Apartment hunting can be challenging, especially if you are looking for a vacancy in California.

A new study from RentCafe, an apartment search website, outlined how hard the apartment search was for prospective movers in its 2022 Year-End Report for the Golden State.

The study found that Orange County, the city of San Diego and the Central Coast were the most popular places prospective renters looked for housing.

Researchers found that the Central Valley, Sacramento and San Francisco Peninsula–North Bay were popular moving locations during the beginning of the year but dwindled in popularity as the year progressed.

To determine which rental markets were the most popular in California, researchers compared the rental markets in California using five relevant metrics from Yardi Systems apartment data, which included:

  • the number of days rentals stayed vacant
  • the percentage of apartments occupied by renters
  • how many prospective renters competed for an apartment
  • the percentage of renters who renewed their leases
  • the share of new apartments completed

Yardi Systems is a software company that makes rental applications for various properties for real estate companies.

These factors were reassessed three times during the year: from January to April, peak rental season from May to August, and the entire year of 2022.

Competitive rental markets in California included:

  • Orange County
  • San Diego
  • Inland Empire
  • Eastern Los Angeles County
  • Central Valley
  • North Los Angeles/Ventura County
  • Silicon Valley
  • Sacramento
  • Western Los Angeles County
  • East Bay

The research team found that Orange County, San Diego and the Central Coast saw as many as 25 applicants for one vacancy in the respective areas. Apartment vacancies didn’t last long in either location.

 The study also showed that most renters in the area decided to renew their leases.

During the rental peak season, the study revealed that the San Francisco Peninsula/North Bay area was the easiest place to get an apartment.

Overall, researchers found that California’s booming economy lured potential renters to the state, even though many reports have indicated that the state is expensive.  

However, the pace of building new apartment complexes isn’t keeping up with the housing demand, which led to a competitive rental market in the state.