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677 Apartments for rent in San Diego, CA

Read Guide >
Last updated August 21 at 1:52pm UTC
Broadstone Makers Quarter
1601 Broadway
San Diego, CA
Updated August 21 at 12:26pm UTC
Studio
$2,249
1 Bedroom
$2,423
2 Bedrooms
$3,550
City Guide
San Diego
Must-know Tips on the Rental Market in SD

Come prepared… The SD market isn’t cutthroat like the Bay Area or NYC, but it’s still what you would expect from a growing SoCal metropolis. That said, approach hunting like a job interview: do your homework on neighborhoods and complexes you like, bring the necessary documentation (proof of income, driver’s license, checkbook for a deposit, etc.), and—most importantly—be flexible. There may be features you won’t budge on (proximity to the beach, say), but keep those to a minimum and you’ll have an easier go of it.

Types of apartments. Apartment living in SD comes in three forms: your larger, clean and contemporary buildings (expect efficiency but not personality), your smallish, mom-n-pop complexes (think The Big Lebowski), and the classic California cottage (tiny and moldy, but perfect for the Kerouac in all of us). A subcategory might be the “resort-style” or “gated” complex, but these are mainly gobbled up by the retired vacation home demographic in SD.

Cottages ($$$$) are the most expensive and deal mainly in the quaintness department. The floor plans are almost exclusively 1BR/1BA, and you’ll have to elbow out the vacation rental crowd to secure a permanent spot in these babies, but it’s well worth it.

Important perks large complexes ($$$) boast are garage parking and a recreational pool that isn't filled with water from old dog bowls. They also offer sundry floor plans: studio, 1BR/1BA, 2BR/1BA, 2BR/2BA, and so on. Typically built in the 90s and 2000s, such behemoths are found nearest large shopping complexes and commercial strips—busy places, in other words. That thick concrete will keep the noise down to a minimum, but you should love the action if you choose to live here.

The motel-like mom-n-pop joints ($$) consist of mainly budget 1BR/1BA and 2BR/1BA options—but don’t overlook them. On the off chance the owners have actually renovated the place since the 80s, you can find a pretty rockin’ unit for half the price of the flashy alternative. Plus, you’re more likely to get not only a bed, but also a community (and sometimes, a commune…) out of these arrangements! If you're after an inexpensive apartment in San Diego, start here.

Lease logistics. Seasonal economic shifts in SD means lots of complexes offer month-to-month leasing options. This is fabulous news for you, dear renter! But there are heaps of other details you’ll need to be privy to. For instance, in most cases, the deposit required depends on your credit report (yes, credit reports are inevitable). An average Joe with good credit typically puts $500 down on an apartment in America’s Finest City; if you’re nervous about credit, don’t turn tail yet—you just may have to pay a higher deposit. Finally, most leases have utilities included (sans gas and electric) and accept pets (either with a flat pet deposit—say, $300—or monthly pet rent, such as $40/month).

Neighborhoods

Picking a neighborhood in SD is like participating in an NFL draft. Weigh your options: if you use that early-round selection, make sure it’s for something that can deliver. Alternatively, hold out for something still available in a later round—something less flashy, but nevertheless team-oriented and solid beneath the surface.

Downtown. This is your star wide receiver. He’s consistently a first-round pick. He’ll make some beautiful catches—but he’s fragile, high-maintenance, and pricey. We reckon you’ll be hard-pressed (and that doesn’t have to do with wine… or olives) to find a studio in the Gaslamp District for less than $2000/month.

Hillcrest. The market hits the national average in this area. Think of Hillcrest as the first-string center. He’s well built. He’s got the quarterback’s back if poop hits the fan. But no one notices him until the dog pile clears. If you can manage being more than fifteen blocks from the water, consider a 1BR for $850/month or a 2BR for $1250/month overlooking Balboa Park.

Point Loma. A running back is your most diverse player in football; quick to adapt to new circumstances, he can ensure success—but he takes a serious beating along the way. That’s Point Loma. From the yachts of Harbor Island to the strip of Midway, this place has extremities in spades. Dig diversity? Move here. 1BR/1BAs start at $1000/month, 2BR/1BAs at $1500/month. Oh, and you’d better board that Pomeranian.

Mission Bay and Beaches. Every team has its special element. The fireworks component, let’s call it. In football, that means the kicker. These guys send up that gorgeous arc to score the final meager—but crucial!— field goal. You get the analogy, right? Mission Bay and Pacific Beach bring the funky boardwalk culture to SD. It’s not necessarily an all-the-time kinda sector (well, unless you’re a street mime), but it would be sweet to say you live two blocks from Shamu. Studios can be found for under $1000/month, but you’re more likely to see 1BR/1BA condos ($1400/month) and 2 and 3BR beach houses ($1800/month and $2100/month, respectively).

