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The Lockean Project

Monterey rent control

“Monterey rent control,” Monterey Herald – June 13, 2023

In the debate about the Monterey rent control/registry the assumption is that Monterey is an expensive place.  Compared to inland California it is, but close to the coast average rents are lowest here.  For example, compared to San Diego ($2,917), Newport Beach ($3,434), Long Beach ($2,571), Santa Barbara ($2,660), and Santa Cruz ($3,289) – Monterey comes in cheapest at $2,544.  Source:

Compared to prominent rent-controlled cities where advocates would predict low rents, non-controlled Monterey also comes in cheaper.  For example, San Francisco comes in at $3,313, Berkeley at $3,358, and Santa Monica at a whopping $4,017.  Santa Monica is particularly noteworthy, having had rent control since 1979.  They still fight like cats and dogs over rent control in Santa Monica but have managed only to post one of the highest rents in California.

One interesting comparison is between Monterey and East Palo Alto, the latter being a poor city within wealthy Silicon Valley.  Even with rent control, rents are higher in East Palo Alto at $2,779.

There is more than a little fuzzy math that comes with rent control.  It is an expensive, sprawling, and invasive bureaucracy.  In Monterey, it is likely to reduce affordability, not increase it.

— Thomas F. Lee, Monterey

Editor note: Source to rental price study for California: