July Update: King County Rental Market

Featured rental: 1375 32nd Ave. S

Featured rental: 1375 32nd Ave. S

King County rental activity was up in July from June with 308 leased properties, according to stats from the Northwest Multiple Listing Service.  This number is down from the same time last year with 332 leased properties in King County.  Currently, there are 342 available King County rentals on the NWMLS, with 81 in neighborhoods within five miles of the downtown Seattle core.  The current highest asking price is $9,500/mo, both for a five-bedroom single-family home in Capitol Hill, and for a two-bedroom condo at the Four Seasons Private Residences in Downtown Seattle.  For more information about Seattle rentals, contact your local real estate agent today!

King County Rental Market: June Recap

Featured rental: 1375 32nd Ave. S

     Featured rental: 1375 32nd Ave. S

King County rental activity was up in June from May with 299 leased properties, according to stats from the Northwest Multiple Listing Service.  This number is down from the same time last year, when there were 324 leased properties in King County.  Currently, there are 283 available King County rentals on the NWMLS, with 74 of those in neighborhoods within five miles of the downtown Seattle core.  The current highest asking price is $10,000 per month for a 2 -bedroom, 2.5-bath condo in the Four Seasons Private Residences in downtown Seattle.  If you are interested in renting in the Seattle area, contact us today!

Rental Market: Vacancy Down, Rent Prices Up

Demand for rental properties in King and Snohomish counties does not seem to be waning, despite average rents having risen 10 percent over the year. Apartment vacancy rates are at their lowest point in at least 10 years, at 4.05 percent, according to Apartment Insights Washington, though in some neighborhoods the rate is much higher. Ballard has the highest vacancy rate in the area at 17.3 percent (though this is down from a vacancy rate of 45 percent for the first quarter of 2015), and as of June 4 there were 600 apartment units under construction in the neighborhood and 450 more permitted, according to the Puget Sound Business Journal. In the King/Snohomish county area as a whole, there are 22,948 rental units under construction, up 42 percent from last year. Predictably, average rent in the King/Snohomish region is highest in Seattle, at $2,226 per month, followed closely by Bellevue, where the average is $2,000 per month. For the region as a whole, the average rent is up to $1,408.

If you are looking for a rental home in the Seattle area, contact your local real estate agent today!

Update On King County’s Rental Market

rentKing County rental activity was hot in the month of May with 269 leased properties, according to stats from the Northwest Multiple Listing Service. The market picks up in the spring and summer, so we can expect the number of rented properties (and rental rates!) to increase in June and into July. This number was up from the same time last year with 244 leased properties in King County. Currently, there are 218 available King County rentals on the NWMLS, 68 of which are within 7 miles of the downtown Seattle core. The current highest asking price is $17,000/mo for a 5-bedroom/6-bathroom single family home in Washington Park. For more information about Seattle rentals, contact your local real estate agent today!

New Data Shows Seattle Rents Up 6.2% Over Year

RentalsSeattle rents continue their upward trend, and a the median price for a one-bedroom apartment will now set you back a whopping $1,858 per month. But while many markets are seeing rental rates rise at a faster pace than home values, that is not the case in Seattle, where home prices this April were 6.9 percent higher than April 2014, compared with a slightly lower 6.2 percent increase in rents. Whereas in other cities rising rents may finally push renters to take the plunge into home ownership, Seattle renters looking for a respite from high rents find an even bigger challenge in the home-buying market.

While Seattle continues to hold the final spot in the top 10 most expensive cities for renters in the U.S., prices are still well below the sky high median of $4,225 per month in San Francisco, and rents here are growing at a snail’s pace compared to Portland (8.6 percent over the year), where rents are rising twice as fast as home values.

The jump to a $15/hr minimum wage could have an impact on Seattle’s rental market, according to The Seattle Times. With the current $11 per hour minimum wage (the first phase of the planned increase to $15 per hour), even those who pay rent that is in the bottom 25 percent of all rents in the city are spending close to 45 percent of their monthly income on housing, far above the 30 percent threshold that signifies one is “overburdened” by housing costs. A $15 per hour wage would lower that percentage to a still high but more manageable 33 percent.

If you are looking for rental housing in the Seattle area, contact your local real estate agent today!

Random Rental Safety Inspections Begin This Month

Apartment KitchenLast year, the city of Seattle implemented the Rental Registration and Inspection Ordinance (RRIO), which requires all Seattle landlords to register their rental properties and have them inspected for basic maintenance compliance, and this month random inspections will begin. While the city has previously relied on renters registering complaints as a way to ensure landlords are performing maintenance, the ordinance aims to establish a system of regular checks on properties to make landlords are adhering to basic standards across all units. The 2009 American Housing Survey reported that an estimated 10 percent of the 148,000 rental units in Seattle had “moderate to severe” physical problems. The new requirements apply to units in both apartment buildings and rental houses.

According to the Puget Sound Business Journal, the Department of Planning and Development is planning to inspect about 2,000 units this year, with a goal of inspecting 6,000 annually going forward. Inspectors won’t be showing up unannounced – landlords will be given 60 days notice to make sure they’re complying with the RRIO checklist, which includes items such as ensuring there is a functioning heat source in every habitable room and bathroom, no leaks in roofs or windows, and making sure all toilets flush. Properties will be inspected at least once every 10 years.