Old Town. Aha! Finally. The quarterback. Where all (offensive) plays begin and end. Old Town claims SDSU, Qualcomm Stadium, major shopping complexes, and historic architecture. Downtown has glitz; Old Town has all-around charm. The lack of oceanfront real estate makes this central sector of town a bit less expensive: expect studios and 1BRs for under $1000/month and 2BR/1BAs for around $1500/month.

La Jolla. Yeah, yeah—we know we gots to say something about La Jolla, but what? Hmm, let’s see. There’s some beaches there? UCSD? What do you want, people? La Jolla is your second-string kicker, alright?! More of the same funky beach stuff. (But without Shamu; drat!) The market’s gutted here because everyone and their mom think LJ is synonymous with SD. The students help, though: one can find some decent 1BR condos around the university for under $1000/month, but head toward the water and you’ll easily double that.

Got your pick? Terrific. Now pick garage parking or street. Then upstairs or ground level. Then full bath or 1 1/2. Keep going and you’ll have your fantasy league in no time. Just remember to bring your sunscreen. Congratulations, Herr Captain!

August 2018 San Diego Rent Report

Welcome to the August 2018 San Diego Rent Report. San Diego rents increased over the past month. In this report, we'll evaluate trends in the San Diego rental market, including comparisons to cities throughout the metro, state, and nation.

View full San Diego Rent Report

Rent Report
San Diego

August 2018 San Diego Rent Report

Welcome to the August 2018 San Diego Rent Report. San Diego rents increased over the past month. In this report, we'll evaluate trends in the San Diego rental market, including comparisons to cities throughout the metro, state, and nation.

San Diego rents increase sharply over the past month

San Diego rents have increased 0.6% over the past month, and have increased slightly by 1.0% in comparison to the same time last year. Currently, median rents in San Diego stand at $1,560 for a one-bedroom apartment and $2,030 for a two-bedroom. This is the third straight month that the city has seen rent increases after a decline in April. San Diego's year-over-year rent growth lags the state average of 1.8%, as well as the national average of 1.2%.

Rents rising across the San Diego Metro

Throughout the past year, rent increases have been occurring not just in the city of San Diego, but across the entire metro. Of the largest 10 cities that we have data for in the San Diego metro, all of them have seen prices rise. Here's a look at how rents compare across some of the largest cities in the metro.

  • Encinitas has seen the fastest rent growth in the metro, with a year-over-year increase of 4.2%. The median two-bedroom there costs $2,430, while one-bedrooms go for $1,870.
  • Carlsbad has the most expensive rents of the largest cities in the San Diego metro, with a two-bedroom median of $2,450; rents decreased 0.6% over the past month but were up 2.3% over the past year.
  • National City has the least expensive rents in the San Diego metro, with a two-bedroom median of $1,530; rents grew 0.1% over the past month and 4.2% over the past year.

Similar cities nationwide show more affordable rents compared to San Diego

As rents have increased marginally in San Diego, a few similar cities nationwide have seen rents grow more quickly. Compared to most other large cities across the country, San Diego is less affordable for renters.

  • Rents increased moderately in other cities across the state, with California as a whole logging rent growth of 1.8% over the past year. For example, rents have grown by 2.2% in San Jose, 1.3% in Los Angeles, and 1.1% in San Francisco.
  • San Diego's median two-bedroom rent of $2,030 is above the national average of $1,180. Nationwide, rents have grown by 1.2% over the past year compared to the 1.0% increase in San Diego.
  • While San Diego's rents rose marginally over the past year, the city of Seattle saw a decrease of 2.4%.
  • Renters will generally find more expensive prices in San Diego than most similar cities. For example, Phoenix has a median 2BR rent of $1,050, where San Diego is nearly twice that price.

For more information check out our national report. You can also access our full data for cities and counties across the U.S. at this link.
City Median 1BR price Median 2BR price M/M price change Y/Y price change
San Diego $1,560 $2,030 0.6% 1.0%
Chula Vista $1,650 $2,140 -0.1% 2.0%
Oceanside $1,760 $2,290 -0.4% 0.7%
Escondido $1,430 $1,850 -0.8% 2.2%
Carlsbad $1,890 $2,450 -0.6% 2.3%
El Cajon $1,270 $1,650 1.5% 0.8%
Vista $1,420 $1,850 0.2% 3.0%
San Marcos $1,540 $2,000 -0.1% 2.8%
Encinitas $1,870 $2,430 -2.4% 4.2%
National City $1,180 $1,530 0.1% 4.2%
See more

Methodology - Recent Updates:

Data from private listing sites, including our own, tends to skew toward luxury apartments, which introduces sample bias when estimates are calculated directly from these listings. To address these limitations, we’ve recently made major updates to our methodology, which we believe have greatly improved the accuracy and reliability of our estimates.

