Seattle Times recently told its readers that if they’re hoping Seattle-area rents will get cheap, they better not hold their breath. While the rental market has cooled in recent months, as vacancies and new projects have brought landlords to offer big incentives for tenants, “that doesn’t mean Seattle is suddenly a utopia for apartment hunters. In fact, it is among the priciest cities in the U.S. for renters—having grown 155 percent in twenty years—and steadying prices have come “only after seven straight years of large rent hikes that have made Seattle unaffordable to anyone not making decent money.”
In a look at the 50 largest metro cities in the United States, Seattle ranks tenth among the most expensive places to live as a renter:
As The Times outlines, “Seattle — both the city and the suburbs in the broader metro area — stands out on the national stage for how fast rents have grown; only a few places — like Oakland and Sacramento — have seen bigger rent hikes this decade. Rents have soared 69 percent across Greater Seattle since 2010, more than double the national average of 32 percent.”
It was as recently as 2010 that Seattle was more in line with national rental rates, but today the region averages around $300 more per month for rent, and as much as $500 in pricier Seattle and Bellevue markets.
In theory, one would expect that more and more apartment buildings with not enough residents to fill them will lead to decreases, however even the dot-com bubble and the recession of 2008 to 2012 only garnered 5% rent drops, both of which have clearly made up lost time in the years since.