Photo: Oran Viriyincy/Flickr
If you renewed your lease in a Seattle apartment this summer, you probably saw your rent increase. Rent in the city has risen 9.7 percent in the past year and is increasing faster than in any other major city in the US, according to data from Zillow.
The median monthly apartment rent for Seattle and neighboring cities was $2,031 in June, up from $1,852 a year ago and $1,575 four years ago. What’s more, Seattle’s rent was $300 more than the US average in 2011; now, it’s $620 more. All in all, most renters have seen their average monthly costs soar nearly $500 in the last four years, though incomes have largely failed to increase at the same rate.
As Zillow’s chief economist explained to The Seattle Times, there are three main reasons rent in Seattle is increasing. First of all, tech folks from Silicon Valley continue to flood the city as Seattle’s job base expands. Second, extreme competition to buy single-family homes is forcing more people to rent, while rising home prices mean landlords can raise rent without as much worry that they won’t be able to find new tenants. Third, the new apartments opening up are predominantly luxury units with high price tags — more rental housing! But only for those who can afford it.
Xochitl Maykovich, a community organizer with the Washington Community Action Network, told The Seattle Times that some renters are being pushed to lower-cost areas farther south or outside Seattle, cutting out other expenses such as health care or couch surfing while they look for a cheaper place.
Will this surge madness continue or putter out? What do you think?