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Rental demand high in Auburn

‘Deluge’ of applicants when most popular price range offered
By: Gus Thomson, Reporter/Columnist
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The demand is strong moving into 2018 for Auburn-area rental properties in a community that ticks off many of the boxes for people looking for a small-town atmosphere, lively arts scene and access to the outdoors.
Property managers in the Auburn area are seeing an upswing in demand, while the number of rentals coming on the market isn’t keeping up.
Adding to the demand-side tilt, Sacramento region statistics are indicating a migration to the area is taking place from higher priced Los Angeles and Bay Area population centers.
Ed Koons, Auburn’s courthouse Property Management co-owner, said demand has been so strong, he’s had prospective tenants on Auburn properties put in offers to pay more than the asking price.
“But we don’t want to encourage that,” Koons said. “We want to set rent at a fair price so they stay awhile.”
While Auburn’s rental prices are not tracked, statistics for the Sacramento region are mirroring the increase in local demand.
A December report by nationwide rental trendwatcher ApartmentList.com on Sacramento rents shows a year-over-year rise of 9.3 percent in monthly rents for two-bedroom apartments. Even then, Sacramento’s average of $1,190 is one of the lowest in the state — only Fresno and Bakersfield are lower.
San Francisco — at an average of $3,010 a month — has the highest rents on a two-bedroom, followed by San Jose ($2,530), Oakland ($2,140), Anaheim ($2,070), San Diego ($1,990), Long Beach ($1,740) and Los Angeles ($1,720).
 
Bay Area interest
Debi Ronzani, of Auburn’s Huber Property Management, said the imbalance in rents has meant an increase in the number of people from the Bay Area looking toward Auburn for a new rental home.
“I’ve observed the high Bay Area costs compared with Auburn in my own family,” Ronzani said. “My son in the Bay Area pays $2,500 a month for a three-bedroom condo. In Auburn, we have a three-bedroom house renting for $1,850.”
Ronzani said that rental properties will continue to come on the market. 
“But they go pretty quick,” she said.
And she expects that trend to continue into 2018, now that the seasonal slowdown around Christmas is over.
“I think it’s going to stay pretty strong, from the feedback I’m getting from prospective renters, especially in the Auburn area” Ronzani said.
Koons said one way to gauge the rental market is to plug in an online Craigslist search in Auburn and vicinity for rentals in the $900 range and nothing will pop up.
“If you have a reasonably priced rental in the $1,000 to $1,200 a month range, you may get as many as 50 inquiries,” he said. “It’s basically a deluge.”
But of those inquiries, three or four may actually qualify, based on requirements like a credit score of 700 and income equaling at least three times the monthly rent.
“A limited number of applicants can meet those qualifications,” Koons said.
 
Landlord’s market
Auburn is currently a landlord’s market with demand exceeding supply. But more than four in 10 households are renters, according to recent figures.
A 2014 market analysis of housing affordability in the Auburn area by Placer County using primarily census data showed 43.03 percent of households in the city of Auburn are renting. 
North Auburn’s percentage of households renting was slightly lower, at 43.03 percent. 
By comparison, a Nielsen survey from 2014 that looks at the broader-ranging unincorporated areas of Placer County outside cities found 28.8 percent of households were renters.
Once the lease is signed, Auburn-area renters can tap into some of the local amenities.
 “What you don’t see here is a cookie-cutter subdivision, with box stores on every corner, except off of Highway 49,” Koons said. “You don’t have to run a gantlet of traffic lights. We have varied topography, lots of access to outdoor activities, parks and a cultural life.”
Koons name-checked the Auburn Symphony, Placer Pops and Colla Voce as three grassroots music options illustrative of a strong arts scene.
His advice for prospective Auburn renters?
“If you want to rent property in the Auburn area, you’re going to be competing with a lot of others for a limited supply,” Koons said.
People should find out their credit score and do what they have to do in order to reach 700. 
“And be prepared to verify your employment or other sources of income,” Koons said. “And it never hurts to be cheerful and polite when you first call in.”