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Seattle rent: There’s a light at the end of the tunnel

Signs of relief for Seattle renters

Oksana Perkins/Shutterstock

Across the Seattle metro, typical rent was $1,723 in the fourth quarter of 2017, according to a quarterly report by property management software company Realpage. That’s slightly down from the previous quarter—3.2 percent—but before renters jump for joy, it’s up a similar amount year over year.

The Seattle Times called it the biggest quarterly decrease of the last decade, and predicted that the trend will continue. Part of that: New apartments are coming online, with nearly 14,000 units under construction right now, according to Realpage.

The firm also found a slight shift in occupancy for the quarter, at 94.7 percent, down very slightly from both the previous quarter and year. The Times notes that December’s 5.4 percent vacancy rate is the highest it’s been since 2010.

Listing site Apartment List (AL)’s numbers track by city limits, and unlike a lot of listing site data, its listings are weighted with census data to compensate skewing toward luxury listings. According to AL, the Seattle city limits follow a similar pattern by the month to what Realpage found by the quarter: slightly down in the short-term, slightly up in the long-term.

Specifically, AL clocks Seattle’s median rent at a 1.4 percent decrease month over month—but longer-term data definitely tracks with a quarterly drop. AL also found a similar year-over-year increase, at 3 percent.

The metro’s biggest cost increases lie elsewhere, though. Tacoma rent continues to skyrocket, with a 5.4 percent increase year over year and a negligible increase from last month. Kent and Federal Way both saw more than a 6 percent jump year over year, and barely any change from the previous month.

As for other listing site data: Zumper, which can skew toward luxury listings, found very little change in the past month or year for one- and two-bedrooms. Same with Abodo—although it did find more than a 2 percent decrease in two-bedroom rent.

For clarity, we’ve compiled various data sources in a table below.

What’s the rent: January 2018

Source One-bedroom Two-bedroom Overall
Source One-bedroom Two-bedroom Overall
Realpage (Quarterly, metro) $1,723
Apartment List (Monthly, city limits) $1,310 $1,640
Zumper (Monthly, city limits) $1,810 $2,440
Abodo (Monthly, city limits) $1,776 $2,306