ORANGE COUNTY, Calif. — Finding a good, affordable place to rent has always been difficult, but nowhere in California is it more challenging than Orange County, according to a new analysis from RentCafe. For every vacant apartment in the OC, 11 people apply, according to the nationwide apartment search website’s new Rental Competitivity Report. More than half of the apartment dwellers in the OC renew their leases; 96% of apartments are occupied.

San Diego is the second most competitive rental market in the state, followed by Eastern Los Angeles County, which ranks third. 

For every vacant apartment in Eastern LA, there are 16 prospective renters. Forty-two percent of renters renew their leases; 97% of apartments are occupied. Demand in Eastern LA increased largely because apartment inventory grew by only 0.1% in 2022.

North LA/Ventura County ranks fifth most competitive. Western LA County is eighth.

For its analysis, RentCafe looked at 21 million apartments in 134 markets nationally at the start of 2023, ranking them based on occupancy rates, vacant days, prospective renters per vacant unit, renewal lease rate and the share of new apartments.   

Nationally, the most competitive rental markets are on the East Coast. North Jersey in New Jersey ranks first, followed by Miami-Dade County, Fla., and Harrisburg, Penn. Nationally, Orange County ranks 11th, and Eastern LA County is 20th.

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated the number of markets analyzed. The error has been corrected. (March 23, 2023)