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Renters Face Plunging Prices, Soaring Apartment Vacancies

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) - While the pandemic has led to record unemployment, it has also brought relief to some renters - but not all.

Los Angeles has some of the most expensive rents in the country, with the average studio going for more than $2,000 a month.

According to a new rent report by, rents in L.A. have dropped during the pandemic 18%. In areas a little farther out, like Long Beach, rents have dipped more than 30% since this time last year.

"Prices are lower because there is not as much demand," said Brian Carberry, senior managing editor. "There is not as many people moving, and property owners are trying to entice people, so they are lowering prices."

Rene says many of her friends have given up their apartments.

"A lot of my friends have left the state, left the city. I have a lot of musician friends who have moved back home," she said.

And in Northridge near CSUN, Rene says she has seen some rental steals.

"Some places have twenty available apartments in one building," she added.

Recent college grad Bri Ayzenberg and her boyfriend found a great deal on a one-bedroom in Encino for $1,750. The landlord also offered them free air conditioning and one month's free rent.

"We were super excited, we needed this place," she said. "We ended up signing a lease a month before move-in because we were so excited."

Tenants' rights activist Larry Gross says prices have dropped, but only for a select price point - leaving out one large group of renters.

And he warns prices could soar once the pandemic ends.

"Any unit that was built over the last 15 years have no protections whatsoever either under city's rent control laws or the state's no gauging laws, and those landlords can raise the rent as much as they want," said Gross.

San Jose and San Francisco also had a significant price drop. Experts say record low mortgage rates may also be a factor, with renters deciding now is the time to buy and leaving landlords with too much inventory.

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