Today’s news is all about rents. Curbed Seattle has done their monthly aggregation of the various sites comparing current rents to this time last year. Depending on which site you use (they all have different data sets and methodologies) rents are up anywhere from 5.6%-8.4%. The article also notes that according to Adobo, we’ve fallen out of the top 10 for most expensive cities in the country to rent. Frankly, that’s a ranking chart I’m happy to fall off of. Despite those increases in rent, the highest and fastest growing rents in the area aren’t in Seattle. Bellevue has higher rent, while Tacoma and Kent both have higher increases in rent. The latter are likely an effect of people being priced out of Seattle. The former is just another reminder that Bellevue is the region’s sleeping giant for real estate prices.
In legislative news related to renting, the “Fair Chance Housing Ordinance,” unanimously passed the city council. Designed to help address the city’s homelessness problem by reducing barriers to renting, the ordinance limits how prior convictions and arrests can be used as part of a rental application. The ordinance has many exceptions for small landlords, and focuses primarily on crimes with low recidivism rates.
The news this week is all about renting. Seattle is one of the few places in the country where the current median rent wouldn’t cover the mortgage on the median priced home according to a study from Zillow. Most of the time in most places, median rents and mortgage payments are commensurate, or the rents are higher. The Seattle market just keeps finding new ways to stay special. That doesn’t mean that buying can’t be the right choice for somebody renting in the current market, but it does mean the current market is challenging, and there may need to be reasons other than strictly budgetary ones at play to make renting a good choice for a buyer.
Which makes the timing of this article from Curbed Seattle on the best neighborhoods in the area to rent in fortuitously timed. They have several different categories based on your main priority in your neighborhood, and include a category for the best burb to rent in. Even if you’re stalwart in your property ownership, it’s a handy article just to see how your neighborhood stacks up from a renter’s-eye-view.
The burbs category in the Curbed article is especially handy in light of this article from rentcafe.com blog breaking down the growth rates for renters in 20 metropolitan cities and comparing it to the rates of growth in the suburbs. In most cases, including Seattle, the burbs are adding renters faster than their urban centers. That’s particularly surprising given the stereotype of people renting in the city, but moving to the burbs when they buy. Market norms and trends a generation from now probably aren’t going to look much like they traditionally did before the housing crisis, and this is a striking example of where those differences are going to come from.
Last week we talked about the news that rent hikes might be getting smaller. Smaller hikes isn’t the same as smaller rents, though. Zillow just published a handy calculator that will help you figure out what level of raise you need in order to cover your anticipated rent increase.
Some of the news in this article about properties going above listing price won’t be terribly surprising, but if you thought the hot market was limited to the Seattle city limits, you’ll want to read past the fold. The percent of properties in Redmond going over list is big enough to make Seattle’s numbers look reasonable. The eastside in general is cooking up a storm, pressing buyers in the area who need “affordable” even more tightly into the North/South corridor around the city.
Bertha broke through, but we’re not quite done talking about her. SDOT made a video so you could watch the accomplishment. If you’ve ever wondered what the world’s largest boring machine looks like when it finishes a job, now you can find out.
The news this week is a little more focused on community than markets. WSDOT released a very neat video of the SR 99 tunnel in progress and Bertha, the ginormous (that’s a technical term) drill digging the tunnel.
Pike/Pine is getting a little bit tastier, but not how you’d expect. A culinary student is setting up a center to bring chefs and gardeners together for everyone’s improved yumminess. There may have been a more serious point about understanding ingredient origins and incubating variety, but I got distracted.
The Seattle Renters Commission made it a step closer to becoming a real thing and is up for final approval on Monday. This is looking like a very good thing to me; a lot of investors want rental properties that will be attractive, and the commission is poised to improve community amenities to increase that attractiveness in a large swath of areas.