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Rent in Seattle goes up again; we complain

Apartment vacancy rates in King and Snohomish counties are the lowest they've been in nine years, according to a new study. (AP file photo)

Apartment vacancy rates in King and Snohomish counties are the lowest they've been in nine years, according to a new study.

The Seattle Times reports the average rent has risen by $94 or 7.9 percent over the year as determined by Apartment Insights Washington, a Seattle-based market-research firm. It costs a Seattle resident $1,284 a month, on average, for an apartment.

KIRO Radio's Jason Rantz isn't surprised. He forks over $1,700 every month for a shoebox (545 sq. feet).

"They're all like that. They all cost that. I've tried everything I can to get the price reduced," Jason said. He admitted using his "celebrity status" to try to get one landlord to drop the price $300. It didn't work.

"You don't realize how truly expensive and prohibitive it is in Seattle, at least Seattle central, until you really start to look for an apartment."

So move somewhere else, Jason.

"I would kill to live in Tacoma, or Everett, or Shoreline. I love those areas, but I can't afford the commute time," Jason said.

He usually works 9am to 10pm (don't feel sorry for him) and he likes to be close to the office for his short breaks.

The Times reports Downtown Seattle is the most expensive per square foot at $2.43. If you want to live in West Bellevue, $1,912 a month. Ballard had the highest increase in rents (12.3 percent over the quarter) to $1,628, but its vacancy rate is the highest in the city.

Those numbers, based on the second quarter, don't include utilities.

"I can barely afford to live here and I'm blessed to be making a considerable amount of money," Jason said. "There are a lot of people who aren't blessed, who are scraping by and you think $15 an hour is going to help pay $1,700 for a 550 square foot apartment? By the way, $2.50 of that is going to go to parking in Belltown."

Rather than focus on a $15 minimum wage, Jason suggests the city think about solutions for getting the cost of living "under control."

No word on a house warming party yet.

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About the Author


Stephanie joined the MyNorthwest.com team in February 2008. She has built the site into a two-time National Edward R. Murrow Award winner (Best Radio Website 2010, 2012).

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