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Report: Rent prices in the Seattle metro area grew exponentially over the past year

By Alec Regimbal, SeattlePI

An aerial view of houses in Seattle's Queen Anne neighborhood.

An aerial view of houses in Seattle's Queen Anne neighborhood.

fotoVoyager/Getty Images/iStockphoto

Rent prices in Seattle are up nearly 19% since this time last year, dwarfing the average rates at which rent prices rose in Washington state — 17.8% — and across the United States — 17.1% — during that same time period.

That finding comes from Apartment List’s latest report about rent prices in the Seattle metro area. The report also found that prices in the city increased by 1% over the past month. That marks the second month in a row in which rent prices have increased in Seattle after declining slightly in January, the report said.

Right now, the median monthly rent price for a one-bedroom apartment in Seattle is $1,681. The median rent for a two-bedroom is $2,097. While those prices probably seem high, they’re actually some of the more affordable prices in the Seattle metro area.

The average rent for one- and two-bedroom apartments in Woodinville are $2,490 and $2,810, respectively. In Bellevue, those figures are $2,400 and $2,570. In Redmond, they’re $2,280 and $2,550. In Kirkland, they’re $2,090 and $2,430.

Each of those cities has seen whopping, double-digit year-over-year increases in rent prices: Woodinville (20.1%), Bellevue (20.9%), Redmond (17.7%) Kirkland (14.8%). In fact, all 13 Seattle metro area cities named on the Apartment List report saw rents increase over the past year.

The same is true for month-over-month increases, with the exception of Tacoma. There, rent prices actually decreased by 0.2% over the past month. The median price of one- and two-bedroom apartments in Tacoma are $1,220 and $1,600, respectively.

Tacoma also had the smallest year-over-year increase in rent prices: 9.1%. To the south, rent prices in Lakewood saw the smallest month-over-month increase. There, the price for one- and two-bedroom apartments grew 0.2% during the past month, to $1,170 and $1,540, respectively.

The Seattle metro area is not alone in skyrocketing rent prices, according to the report. In New York City, rent prices grew 33.3% over the past year. In Phoenix and Austin, rent prices rose 25.4% and 22.6%, respectively, during the same time.

The report doesn’t explain why rent prices have increased dramatically, but national experts say there are likely several reasons for this. Those include a lack of supply coupled with booming demand; home prices being high, which keeps would-be buyers in the rental market; an influx of wealthy renters; and measures that kept prices low during the coronavirus pandemic, such as rent freezes, are expiring as the country attempts to get back to pre-pandemic life.


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Alec Regimbal is a politics reporter at SFGATE. He graduated from Western Washington University with a bachelor's degree in journalism. A Washington State native, Alec previously wrote for the Yakima Herald-Republic and Seattle Post-Intelligencer. He also spent two years as a political aide in the Washington State Legislature.