Seattle has long been one of the most desirable cities to live in. Compared to other cities on the west coast like San Francisco or Los Angeles, the Emerald City has been a more affordable option. It also has plenty of high-paying jobs in the tech industry for those looking to advance their career. Because of this, the population has steadily increased over the decades.
While there was a slight dip in the population during the pandemic, the population quickly rebounded as life returned to normal. The housing stock in the city was already strained and the sharp increase in the population growth caused the rent to grow rapidly. Here are some of the rent trends in Seattle:
The city of Seattle is 55% renter-occupied, meaning there is a lot more competition for renting than there is for buying. While 1-bedroom apartments saw the biggest decline during the pandemic, those prices rebounded with vengeance. While the average rent hit a low of just under $1,500 in 2021, the average rent shot back up to $2,055 in September of 2022. This is higher than the pre-pandemic average.
Similar to one-bedroom apartments, two-bedroom apartments also saw a huge dip during the pandemic followed by a sharp increase but it was less pronounced. The average price bottomed out at just under $2,000 a month. Since then it has shot up to $2,807 a month. With both the one and two-bedroom average rent swings, this suggests those who were leaving the city and those who were returning were mostly those who weren’t settled long-term in three or four-bedroom homes.
Three and four-bedroom
The three and four-bedroom average rents during the pandemic had dips that were much less pronounced and more in line with prior highs and lows. This could be because residents in larger homes tend to be from families who are more settled than young professionals who are single and without kids. It could also be because some residents moved away from the high-density urban core of Seattle and settled in less densely populated neighborhoods where there are larger homes.
While it seems the sharp increases in rent seen all over the country have started to slow and even decline a little, it should be expected that the rent will continue to increase over the long term. As long as the rest of King County as well as the neighboring counties like Pierce and Snohomish counties are unable to increase their housing supply, Seattle should continue to see steady growth in rent for the foreseeable future.