Report: Seattle rent decreases 10%-16% following ‘skyrocketing’ increases last year

SEATTLE — The newest data from Rent, which is part of Redfin, shows rent prices in Seattle are decreasing:

  • Studio: $1,422 (-16%)
  • 1-Bedroom: $2,145 (-10%)
  • 2-Bedroom: $2,991 (-12%)

However, this comes after Seattle saw a drastic increase in rent prices from 2021 to 2022.

“Prices in Seattle really skyrocketed from February 2021 to June 2022. Prices rose 55%. That’s almost $1,200,” Jon Leckie, Researcher at Rent, said. “I think there may be some bit of correction going on in Seattle, given how high rents rose. In a typical case, we’ve seen rents rise about $300 over that pandemic period. So, to go $1,200 is about 3 to 4 times that. That’s a more significant increase than we’ve seen in other places.”

Leckie said it is unlikely prices will go back to pre-pandemic levels.

“Seattle’s clearly going to get back some of the $1,200 that is gained over the pandemic, but it’s not going to get back all of it,” Leckie said. “Prices are going to be more expensive going forward than they were during the pandemic.”

The time period of significant rent increases also aligns with the end of the state’s (and city’s) eviction moratorium, which ended on March 31, 2021 (Seattle’s eviction moratorium expired on February 28, 2022). It prohibited evictions and late fees on unpaid rent, while also mandating landlords offer residents repayment plans on unpaid rent.

A local landlord took out a full-page ad in the Seattle Times in September of 2021, which stated, “To all landlords, please refuse to rent anything during October as a way of protesting the illegal ‘No Eviction rule.’”

Leckie believes the current rent decrease is due to supply and demand.

“Seattle saw some real spikes in building permits in the summer of 2022 and through the summer of 2023,” Leckie said. “Builders are incentivized by those high prices, but sort of the flip side of that is that supply will help bring down prices… We’re also seeing lower-than-normal demand. People just aren’t moving. And in Seattle, in particular, we’re seeing a lot of outbound migration that sort of correlates with rising prices.”

According to Leckie, the top 10 places Seattle residents moved to in this first quarter of 2023 (January 1 to March 31):

  1. Los Angeles, CA
  2. Portland, OR
  3. Spokane, WA
  4. Sacramento, CA
  5. San Francisco, CA
  6. Indianapolis, IN
  7. Yakima, WA
  8. San Diego, CA
  9. Las Vegas, NV
  10. Eugene, OR