Photo: Adam J. Manley/Flickr
Rent increases on apartments have risen close to 40 percent in the last five years in Seattle’s most densely populated neighborhoods, but a high volume of new construction is starting to bring that number down. In 2016, rents rose 5.4 percent in those areas, down from 7.1 percent in 2015 and 8.2 percent in 2014.
Companies with Seattle-based offices like Amazon, Expedia, Microsoft, Facebook and others are growing, attracting new employees every year who move here to take advantage of opportunities in tech and relatively lower housing costs.
Developers are cashing in on this growth and building more apartments. Across King, Pierce and Snohomish counties, 46,264 apartments were built between 2010 and 2016, according to a new study by Colliers International. Another 62,121 are planned between 2017 and 2020. As GeekWire reported, if all those units get built, that would add 108,385 apartments to the regional stock of 219,463 apartments, representing a 49 percent increase. The period between 2010 to 2020 could see 100,000 new apartments built in the region. The report doesn’t state if those figures account for the number of apartments demolished to make way for new buildings, so the actual net increase in housing stock might be lower, GeekWire points out.
South Lake Union, the hottest neighborhood for technology companies local and out-of-town has 9,831 units in the pipeline, slightly ahead of downtown Seattle, according to the study.
Seattle has never seen an apartment boom like this. In the late ’80s and early ’90s more than 80,000 units were built, but most of those units were built in the suburbs. Today, most of the units are being built in “Urban King County,” defined in the study as most of Seattle, as well as the denser parts of Bellevue and Kirkland. Urban King County has 54,768 units planned or under construction, accounting for 67 percent of the apartment pipeline for the three counties.
Single-family homes are in short supply, but affordable apartments might just be on the horizon.