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!