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 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.

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!

Renters In Older Buildings Blindsided By Rent Hikes

rentWith all the talk about record-high rents in the Seattle area, you may look around at the high-rise apartments sprouting up in South Lake Union, Capitol Hill, and Ballard and think you’ve found the culprits for our status as the U.S.’s 8th most expensive city for renters. But here’s a surprising statistic reported recently by Sanjay Bhatt at The Seattle Times: rents in older buildings are actually rising at faster rates than those in newer ones. Rents in buildings built in the 1980’s grew by a rate of 8.4 percent in the fourth quarter of 2014, whereas rents in buildings newer than 2010 grew by only 1.4 percent (granted, rents in these buildings are much higher to start with).

Renters who care little about granite counter tops and rooftop decks have historically been able to rent units for reasonable rates in older buildings that offer function without the flash. But as many of these mid-century buildings approach 60 or 70 years old, they’re being sold off to development groups who pass on renovation costs to tenants in the form of rent hikes. For residents such as those at the Linda Manor Apartments in West Seattle (a building built in 1964), those hikes came in the form of a 130 percent increase, according to The Seattle Times. One resident saw her rent rise from $1,000 per month to $2,300 per month.

With the addition of 86,000 new residents over the past four years and just under 29,000 new units built over the same time period, housing is at a premium and a low vacancy rate in King County is creating stiff competition for renters. Because of that, landlords are having no trouble filling units, even with ever-rising rents.

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

 

 

Renter Or Rental Owner? Now Is The Time For Winter Maintenance

Madrona rentalEven if you live in a rental, the cold, wet weather of winter should prompt you to do some preventative maintenance on your home, both to limit your liability for any potential damage from the elements and to keep your home as comfortable as possible during the winter. Talk with your landlord, both to make sure they are performing their share of required maintenance, and also to find out what tasks are your responsibility.

The Rental Housing Association of Washington has several tips regarding what you can do as a renter to minimize damage to your unit this winter. If your lease requires you to perform yard maintenance, make sure you’re keeping the area around your foundation clear so excess moisture doesn’t build up and seep into the home (check with your landlord before you do anything beyond basic yard cleanup). Bag up fallen leaves and trim shrubs around the perimeter of your house. But don’t pull out that ladder just yet, as it should be the owner or landlord’s responsibility to make sure roofs are sound and gutters are draining correctly.

It is often the tenant’s responsibility to make sure smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are working, and during the season when more people are using their heat and having fires, it’s important to make sure these are operating correctly. Check your lease to determine if this is something you need to keep an eye on.

Especially in damp climates like ours in the Northwest, it’s important to pay attention to moisture levels inside your home, as well as outside. In the winter, when you’re more likely to have all your windows and doors closed, keep indoor air dry and circulating with fans, or occasionally crack a window to let some fresh air in. If you haven’t turned your heaters on yet, make sure they’re free of dust and move any belongings away from vents to minimize fire risk.

These tips should help ensure that you have a warm and uneventful winter in your rental! If you are interested in finding a rental property in Seattle, contact your local real estate agent today.

Walkability Score- What is it and why does it matter?

Pioneer Square Pergola

Pioneer Square Pergola

Walkability- it’s a word that some of you may be familiar with already, and one that real estate marketing often uses. But what exactly does it mean?

Used by Walkscore.com, it’s intended definition is to indicate how easily and readily connected a property is to the neighborhood and community around it. For instance, is the nearest grocery store within easy walking distance? Or would it be necessary to drive there?

The higher a property’s Walk Score (or Transit Score or Bike Score) on a scale of 1-100, the more connected the neighborhood is with the property. Take this chart example. But what makes a community walkable?

  • A center: Walkable neighborhoods have a center, whether it’s a main street or a public space.
  • People: Enough people for businesses to flourish and for public transit to run frequently.
  • Mixed income, mixed use: Affordable housing located near businesses.
  • Parks and public space: Plenty of public places to gather and play.
  • Pedestrian design: Buildings are close to the street, parking lots are relegated to the back.
  • Schools and workplaces: Close enough that most residents can walk from their homes.
  • Complete streets: Streets designed for bicyclists, pedestrians, and transit.

Now, why is this score important? It’s generally known that those who walk more, whether it’s just a few steps or hundreds of steps a day are generally healthier than those who don’t. By walking more, not only do you get outside, but you also use your car less, and thereby reduce your carbon footprint. If you were able to find a property in a highly walkable area, you might be able to forgo the car altogether!

