Rental Housing In California
California Rental Overview
The population of California, according to the 2010 Census, is 37,253,956. The total number of households in the state is 12,577,498. The average household size for California is 2.63. The total number of renter households in the state is 5,542,127 which means that 44.06% of households are renter households. Compared to all other U.S. States, California is ranked 3rd in percentage of renters. District Of Columbia is ranked first with 57.99% and West Virginia ranks last with only 26.55%.
According to the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey, the median rent paid among all renter households and housing types and sizes in California is $1,216 per month. Ranked against all other states in the country, California ranks 3rd for the highest median rent. Hawaii ranks first at $1,387 and West Virginia ranks last at $618. Though rents are set more locally, statewide median rents provide a basic outlook of housing costs for each state.
The number of vacant rental units in California is 276,042 representing a vacancy rate of 5.2%. Among all U.S. states, California ranks 5th for the lowest vacancy rates. New York ranks first with a vacancy rate of 4.5% and South Carolina ranks last with a vacancy rate of 12.9%. As lower vacancy rates are an indication of a healthier rental housing portfolio, California’s rental housing portfolio is performing well above the National average.
Note: The total does not necessarily equal the sum of each program as some properties may participate in multiple funding programs.
This program is not project based, instead Housing Authorities provide vouchers to individual renters. In the state of California there are 113 independent Housing Authorities that may issue these vouchers.
The average number of units per property for affordable rentals in California is 78.30. The largest market for federally assisted housing in the state is Los Angeles at 42,335 units and the smallest is Pinedale at 2 unit(s). 1,162 apartment properties provide housing for seniors containing 87,167 units. Of the 372,136 units, 31,600 units include some form of rental assistance (like Section 8) to make rent more affordable for very low income families.
Affordable Housing by Counties in California ranked by federally assisted units
There are 57 counties or county equivalents in California. The county or county equivalent with the largest population is Los Angeles County at 9,818,605 and the smallest is Sierra County at 3,240. The county or county equivalent with the largest percentage of renter households is San Francisco County at 64.24% and The county or county equivalent with lowest portion of renters is Calaveras County at 23.12%.
The density of Federal housing assistance at the county level in California ranges from a low of 4.1 units per 1,000 renter households in Inyo County to a high of 353.8 units per 1,000 renter households in Plumas County. The average Federal housing assistance density for all counties in California is 136.5 units per 1,000 renter households.
The table below summarizes the Federally assisted housing located in each county in California. All major affordable housing programs are provided on a county by county basis. Click on the name of the county to see a more in depth summary of affordable housing in that county.
Housing Authorities in California ranked by assisted units and vouchers
Housing authorities are governmental (or quasi-governmental) entities that manage various Federal housing assistance programs on behalf of the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). These programs include Public Housing, Section 8 Housing Choice Vouchers and other programs.
There are 113 housing authorities in California. These housing authorities own and operate an aggregate of public housing units and administer Section 8 rental vouchers. Of the 113 housing authorities, 44.2% have both a public housing and Section 8 program.
The largest housing authority in California by total housing assistance units managed is Housing Authority of the City of Los Angeles with 54,758 public housing units under management (6,897 public housing units and 47,861 Section 8 vouchers).
The table below provides a list of housing authorities in California and includes each housing authorities public housing and Section 8 voucher count. Click on the housing authority name to get more details on the housing authority.
Public Housing Units
Section 8 Vouchers
Federally Assisted Affordable Rental Housing
According to our affordable housing data, California has a total of 4,754 rental properties that receive at least one form of Federal housing assistance and are at least partially reserved for low income persons. These properties contain an estimated 372,136 rental housing units. (Note: Some of the Federal source data we use does not include total unit count for a property — most notably the LIHTC database — so the number of units listed here may be less than the actual.)
The Low Income Housing Tax Credit Program is the largest assistance program by unit count. The program assists 227,159 in California.
Average Household Size
Gross Rent Paid By All Renters
Vacant Units For Rent
Federally Assisted Units
Federally Assisted Projects
Tax Credit Projects/Units
Project Based Section 8 Projects/Units
Section 515 Projects/Units
Section 202 Projects/Units
Section 811 Projects/Units
RD Rental Assisted Projects/Units
Units with Project Based Rent Subsidy
Average Units Per Property
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