The DPD is hoping the clear guidelines will increase awareness among landlords and rental property owners of what basic standards are for their rental properties, and decrease the reliance on tenant complaints.

If you are interested in renting in the Seattle area, contact your local real estate agent today.

Average Rent In King Co. Up 8% Over Year

belltown rental homeDespite apartment buildings sprouting up all over the city, Seattle’s rental rates seem to be defying the laws of supply and demand. With more than 600 apartment units forecast to hit the market on Capitol Hill alone this year, and 12,000 in the King/Snohomish/Pierce county region, one might expect that an excess of units would cause rents to level off, or even fall. But according to The Seattle Times, the average rent for a one bedroom in King County has risen by 8 percent over the past year to $1,266 per month.

Looking for cheap rent? Move to Seatac, where the average rent for a one-bedroom is a mere $784 per month. Willing to pay top dollar to live in a luxurious high rise? Rent a one-bedroom in Downtown Seattle or South Lake Union for an average of $1,871 per month. Among all Seattle neighborhoods, Ballard saw its rents increase by the highest percentage over the year, having risen 13.1 percent to an average of $1,533, despite the number of available units doubling over the past five years. Magnolia saw the most stability in its rental market, with rents only rising by 1.4 percent. Rents in most of Seattle’s central neighborhoods are hovering around $1,500 per month.

Tom Cain, of research firm Apartments Insights Washington, told The Times that he does not expect rents to fall, in part due to Seattle’s job market keeping demand for apartments extremely high, and also because Seattle’s home-buying market is so challenging right now. A dearth of affordable homes to buy is forcing many to continue renting.

If you are interested in renting in Seattle, contact your local real estate agent today.

 

Seattle Rents Up 32% Since 2009

eastlakeccSeattle renters don’t need to be told that housing costs have risen dramatically over the past several years – that reality hits home when they write that rent check every month – but some might be surprised to learn just how far they’ve climbed. Rental rates here are up 32.38 percent since 2009 – more than twice the national average of about 15 percent – while incomes have only grown by 11 percent over the same time period. The only city with a greater increase was New York City, which saw a staggering 50.7 percent spike.

In a press release, NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun says that not only are renters feeling the squeeze, but home ownership and its guarantee of set monthly housing costs is becoming further out of reach due to rising home prices and stagnating incomes. Yun suggests that increased new-home construction aimed toward entry-level buyers would help renters transition to home ownership and take pressure off the rental market.

If you are interested in renting in Seattle, contact your local real estate agent today.

Despite Record Number Of Units, Rents Are Still Rising

rentIf it seems like construction cranes are sprouting like spring tulips in the Seattle skyline, there is good reason: 56 new residential buildings are under construction, planned, or recently completed in Downtown Seattle, which will add 12,392 new residential housing units to the market by then end of 2015. That number will break the record for number of units built in one year, which now stands at 10,056 units built in 1989. Normally, when inventory increases the market sees vacancy rates increase and rents level off, but with Seattle’s booming job market and continued influx of people wanting to call the Northwest home, that has not been the case. Average rent in King Country has climbed to $1,341 per month, with downtown Seattle and Bellevue topping that at $2,084 and $1,961 respectively.

According to the Puget Sound Business Journal, the average rent in King and Snohomish counties is up $28, or 2 percent, over the first quarter of this year, and the vacancy rate for existing buildings is 4.46 percent, which is down slightly since the end of last year. Newly built properties are posting vacancy rates of 4.3 percent. MyNorthwest.com quotes a report from the CoStar Group, a real estate data and information company, that states in order for “vacancies and rents to remain at healthy levels, developers need to dial back new construction after 2015.”

If you are interested in renting in the Seattle area, contact your local real estate agent today!

Rental Caps Set For Micro-Housing Units

rentOn February 23, the Seattle City Council unanimously approved an ordinance to set a cap on rental rates for Small Efficiency Dwelling Units (SEDUs), also known as apodments or micro housing, in an effort to further ensure that affordable units are being included in residential developments. Under provisions of the new bill, in order to receive the 12-year property tax exemptions that come as part of the City of Seattle’s Multifamily Property Tax Exemption Program (MFTE), developers would be required to reserve 25 percent (up from 20 percent under current regulations) of their units for those making no more than 40 percent of the area’s median income. That would set rates at $618 per month for single-person households making $24,720 per year, which is about $400 per month less than current regulations for “affordable” units.

Roger Valdez of Smart Growth Seattle told The Seattle Times that the program’s incentives won’t make up for money developers will lose on the lowered rents, and he predicts many developers will not participate in the program, resulting in zero units of affordable housing. Similarly, according to the Urbanist, Councilmember Kshama Sawant during the legislative session questioned how much affordable housing is actually being created, and whether the program is simply a loophole for developers to avoid property taxes. The bill will act as a sort of “trial run”, as the entire MFTE program could be facing widespread reorganization in the coming year.

If you are interested in renting in the Seattle area, contact your local real estate agent today!