And here’s some great news: Seattle is rated as one of the most walkable cities in the U.S.! With a Walk Score of 71, a Transit Score of 57, and a Bike Score of 64, Seattle is the 8th most walkable city, with it’s most walkable neighborhoods being Downtown, the Denny Triangle, and Pioneer Square.

How important is the walkability of the neighborhood to you when looking for a new property?

Average Rent In Seattle Area Nearing $1,300 Per Month

98121After rising by 6.8 percent in the first quarter of this year, the average rent for an apartment in the Seattle area is continuing to rise as the year progresses, and the average now stands at $1,284 per month, according to a report in The Seattle Times. Since this statistic includes not just the city of Seattle but the surrounding cities, as well, there is quite a bit of variation in the average price when broken down by city, and even by neighborhood. The average in West Bellevue tops the list at $1,912 per month, while the average in SeaTac is more than $1,000 cheaper at $901 per month. In the city of Seattle alone, the average is $1,445. There is also a significant difference in rental costs depending on when the unit was built. For units built after 2010, the average is $1,754, whereas the average for a building built in the 1970’s is $1,019.

Among Seattle neighborhoods, rents in Ballard have gone up by the highest percentage, having risen 12.3 percent over the quarter to $1,628. For a neighborhood that has historically been home to mostly single-family homes, the apartment-building boom is significantly changing the residential face of the neighborhood, and while rents are high, Ballard also posted the city’s highest vacancy rate of 8.6 percent in the second quarter. There are many units still under construction, and when they are complete apartment inventory will have quadrupled over the past six years. To go along with that, vacancy rates are expected to rise to 18 percent.

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

 

 

 

Current Stats On Seattle’s Apartment Rentals Market

nate rental dt

PubliCola has some interesting statistics on the Seattle rentals market, pulled from the April 1 city council planning committee meeting, where Mike Scott of the rental-market analysis firm Dupre+Scott gave his take on the situation. In summary:

– Supply and demand has affected rent fluctuation more than increased development has. According to Dupre+Scott, low housing supply has led to increased rents, and an excess of available apartments pushes rent down, in line with the classic supply and demand model.

– While average rent in the Seattle market as a whole has gone up in recent years, that is mostly due to the inclusion of newer apartment buildings that rent units at rates from $1,300 to $2,000 per month. Rents at older buildings (built before 2009 with rents between $800 and $1,300 per month) have actually risen at a slower rate than the cost of maintaining them has. The age of the building you choose to live in will often have a dramatic influence on what your rent will be: For apartments built in 1997 or earlier, the average rent is $1,100 per month, whereas rents in buildings newer than that average $1,700 per month.

– Think you’ll get more space for your money with those higher rents? Average square footage has actually decreased from 750 square feet in the mid-90s to 650 square feet today.

– More rental-housing development is happening in the city of Seattle than in the suburbs, and the trend seems to be toward smaller apartments in denser areas where public transportation is readily available and residents can walk to restaurants, coffee shops and grocery stores. In certain Seattle neighborhoods the number of apartments available for rent is growing by huge percentages. In Ballard, for example, the number of rental units available is expected to grow by 250 percent between 2009 and 2018, and downtown could see a 200 percent increase in the same time span.

Interested in renting in Seattle? Contact your local real estate agent for more information!

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.

Carbon Monoxide Detectors Required For All Rentals

Following a trend in recent years of carbon-monoxide-related deaths stemming from the use of grills and propane heaters indoors, carbon monoxide detectors are now required for all rental properties. The rule took effect January 1, 2013. The Washington State Building Code Council requires a detector on each level of the residence and outside each sleeping area.

While the state landlord-tenant laws do not specify tenant responsibilities for maintaining carbon monoxide detectors, most standard leases assign responsibilities in a similar fashion to those governing smoke detectors. Property owners are required to install the detectors, while tenants are responsible for their maintenance, and are subject to a fine of up to $200 for non-compliance.

Some buildings already have dual smoke/carbon monoxide detectors, but the Seattle Fire Department’s Fire Prevention Division recommends testing these at least once a month, especially if they are frequently disabled due to smoke while cooking.

For more information on Seattle rentals, contact your local real estate agent today.

carbonmonoxide