• Only downtown Seattle sees relief in rent increases

    By: Natasha Chen


    SEATTLE - While Seattle rents continue to increase faster than in most other cities, the downtown Seattle area has seen a major slowdown in rent increases due to the large supply of new units coming online.

    © 2019 Cox Media Group.

    Zumper, a rental listing site, posted its September national rent report Thursday, and Seattle fell off the top 10 list.

    When KIRO 7 asked Zumper about the rankings, the company said they were based on a snapshot of median rents.

    Meanwhile, Zillow told KIRO 7 the city’s rental appreciation is still racing ahead of most other cities. Only Portland’s rents are increasing faster.

    Svenja Gudell, chief economist for Zillow, said the city still ranks high even in overall rent prices.

    “When we look at multi-family rents, we look at the entire housing stock of multi-family units," Gudell said. "And we track not just the ones that have been freshly listed on the market. So if you do that, you find that in terms of absolute rent, we rank number 6 among the largest markets.”

    The only relief is in the downtown core, especially in the 98101 ZIP code.

    Both Zumper and Zillow agree that the increase in new apartment construction is creating enough supply to finally start to catch up with demand.

    Zillow data show downtown rents increased 2.3 percent year over year, while other neighborhoods saw much bigger increases, even up to 20 percent more than the previous year.

    Sara McAllister, who has been renting downtown for seven years, said she was able to afford a better unit within her building, partly because of the competition in the area.

    “There’s a lot more competition for our building, so depending on whether you’re looking outside, you can find a lot of stuff that’s sometimes cheaper and newer. But there’s still a steady increase in prices from year to year here,” she said.

    In 2015, there were 11,963 residential construction permits issued in Seattle, compared to just 1,413 in 2009 during the recession.

    There have been 5,171 permits issued in Seattle through the second quarter of 2016.

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