Did quakes impact rental market?

Rebecca Neipp

News Review Staff Writer

Did quakes impact rental market?Earthquakes left an estimated 78 dwellings in the Indian Wells Valley in unliveable condition. Those homes, red-tagged by city and visiting inspectors, have presumably left that same number of households without a place to live.

But where did they go?

According to four of the five property management firms in the area, the rental market in Ridgecrest and surrounding areas was already tight — partly because of new hires at China Lake. A few of the properties have been tied to people looking for places to live after the earthquakes compromised their homes.

“I rented out my last unit to a displaced family,” said Mary Furnish of Elite Property Management. “But I was already running out of places to show even before the earthquake.”

Her experience is reflective of the other reports around the community.

Amary Youso, who manages some 500 rental properties through Coldwell Banker Best Realty, said that she has not seen any particular impact on the market following the earthquakes.

“We have been very busy renting our properties out — they are moving quickly,” she said.

“One or two of those appear to be those displaced from the earthquake, but most of them are people coming here to work on the base.”

Though the number changes from day to day, an estimated 20 properties were available at press time.

However, a Coldwell Banker official noted that the process for rental includes background and credit checks, applications and approvals from the owners.

“The demand on rentals is very high, and I’m sure the earthquakes made that even higher,” said Norman Alexander of Roadrunner Homes.

“As far as an impact from the displaced, that’s hard to track. To be honest, I had a waiting list for people looking for places to rent before the earthquakes hit.”

Alexander, who is also president of the Ridgecrest Area Association of Realtors, said the supply-and-demand problem across California also increases the competition for the hundreds of communities in the state seeking additional housing.

“It’s certainly true that we don’t have enough rentals on the market. We need more quality apartments built here — that’s what it boils down to.

“Now, how do we get that?”

Alexander said that demand is something that can be hard to demonstrate to investors.

However, he said that an announcement about the number of jobs available at China Lake — potentially in the hundreds — could make our location more attractive to outside investors.

“That’s an issue RAAR has been hard at work on. But I think it’s important that the media understands the challenges we are up against so you can help communicate that to our community.”

Watch for a follow-up on the housing issue in next week’s edition.

Pictured: Most of the rental properties advertised at Coldwell Banker are already rented — Photo by Laura Austin

Story First Published: 2019-07-26