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Putting Seattle’s rent increases in perspective

We’re #1! Oops.

seattle skyline Image: Kat Davis

There may (or may not) be signs of slowdowns in Seattle’s rental market, but when compared to the rest of the major cities in the U.S. our rent market holds the top spot. We’re number 1 again. We’re number one in the rise of house prices, and we’re number in the rise of rents.

Business Insider reports that Seattle’s rents rose far faster than any other major American city at 9.9 percent, close to cracking into double digits. Portland plays second, again, at 8.2 percent. Yet another similarity, no one is close to the two largest Pacific Northwest cities. Number three is San Francisco with “only“ a 6.2 percent increase, two percentage points below Portland and 3.7 percentage points below us.

The stories about slowdowns and being #1 aren’t necessarily in conflict. No one stays on top for long, and a market doesn’t turn in unison. We may be seeing discounts or benefits offered to renters in some neighborhoods while others continue to rise. It is not a surprise that some places are trendsetters and others are late to the show.

Statistics are moot when you’re the one hunting for a place to stay. If your wages are rising more rapidly then rents, congratulations on those 10+ percent raises. If not, don’t assume that every rent is climbing in every neighborhood. Hitting the top is sometimes the sign that it may be time for a break.