Last year, asking rents for large-complex apartments in Orange County jumped nearly 5 percent, according to a report this week from RealFacts, an apartment tracking service.

Average asking rent by apartment size

Apt. type

Q4 2014 1 yr ch
Studio $1,324 5.0%
1 Bed, 1 bath $1,545 4.9%
2 Bed, 1 bath $1,628 5.4%
2 Bed, 2 Bath $2,029 4.6%
2 Bed Townhome $2,197 4.8%
3 Bed, 2 bath $2,347 1.7%
3 Bed Townhome $2,736 4.1%
All Size Average $1,781 4.8%
Source: RealFacts

Average asking rent by city

City Avg. asking rent by month 1 yr ch
Santa Ana $1,687 9.0%
Fountain Valley $1,634 8.8%
La Habra $1,455 8.7%
Huntington Beach $1,690 7.4%
Mission Viejo $1,733 7.2%
Lake Forest $1,749 7.0%
Laguna Niguel $1,777 6.7%
Placentia $1,688 7.0%
Costa Mesa $1,840 6.3%
Aliso Viejo $1,894 6.0%
Brea $1,568 7.0%
Garden Grove $1,479 5.6%
Westminster $1,451 5.5%
Newport Beach $2,271 3.4%
Anaheim $1,468 5.2%
Cypress $1,602 4.6%
Irvine $2,085 3.4%
Orange $1,736 4.1%
Rancho Santa Margarita $1,655 3.8%
Stanton $1,356 4.5%
Tustin $1,695 3.5%
Fullerton $1,555 3.3%
Buena Park $1,390 2.2%
Source: RealFacts

Average effective rent by metro area
Metro area Avg. effective rent by month
New York $3,223
San Francisco $2,237
Boston $1,898
Fairfield County $1,894
San Jose $1,879
Long Island $1,655
Orange County $1,648
Source: Reis

Lupita Sanchez is stuck in the one-bedroom apartment she shares with her husband, even though the plumbing is old, the place has cockroaches and it’s poorly maintained.

But the couple pays $1,200 a month for their Santa Ana unit, and that’s about as cheap as rent gets.

“You go somewhere else, they charge $200 more,” said Sanchez, 50.

Relief is not on the way.

Last year, asking rents for large-complex apartments in Orange County jumped 4.8 percent, according to a report from RealFacts, an apartment tracking service. And with vacancy rates low (5.2 percent), rents are likely to go nowhere but up.

Orange County apartment landlords were asking an average of $1,781 a month for vacant units in large apartment complexes in the fourth quarter, up $81 from a year ago to an all-time high, according to RealFacts.

“Asking” rent is the amount landlords were seeking for vacant units last quarter, not the amount existing tenants were paying.

The actual, or effective, rent averaged $1,648 a month, up $50 or 3.1 percent, according to a separate report last week by real estate data firm Reis. “Effective” rent is the amount landlords collected after subtracting concessions such as move-in discounts.

Those numbers made Orange County the nation’s seventh priciest rental market, ranking behind New York, San Francisco, Boston, Fairfield County, Conn., San Jose and Long Island. Nationally, the average rent is $1,124 a month, Reis reported.

Still, it’s cheaper to rent than it is to buy in Orange County. The median monthly mortgage for a home sold in December was $2,807, according to CoreLogic DataQuick, a figure that doesn’t include taxes or fees.

… RealFacts records show rents have jumped in Orange County for four years. The hikes followed the recession, which pushed many people out of purchased homes and boosted the ranks of renter households.

The biggest increase last quarter was for three-bedroom townhomes, which were up $108 per month, to $2,736 a month, RealFacts figures show. That’s a gain of 4.1 percent from a year earlier.

The biggest increase on a percentage basis was for two-bedroom, one-bath apartments, which jumped 5.4 percent to $1,628 a month.

Newport Beach ($2,271 for apartments of all types) and Irvine ($2,085) continue to have Orange County’s highest asking rents of the 23 cities tracked in the RealFacts’ report.

Stanton (average rent of $1,356) continues to be Orange County’s most affordable city.

Tustin resident Hector Flores, 44, and his family pay $1,600 a month, just under his city’s average of $1,695 a month. Monthly rent for their two-bedroom unit has gone up about $100 in each of the past four years.

To make that up, the family has cut back on vacations and eating out. Still, Flores said it’s worth it to live in Orange County.

“We live in a safe place.” OC Register