After a few years of staggering rent increases, single-family home rental prices in Seattle are leveling off, which Seattle Times predicts could bring more and more landlords to decide to list their homes for sale and benefit potential homebuyers (and renters). As the article outlines, approximately 1 in 6 single-family homes in the greater Seattle region is currently rented, and the last couple of years have seen dramatic decreases in what was once a burgeoning market for landlords. While “rents in local single-family homes rose a paltry 0.4 percent in February from a year ago,” landlords saw 4% increases last year, and “just two years ago, rents were soaring as much as 9 percent annually.”
Chris Benis, who owns a number of properties on the Eastside, says that a couple years ago he wouldn’t lose out on even one day’s rent when he changed tenants, “but in the last couple months, two of his houses became vacant and drew just one tenant application each, and it took about a month to rent out each house.”
When compared to the other Top 20 Metro Cities in the U.S., Seattle showed the second slowest growth, behind only Honolulu, where rents dipped slightly. Though “of course, that doesn’t mean you can suddenly rent a house on the cheap. Across the entire metro area – spanning from Tacoma to Everett – the average house now rents for $2,730 a month, according to CoreLogic.” Compare that to other metro cities:
Experts say that a decrease in rental growth can be attributed to the influx of luxury apartment rental options cropping up throughout the city, as tenants elect to rent a large apartment rather than a single-family home. And as the article describes, “one wild card to watch out for is whether landlords cash out and sell their houses now to take advantage of the for-sale market, which continues to be hot as ever,” amidst lessening returns for rentals.
Though the difference may seem slight, the Times says that right now, there are about 145,000 rental homes in Seattle right now, and with only about 4,300 homes for sale, “even if a fraction of those rentals went up for sale now, it could make a difference.”