Renter Insights and Trends for San Diego, CA - the “Happiest Place to Live”

Find out what local renters are seeking in their next apartment and how their lifestyles and demographics may impact your marketing approach. search on ipad

As marketers, it’s critical to strategize with our audience in mind. We reference national trends and consumer insights to plan our advertising and marketing budgets and campaigns but as you know, in real estate, it’s all about location, location, location. To that end, leveraging a local mindset and understanding the lifestyles and characteristics of local San Diego renters is key to resident retention and acquisition.

To determine how San Diego’s renters are influencing the multifamily real estate market, we’ve analyzed's data and created the Local Market Renter Insights Report for San Diego, CA. Find out who they are and how they’re searching for San Diego apartments. Download and print this report, share with your leasing staff, and take note of these trends to ensure you’re positioning your property to meet their demands.

Lay of the Land

About 1.4 million residents call the city of San Diego, CA their home and it’s no surprise that Wallet Hub named San Diego as one of the “Happiest Places to Live” (2017). San Diego natives call it their “happy place” because of its mild weather, diverse geography with coastal beaches and mountainous regions that are perfect for high adventure and leisure, and tourism, one of its a large economic drivers.

Characteristics of San Diego Renters

Getting to know San Diego renters will help you effectively allocate your advertising dollars and target them on the appropriate channels with the most relevant messaging. These insights reveal characteristics of the typical renter looking for apartments in San Diego on

  • 34% between 25 and 34 years old

  • 54% are female

  • 44% are married

  • 32% have children

  • 61% have some college or higher

  • 56% have an average household income under $75,000

Price and Size

Finding an apartment within budget and large enough to accommodate its occupants are often the top search criteria. In San Diego, 61% of renters are looking at units over $1,300 per month, while 23% are hoping to stay within the $1,000-1,299 range.

In terms of size and type, 66% are hoping to find a one or two-bedroom unit and 47% require two or three bathrooms. When it comes to type of home, 59% desire an apartment over the 44% who prefer condos, homes, or townhomes.

Top 5 Searched Apartment Amenities

Just like shopping for a new cars would include comparing all the bells and whistles like navigation and entertainment systems, apartment communities across the nation are offering high-end amenities like granite countertops and oversized bathtubs to create more attractive living opportunities.

But our analysis of the entire San Diego market portrays a more realistic snapshot, where renters need the basics to wash clothes and dishes, live in comfortable temperatures, a warm home for their dog, and a place to park.

The top five most sought-after apartment amenities in the San Diego metro region are:

  1. In-Unit Washer/Dryer

  2. Air Conditioning

  3. Dog-friendly

  4. Parking

  5. Dishwasher

San Diego Pet Owners

Not only is San Diego one of the happiest places to live but it’s also #4 on the Most Pet-friendly Cities list. San Diego apartment communities take that honor very seriously as 71% of those listed on are pet-friendly. And of renters looking for pet-friendly apartments, 77% of renters are searching for dog-friendly apartments and 23% for cat-friendly units on

Top 5 Most Searched Neighborhoods in San Diego

Again, in talking about location, oftentimes the primary criterion is to find a place in a trendy neighborhood due to the proximity to schools, offices, and entertainment.

According to the volume of searches on, these are the most sought-after San Diego neighborhoods for apartment rentals:

  1. Tierrasanta

  2. Allied Gardens

  3. Serra Mesa

  4. Del Cerro

  5. Kensington


Top 5 Renter Keyword Searches

Along with using specific filters for amenities described above, we found that our visitors like to perform keyword searches to narrow down their apartment selection. Based on our analysis, renters are searching for communities with a garage to protect their car from the elements, balconies, patios and yards to enjoy the mild weather, while others consider hardwood floors and a fireplace as top amenities.

The top renter keyword searches for apartments in the San Diego area are as follows:

  1. Garage

  2. Balcony/Patio

  3. Hardwood floors

  4. Yard

  5. Fireplace

Real estate is inherently local. A city’s unique character, economy, and climate are some of the factors that contribute to how the apartment rental market changes. can keep you in the loop about the driving rental trends in your metro area, and for an in-depth, real-time local market analysis, take a look at CoStar Market Analytics for professional reports that break down the details for properties in your neighborhood, ZIP code, city, and region.

Source: Google Analytics, Q2 2018


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