Seattle rental marketPhoto: Brian Holsclaw/Flickr

Seattle isn’t San Francisco– yet.

If you’ve been apartment hunting in Seattle recently, you’ve probably heard someone say, “Seattle is becoming the new San Francisco.” A handful of news sources outside of Seattle seem to confirm this opinion. It sounds like a compliment. Afterall, San Francisco is the city by the bay where Tony Bennett left his heart. But it’s not. Seattle, like San Francisco has had a rapid influx of young, wealthy, tech workers crossing state lines at a rate of about 6,000 per month, dramatically driving up the price of rent to prices unattainable for the average bear.

However, unlike San Francisco, Seattle’s median rent for a one-bedroom in November ranked 10th highest in the country at $1,710 per month whereas San Francisco came in at number one with a median rent of $3,670 per month, according to a recent report by Zumper. Yikes. So while we may be Rice-a-Roni, we aren’t the San Francisco treat.


Seattle’s median rent increased three percent from October for a one-bedroom and jumped 5.5 percent for a two-bedroom. You’ll pay around $2,320 per month for that extra space in Seattle. It sounds high, but count your blessings that you don’t live in San Francisco where a two-bedroom comes in at a shocking $5,000 per month.

Rent continues to skyrocket nationally, with only 11 out of the 50 most populated cities seeing rent prices drop in October, reports Zumper. Maybe it’s time to move to Wichita, Kansas where median rent for a one-bedroom was a mere $480 in November.

What’s prompting this national trend? A lethal combination of low rental vacancy and a decrease in homeownership, says Zumper. According to a US Census Bureau report from the second quarter of 2015, the national rental vacancy rate dropped to 6.8 percent, the lowest seen in the past 20 years. The national homeownership rate declined for the 10th consecutive year in 2014, dropping to 64.5 percent, according to a recent report conducted by the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University.

Zumper 2

All this change begs the question: Will Seattle retain its sleepy Twin Peaks or become a Full House? Only time (and Amazon) will tell.

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