Photo: Lauren Mitchell/Flickr
According to a recent report from Apartment Insights Washington, a leading local rental market surveyor, Seattle area rent prices, which surged this past summer and fall, are now beginning to drop.
Compared to a quarter ago, rent prices are down 2.8 percent in downtown Seattle, 3.5 percent in the University District and 3.1 percent in Queen Anne/Magnolia neighborhood. Expensive West Bellevue saw prices dip 3.8 percent, while prices sank 3.5 percent in Kirkland and 3 percent in Redmond.
And while rent prices in King and Snohomish counties are still up 7.9 percent compared to this time last year, that’s a smaller margin than has been seen for the past few years.
The survey also shows that 20 percent of landlords of big buildings in King and Snohomish counties are now offering incentives to renters, up from 12 percent earlier this year. Tom Cain, who led the survey, told The Seattle Times that when landlords start offering perks like free rent for a month or no deposit to move in, it’s a key sign that the market is turning. Such measures are often a precursor to rent cuts.
That said, vacancy rate is the most accurate predictor for future rent prices, and signs are encouraging there too. In the fourth quarter of this year, the percentage of empty apartments in King and Snohomish counties soared at its fastest pace since the beginning of the housing collapse in 2008, the last time local rents were significantly lower.
All in all, it’s starting to look like the future may be brighter for Seattle renters in 2017.