SEATTLE - The good news is that Seattle is among the nation’s top cities building new apartment units amid its population boom. The bad news is that most of those Seattle apartments could be out of reach for many renters.
Since the Great Recession, Seattle has created enough new apartment units to place its neighborhoods among the most apartment-producing regions, according to Rent Café Blog. The blog used data provided by Yardi Matrix and Property Shark to analyze 1,000 American neighborhoods. It found three Seattle areas among the top 50 that built the most apartments between 2010 and 2016 — a total of 8,643 units.
• 12. Broadway: 3,496 new apartment units
• 16. South Lake Union: 2,838 new apartment units
• 27. Belltown: 2,309 new apartment units
Broadway, which we can only presume refers to Capitol Hill, developed the most properties for these new units — 29. South Lake Union developed 15 properties and Belltown developed nine.
New Seattle apartments
Downtown Seattle added about 45,000 new jobs between 2010 and 2016 as the tech industry attracted new highly paid residents. In turn, the cost of living increased, forcing many people to leave the city for reasonable rents in Tacoma, Bremerton and Bellingham.
A closer look at Rent Cafe Blog’s numbers reveal that the additional rental units favor higher rents. The majority of new units are what the Yardi Matrix classifies as “lifestyle renters,” or “renters by choice.” They are the high mid-range renters. There were some low mid-range units built for what Yardi Matrix calls “working professionals.” Very few units for the “blue collar workforce” were created during this time.
The only standout was Broadway, which produced a majority of units for working professionals. The most developed properties in Broadway went to this group as well.
High mid-range: 36 percent
Low mid-range: 54 percent
Workforce: 10 percent
• South Lake Union
High mid-range: 79 percent
Low mid-range: 18 percent
Workforce: 3 percent
High mid-range: 86 percent
Low mid-range: 8 percent
Workforce: 6 percent
Seattle’s rent has risen along with the new high-end apartment buildings. In 2016, Zumper found that Belltown and South Lake Union were among the most expensive Seattle neighborhoods between 2016 and 2017.
Curbed Seattle notes that the Emerald City is one of the top 10 most expensive cities for rent in the United States. It reports that on average, in May, a one-bedroom apartment in Seattle cost between $1,575-1,690. A two-bedroom runs between $2,034-2,290.
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