Read more about our new methodology below, or see a more detailed post here.

Methodology:

Apartment List is committed to making our rent estimates the best and most accurate available. To do this, we start with reliable median rent statistics from the Census Bureau, then extrapolate them forward to the current month using a growth rate calculated from our listing data. In doing so, we use a same-unit analysis similar to Case-Shiller’s approach, comparing only units that are available across both time periods to provide an accurate picture of rent growth in cities across the country.

Our approach corrects for the sample bias inherent in other private sources, producing results that are much closer to statistics published by the Census Bureau and HUD. Our methodology also allows us to construct a picture of rent growth over an extended period of time, with estimates that are updated each month.

Read more about our methodology here.

About Rent Reports:

Apartment List publishes monthly reports on rental trends for hundreds of cities across the U.S. We intend these reports to be a source of reliable information that help renters and policymakers make sound decisions, and we invest significant time and effort in gathering and analyzing rent data. Our work is covered regularly by journalists across the country.

We are continuously working to improve our methodology and data, with the goal of providing renters with the information that they need to make the best decisions.

Renter Confidence Survey

Apartment List has released San Diego’s results from the third annual Apartment List Renter Satisfaction Survey. This survey, which drew on responses from over 45,000 renters, provides insight on what states and cities must do to meet the needs of 111 million American renters nationwide.

"San Diego renters expressed general satisfaction with the city overall," according to Apartment List. "With expensive rents in coastal cities, it comes as no surprise that cost of living is a source of...

View full San Diego Renter Confidence Survey
San Diego Renter Confidence Survey
National study of renter’s satisfaction with their cities and states
Here's how San Diego ranks on:
A- Overall satisfaction
A- Safety and crime rate
C+ Jobs and career opportunities
A- Recreational activities
D Affordability
B+ Quality of schools
B+ Social Life
A+ Weather
B- Commute time
C State and local taxes
C+ Public transit
B- Pet-friendliness
Best Worst
Full data available when viewing on a non-mobile device.
Overview of Findings

Apartment List has released San Diego’s results from the third annual Apartment List Renter Satisfaction Survey. This survey, which drew on responses from over 45,000 renters, provides insight on what states and cities must do to meet the needs of 111 million American renters nationwide.

"San Diego renters expressed general satisfaction with the city overall," according to Apartment List. "With expensive rents in coastal cities, it comes as no surprise that cost of living is a source of dissatisfaction in San Diego."

Key findings in San Diego include the following:

For bullet formatting use: * (with a space on each side)

  • San Diego renters gave their city an A- overall.
  • The highest-rated categories for San Diego were weather (A+), safety and low crime rate and recreational opportunities (which both received an A-).
  • The areas of concern to San Diego renters are cost of living (D), public transit and jobs and career opportunities (which both received a C+).
  • Millennial renters are very satisfied (A-), as are renters who are parents (A).
  • San Diego did relatively well compared to other cities in California, including San Francisco (B+), Los Angeles (C+), and San Jose (C ).
  • San Diego earned similar scores to other cities like Boston, MA (A), Washington, DC (A-) and Austin, TX (A-).
  • The top rated cities nationwide for renter satisfaction include Scottsdale, AZ, Irvine, CA, Boulder, CO and Ann Arbor, MI. The lowest rated cities include Tallahassee, FL, Stockton, CA, Dayton, OH, Detroit, MI and Newark, NJ.

Renters say:

  • "Great bars, restaurants and other businesses to patronize. Love the weather and the proximity to the ocean. Amazing beaches. Also people are very relaxed and friendly here." – Stacy H.
  • "Love that it’s so close to the beach. Hate that it’s so expensive." – Anon.
  • "I love how close it is to everything. The weather is always perfect, sunny and 75. There’s nothing I hate about San Diego!" – Callie B.
  • "I love the weather, nightlife, and opportunities to meet people. Don’t like that the homelessness problem seems to be getting worse." – Bill K.

For more information on the survey methodology and findings or to speak to one of our researchers, please contact our team at rentonomics@apartmentlist.com.