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…

Seattle Ranked Among Highest Rent Paying Cities

for-rent-signIt’s no secret that Seattle is one of the hottest cities in the country for young adults in their 20’s and 30’s and beyond. That’s not surprising information given the influx of tech related jobs with popular companies such as Microsoft, Amazon, Apple, Expedia and many more in and around the area. Add to that a fabulous art and music scene, incredible restaurants driven by award winning chefs and breath taking views, and you’ve got a recipe that has had more young people moving to the Emerald City than ever before.

In spite of  this consistent growth in the city, Seattle has still managed to elude Zillow’s annual Top Ten List of highest rent paying cities in the country,  instead sitting pretty for the last 4 years at #13. That is, until now. Seattle has placed at #10 on the list for 2015, knocking Philadelphia out of a spot it has firmly held on to for the past 4 years. That means that the Big Kahuna of the PNW is up there with the likes of New York, Chicago and Los Angeles, to name just a few.

Perhaps surprisingly for some, the list states that Seattleites paid a whopping $10.2 Billion (yes, you read the right) in rent between November 2014 and November 2015. Couple that with the estimated 20,000 more people who found employment in that time and it starts to make sense, and while it may be easy and even logical to assume the tech boom is responsible for all this, it’s not alone.

Tech companies have experienced a 5 percent increase over the last year, which is nothing to sneeze at, but it’s the construction industry that takes the cake, with an estimated 6.7 percent increase over the last year. Developers in Seattle have been rushing to meet the housing demand of the city (with 10,425 apartment units recently completed or under construction and about a 25 percent increase in apartment inventory over the past three years), but it’s not likely to be quite enough or to help ease rental prices.

“It’s unlikely we’ll see any real rent relief in Seattle any time soon,”  said CEO and co-founder of Cozy Gino Zahnd. “While there’s plenty of new construction, these projects tend to focus on luxury units. Nationwide, we aren’t seeing many new units targeted at middle-income earners.” And though Seattle has plenty of high earners eagerly looking for housing, Zahnd says “Demand will likely remain high, as long as Seattle’s biggest employers continue to expand,” and notes that it’s unlikely we’ve reached a point of saturation, particularly on the high end.

Zahnd also points out that while the construction boom has brought many new jobs to the city, it is unlikely that these construction workers are living in the high-end luxury units they’re building. “Sure people are coming for these construction jobs, but are they living in the luxury high rises they’re building?” he said. “Even with no data, I’m almost certain they are not.”

In any case, with all these new jobs, a housing boom and being ranked among the countries ‘Big Boys’ for the first time, it seems Seattle is finally beginning to be taken seriously as one of the major cities in the country, a fact locals have know for quite some time.

Downtown Rental Market Update

The rental market has continued its hot trend as we head into the start of spring. Downtown condo’s are renting fast and at a premium rate. With companies continuing to expand in the Downtown area it is becoming more attractive to move back into the city after years of growth in the suburbs. Within the last 30 days Ewing and Clark Inc. has assisted our clients in leasing out their units to quality tenants at competitive prices.

 Recent units that we have leased:
2000 Alaska Way #335
1415 2nd Ave #2401
1240 Terry Ave #1702
If you are considering leasing your property but need assistance with the process, contact one of our leasing experts who can assist you throughout the process.

Seattle Apartment Construction Improving Seattle Housing Market

Due to the influx of apartment construction, 2011 will be the first year since 2007 where housing construction will help the economy grow. There has been a surge in apartment construction, as signaled by the cranes in Ballard and South Lake Union, as well as an increase in permits, signaling future construction in Seattle.

For every new home that is built, it creates three jobs and adds $90,000 in taxes. For more details, read the Seattle Times article.