PubliCola has some interesting statistics on the Seattle rentals market, pulled from the April 1 city council planning committee meeting, where Mike Scott of the rental-market analysis firm Dupre+Scott gave his take on the situation. In summary:
- Supply and demand has affected rent fluctuation more than increased development has. According to Dupre+Scott, low housing supply has led to increased rents, and an excess of available apartments pushes rent down, in line with the classic supply and demand model.
- While average rent in the Seattle market as a whole has gone up in recent years, that is mostly due to the inclusion of newer apartment buildings that rent units at rates from $1,300 to $2,000 per month. Rents at older buildings (built before 2009 with rents between $800 and $1,300 per month) have actually risen at a slower rate than the cost of maintaining them has. The age of the building you choose to live in will often have a dramatic influence on what your rent will be: For apartments built in 1997 or earlier, the average rent is $1,100 per month, whereas rents in buildings newer than that average $1,700 per month.
- Think you’ll get more space for your money with those higher rents? Average square footage has actually decreased from 750 square feet in the mid-90s to 650 square feet today.
- More rental-housing development is happening in the city of Seattle than in the suburbs, and the trend seems to be toward smaller apartments in denser areas where public transportation is readily available and residents can walk to restaurants, coffee shops and grocery stores. In certain Seattle neighborhoods the number of apartments available for rent is growing by huge percentages. In Ballard, for example, the number of rental units available is expected to grow by 250 percent between 2009 and 2018, and downtown could see a 200 percent increase in the same time span.
Interested in renting in Seattle? Contact your local real estate agent for more information!