Good news for renters: Wash. rates dropped over the past year
Sep 26, 2023, 6:53 PM | Updated: Sep 27, 2023, 8:58 am
The median rent in Washington state of $2,335 is down almost 10% year-to-year, according to statistics from Rent.com. The median national price now sits at $2,052.
But Washington remains the most expensive state, despite a yearly decline of 9.81%, the second highest on this list. Oregon saw the third-largest decline among all states with a decline of 9.02% year-over-year.
In the Seattle-Tacoma metro area, the median rent was $2,970, down 1.55%.
Montana led all states in rent declines in this study with yearly prices dropping by more than 20%.
Seattle-based writers’ collective PostAlley.org reports that between 2010 and 2022, King County added 124,000 apartment units, 80,000 of which were in Seattle. But the overwhelming majority of these units were aimed at the influx of young adults who have moved to the region to work in technology industries, where high wages can support higher rents.
The largest declines among cities were led by Portland at 13.41%. Las Vegas and the area around San Francisco also made the list of largest rent declines.
According to RentCafe.com, the average size for a Seattle apartment is 690-square feet. Two- and three-bedroom apartments averaged well over $2,000. The average rent in Tacoma is $1,654 and the average size is 823-square feet. RentCafe.com is a nationwide apartment listing service.
CNBC analyst Mike Winters said in late 2022 rental demand would remain strong in 2023 due to rising homeownership costs, especially with mortgage expenses rising. Interest rates have more than doubled in the last two years. This has forced many would-be homebuyers to stay in the rental market, exacerbating already high demand. A chronic shortage of housing is another factor.
“My expectation is that rent growth will slow, but we may not see it go back to what was typical before the pandemic,” Winters quoted Realtor.com chief economist Danielle Hale.
More on rent in Seattle: Landlords ditching Seattle over nightmare tenants, laws
As Post Alley explained, the problem is “urban center housing is expensive to build” for various reasons:
Most urban center buildings are five stories of wood frame over a concrete podium, with underground parking. Structured parking alone can cost more than $50,000 per space, and even with wood frame, other costs are higher. These apartment buildings have corridors, fire exits, elevators, lobbies, and other non-revenue generating features that walk-ups don’t have. Other cost factors: urban center land is expensive and construction in a tight setting is complicated. Also, take all the costs of five-over-one construction and blow them up for concrete high-rise.