United States Census Bureau data shows Seattle has once again secured the title of America’s fastest growing city.
However, this distinction comes at a steep price, as the Emerald City is also recognized as one of the most expensive places to live in the country. The average renter in the city is reportedly allocating a quarter of their income to cover housing expenses, a figure revealed by new data from Moody’s Analytics.
Capitol Hill renter Boscher Singvi tells KIRO 7′s Lauren Donovan at this rate, homeownership in the Seattle area is out of reach.
“All this money that you’re putting over for rent, it’s going to be very hard to save up even for a down payment for a house here,” said Singvi.
Data collected by Moody’s Analytics indicates while rent continues to climb, salaries are not keeping pace. The study found since 1999, rent for the average American has increased by 135%, while earnings have only gone up roughly 77%.
Pete Miragh, a real estate broker at John L. Scott, is concerned by the current market trend. According to Miragh, over the past two years the cost of living in the Seattle-Tacoma area went up by 11%.
“We need to find solutions,” said Mirgah. “Or else we’re going to end up in a situation like New York where you’re paying 50% to 60% of your income on rent.”
Mirah suggests controlling property taxes instead of rent as a solution to the current housing crisis. He argues, tenants aren’t the only ones paying more, landlords are too. He says mortgages, maintenance and insurance have increased, and landlords have no choice but to pass on some of those added costs.
Brian Truman, a John L. Scott real estate agent based in Seattle, agrees.
“People who are trying to buy a home and they’re frustrated because things are so expensive, well something’s driving that,” said Truman.
The way Truman sees it, renters can empower themselves by making a lifestyle change. Perhaps that’s changing spending habits or relocating south to save more.
“Putting things off, saving some of that money like a 10-15% savings,” said Truman. “I think that’ll go a long way to helping you get into a home.”
The issue of exorbitant rent extends beyond King County. South of Seattle, in Tacoma, it is estimated that tenants spend one-fifth of their monthly earnings on rent. Renters in Tacoma are now advocating for a “bill of rights” which would allow the city to crack down on landlords. A significant rally in support of this movement is scheduled for 4 p.m. in Tacoma on Thursday.
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