It’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.