The average apartments & condos market rate rent in Seattle stands at $1,850/month, surpassing the national average of $1,660/month. Rent levels differ across tiers, with luxury units at an average of $2,300/month, mid-tier units at $1,810/month, and lower-rated properties at $1,380/month. Submarkets exhibit significant variation, with cities like Bellevue, Edmonds, Bothell, Kirkland, Redmond, Woodinville, Issaquah, Newcastle, and Sammamish having higher rents, while submarkets to the south of the city offer more affordable options. Tacoma and Renton are noted for having the most affordable rents on average.
Rent growth has shown a notable deceleration over the past year, maintaining a relatively flat trajectory in the last 12 months. This is in stark contrast to the peak of 10.1% annual growth recorded at the beginning of 2022, with the average rent growth over the past decade standing at 3.8% annually. In November 2023, cities like Seattle, Shoreline, and Lynnwood experienced a rent decrease ranging from 5% to 10% compared to same month last year (please see map below):
On the flip side, cities such as Bellevue, Edmonds, Bothell, Kirkland, Redmond, and Woodinville reported an increase in rent during the same period (please see maps below):
Concessions have diminished to some extent, but areas with substantial new construction still experience elevated concession levels as those properties lease up. The influx of new construction has exerted pressure on rent growth, leading to year-over-year rent declines in submarkets with the highest volume of new deliveries. Downtown Seattle was the initial submarket to witness negative rent growth in late 2022, and several others, including Redmond and Lake Union, have subsequently experienced similar trends. Despite robust absorption, these submarkets have faced negative growth due to competition from a substantial number of new units.
Additionally, the vacancy rate in Seattle has decreased since the beginning of 2022. The reopening of the West Seattle bridge, connecting the peninsula with downtown Seattle, has significantly reduced travel times into the city, likely contributing to an enhanced perceived value of the area.
The forecast indicates that rent growth is expected to resume over the coming year. However, there are indications of challenges in the market, particularly with an unusually strong seasonal drop in rent in the third quarter of 2023.