Over the past year, King and Snohomish Counties have seen an increase in apartment construction and renters will soon see an increase in their rents due to lower than expected vacancy rates in the city. Due to corporate giants like Amazon, Google, Microsoft and Boeing expanding their workforce here in the Seattle area, the demand for living quarters is on the rise thus creating a boom in the rental industry. According to industry analyst Tom Cain of Apartment Insights, average monthly rent rose to $1,190 during the last three months, a 3 percent increase from the previous quarter, and an 8.5 percent increase from a year ago.
Vacancy rates in King County have dropped to 4.31 percent from 4.53 percent, according to Cain’s report. In Seattle alone, the average rent in downtown rose to 3.1 percent to $1,797 per month. Newly relocated employees are more interested in location versus price according to Ashley Hayes, the director of operations at Seattle Rental Group. Hayes said she hopes a handful of additional apartment buildings due to open downtown soon will ease the pressure on the market a bit. “We’re as busy as we’ve ever been,” she said.
Developers are reveling in the sudden boom of renters coming into the area, but with the low vacancy rate renters are also seeing fewer incentives than before. According to a report mentioned in the Seattle Times, incentives dipped about $7 to $14 per unit, noting that only “23.3 percent of the properties are offering incentives at all. That alone is a 30.4 percent drop from last quarter.” Even with higher rents and fewer incentives to renters, the city will reap the benefits of more residents and the stimulation to our local economy.