and has decreased in the past couple of years.
Although it’s possible to enjoy life in Newport Beach if you’re at the high end of the 99 percent, if you’ve got the money to rent a sweet place on the beach, life in Newport Beach just doesn’t get much better.
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