Seattle Named 5th Most Expensive City In US, But Is Not Most Expensive City In Washington

It’s not a news flash that the real estate scene in Seattle has exploded in recent years. The Emerald City has gone from a town most people outside the state only associated with coffee and flannel, to the tech capital of the US (save for our friends in Silicon Valley). As home to some of the biggest tech names in the world and a booming job market to match, it’s fair to say there’s might not be enough housing to meet demand. Or, at least to meet demand AND your budget.

High rises, apartment buildings and condos are going up all over the city, and soon, our beloved skyline will be dotted with more and more buildings and towers, making the Seattle of just 10 years-ago look almost unfamiliar.

Seattle has recently made headlines as one of the most expensive places to live, get this, in the world. That’s right, recent data has placed Seattle’s rent rates at 5th highest in the nation and, supposedly 9th highest in the world! However, San Francisco and New York still dwarf us, tying for number one most expensive, world-wide.

Those of us who are Seattle Natives know that the average rental rate in Seattle has increased fairly dramatically in the last few years, but it’s interesting to note that, while Seattle’s rents have been on the rise, they don’t quite top the list of highest rents in the state.

According to recent data from Apartment List, Seattle ranks at number 5 in the state for highest rents, with the average monthly rent for a one-bedroom apartment at about $1,650.

Surprisingly, Mercer Island tops the list of cities in Washington for highest rents. A one-bedroom on Mercer Island goes for an average of a whopping $1,890 per month. No one said Island living was cheap, I suppose.

Filling in the gaps between number 1 and number 5 on the list are Bellevue at number 2 with an average of $1,860 per month for a one-bedroom (not a whole lot lower than their neighboring Island), Redmond at number 3 with an average of about $1,690 monthly rent for a one bedroom and Kirkland at number 4 with an average monthly rent of $1,660 for a one-bedroom.

Seattle and the Eastside are not the only places in Washington with rising rent rates. Tacoma tops the list nation-wide for fastest growing rent with a year-over-year growth rate of 7.7 percent. Seattle comes close, but not close enough to that figure with year-over-year rental rate growth at 5.3 percent.

Staggering growth aside, Tacoma is still a bargain in the rental market compared to Seattle, with a one-bedroom in Tacoma going for an average of $1,000 per month. For those of you keeping score, that’s a savings of $650 compared to Seattle.

But, proving that some things really don’t change, the cheapest places to live in the Evergreen State are still East of the Cascade Mountains. You can get a one-bedroom for only $600 per month in Walla Walla and it’s not much pricier in the State’s second largest city, Spokane, at around $630 per month.

What a difference a mountain range makes…

Downtown Condo Available For Purchase and For Rent

A luxurious 2 bedroom, 2.5 bathroom, plus den condo in the beautiful Madison Tower Condominiums in Downtown Seattle. Atop Hotel 1000, this southwest corner unit features sweeping views of the Olympic Mountains, the Puget Sound, and Seattle’s cityscape. Beautifully finished with top-of-the-line appliances throughout. Resort-style amenities available including:

  • Room Service
  • Full-Service Spa
  • Exercise Room
  • Library
  • Meeting/Conference Rooms
  • Virtual Golf
  • 24hr Concierge
  • BOKA Restaurant
  • Resident-Only Rooftop Deck
  • Valet Parking Available for 2 cars

Status Available for Purchase & Rent
Area Downtown Seattle
List Price Listing Price: $1,795,000

Rental Price: $7,500 a month

Bed/Bath 2 beds/ 2.5 bath

Rent or Buy?

Seattle Rental Market – 2016 in Review

Seattle RentalThe Seattle rental market has continued to see increasing rents in 2016 over 2015, although as we wrote last month Seattle rents have shown signs of slowing or even going down towards the end of the year.  Seattle rental numbers cannot be gathered from one source.  When looking at the Northwest Multiple Listing Service (NWMLS), the number of rented homes, the average rent, and average rent per square feet in Seattle all went up.  The NWMLS showed 1,094 vs 1,071 Seattle rentals in 2016 and 2015 respectively.  The average rent increased to $2,752 vs $2,588 from the prior year with the average rent per square feet increased to $2.38 from $2.00.  The NWMLS is mainly rentals from individual owners and does not include large Seattle apartment complexes.  In Downtown alone there was 20 new Seattle apartment buildings in 2015, 14 underway or completed in 2016, and 27 dues to be completed in 2017.  Thus the NWMLS is only a small portion of Seattle rentals.

The above picture property is a Seattle rental located on the north-end of the Pike Place Market.  The one bedroom, one bathroom condo has unobstructed views of the Sound, Market, and the Wheel. It is available for $3,675.

Click here to search the NWMLS rental listings or contact a Seattle leasing agent to assist you.

These statistics were gathered from the Northwest Multiple Listing Service, but were not compiled or published by that organization.