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Renters are increasing faster in suburbs than cities, report finds

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While cities in the area still have more renters, suburbs are growing more quickly

Apartments in Issaquah.

With rising rents in the city, it’s no surprise that renters are moving into the suburbs. Over time, a new study by RentCafe found, it’s had a significant effect on small-town fabric.

RentCafe crunched numbers from the U.S. Census American Community Survey and found that suburbs in the Seattle, Everett, and Tacoma area saw a 13 percent jump in renters between 2011 and 2015. That’s five percent more than in our urban areas.

Still, despite the exodus, renters don’t see that dramatic of a decrease in suburban rent. They still paid an average of $1,456 per month in rent in 2016, compared to $1,630 in urban areas—places considered principal cities on the census survey, including Bellevue, Redmond, Seattle, Renton, Kent, Auburn, Everett, Tacoma, and Lakewood.

Some suburbs even outpaced urban areas. Issaquah, for example, had an average rental cost of $2010 in 2016 compared to Seattle’s $1884.

The cheapest suburbs, according to RentCafe’s study, were Steilacoom and Spanaway, with average rents of just over $1,000 each—and terrible commute prospects if you’re trying to get to Seattle. (Not so bad for Tacoma.)

Overall, urban areas still carry more renters than suburban areas: 58.5 percent compared to 41.5 percent. But as density increases farther off the beaten path—and more people are priced out of the city—the makeup will be interesting to look at in another few years.