Seattle apartment rents slide as one in 10 apartments sit vacant

Home construction in the city was the fourth-ranked market nationally in 2018

Jan.January 05, 2019 04:00 PM

(Credit: iStock)

Renters aren’t moving to Seattle fast enough to keep pace with the city’s ballooning inventory.

About 10.5 percent of apartments inside Seattle city limits are now vacant, compared to 9 percent at the end of 2017 and 7.7 percent a year before that, according to the Seattle Times. And the region’s frenzied rate of construction shows no sign of slowing — about 24,000 units are permitted or under construction in the Seattle area, with another 34,000 in the planning stages.

Only the New York, Los Angeles and Dallas regions permitted more new units than Seattle, the 15th-largest metro area in the country. Seattle-area municipalities permitted twice as many new units in 2018 as did those in the Chicago area, whose population is more than double. About 9,000 apartments were built in the Chicago area in 2017 and 2018.

As a result, rents are dipping and incentives are mounting to attract new renters. It’s a welcome change for tenants whose rents skyrocketed by an average of 60 percent between 2010 and 2017. [Seattle Times] — Alex Nitkin

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