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Seattle apartment production decelerating while Redmond picks up


Seattle may claim the no. 11 spot in the nation when it comes to delivering new apartments to the market, but Redmond is showing more initiative.

“With 8,600 units expected to enter the market by the end of the year, metro Seattle ranks 11th in our list of Top 20 US metros for apartment deliveries. The Emerald City accounts for more than half of these new apartments — approximately 4,450,” RentCafe points out in a recent assessment on new apartments in American cities.

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In short, the assessment states that Seattle won’t deliver as many apartments as were expected in  2018, producing fewer than in 2017. But it’s still enough to rank at no. 11. Redmond, however, far outshines its Northwest neighbor.

According to a RentCafe spokesperson: “…we looked at new apartment construction in Redmond and compared the number of units delivered in 2017 with the number of units expected this year (557 units in 2017 vs. 1,886 units in 2018). This translates into a 230 percent increase in apartment deliveries in Redmond.”

At the same time, rent in the Seattle region rose by 3.5 percent as the rate of new apartments decelerated.

Apartment production peaked around the country in 2017, but now it seems things are slowing down with 283,000 new apartments expected by the end of the year. That’s 11 percent fewer than in 2017. RentCafe points out, however, that the past three years have produced more housing at a rate not seen since the 1980s.

The population in the Seattle-Bellevue-Tacoma region rose by about 1.8 percent between 2016-17.

Seattle apartment production in sync with nation

The RentCafe assessment comes shortly after news that the US housing market is stumbling and showing signs of a slowdown. Experts partially blame construction labor shortages and rising cost of materials. Housing starts across the nation — when construction begins on a new home — fell by 12.3 percent in June from the previous month, according to The Wall Street Journal. It’s the largest drop in a year and a half.

At the same time, housing affordability is of chief concern in King County. The median price of a single-family home reached a record high in excess of $725,000 in May. It marks a decade low in housing affordability across the country. CBS correspondent Jill Schlesinger recently noted to KIRO Radio that everything from wildfires to the Trump administration’s tariff on Canadian lumber are to blame for increasing the price of wood — adding about $9,000 for a new home.

Still, the region is in a mad dash to produce new housing as the population booms — except when it threatens iconic theaters. After all, while Seattle may have slowed its rate of delivering new apartments, it still ranked in the top 20 of RentCafe’s list.

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And since you’re curious, the top 10 cities projected to produce the most new apartments this year are:

  • New York: 19,948
  • Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas: 17,132
  • Denver: 15,187
  • Los Angeles: 11,449
  • Chicago: 10,173
  • Phoenix: 10,302
  • Miami: 9,790
  • Atlanta: 9,547
  • Washington DC: 9,516
  • Austin: 8,837
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