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!