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Seattle's Average Rent Increases Are Slowing

Seattle's Average Rent Increases Are Slowing
Marquee on Meeker will be a 20-acre, mixed-use community in Kent. Phase 1 will be complete this year.

The metro Seattle area’s average monthly rent is experiencing its slowest year-over-year growth in eight years.

Currently pacing at $1,780/month for a one-bedroom, that amount represents an increase of 3.8% since last year. This compares to a 5% year-over-year increase for the same period ending in 2018. The highest increase took place in May 2016, when year-over-year rents jumped 11.2%.

The national average for a one-bedroom apartment was $1,474 at the end of 2019, which is an increase of 3% from a year earlier, according to a report by RENTCafé.com.  

Average rent for a one-bedroom in the city of Seattle is $2,121, which is 3% higher than last year. Kent’s average monthly rent is $1,515, which is a 4.5% increase. The highest monthly dollar increase was seen in Tacoma, where rent jumped by 5.4% to $1,345. Lakewood prices per month went up by 8.7%, Mukilteo and Burien saw rent prices drop by 0.8% and 1.6%, respectively.

Over the last decade, Seattle rents increased 77% and the median home price went up 95% to $716K. Median household incomes, however, did not rise at the same rate, with the median household income in Seattle in 2019 coming in at $96K, an increase of of 59% over the decade. Portland, Oregon, also saw a 59% increase in median household income, which sits at $75K. There, rents and home prices only grew by 59% and 67%, respectively, over the decade.

Kent, which boasts some the region’s strongest rent growth, saw plenty of multifamily transactions last year. The RedHill Pines garden-style apartment complex sold for $34.5M last fall, the mixed-use development Marquee on Meeker is set to deliver this year and the 366-unit Mosiac Hills Apartments sold for $81M.

Kent is actively developing plans to make the industrial-heavy city more pedestrian-friendly and to become a place where people want to live, rather than just work.