Seattle Rents: High, But Not Highest In Washington State

It’s not a news flash that the real estate scene in Seattle has exploded in recent years. The Emerald City has gone from a town most people outside the state only associated with coffee and flannel, to the tech capital of the US (save for our friends in Silicon Valley). As home to some of the biggest tech names in the world and a booming job market to match, it’s fair to say there’s might not be enough housing to meet demand. Or, at least to meet demand AND your budget.

High rises, apartment buildings and condos are going up all over the city, and soon, our beloved skyline will be dotted with more and more buildings and towers, making the Seattle of just 10 years-ago look almost unfamiliar.

Seattle has recently made headlines as one of the most expensive places to live, get this, in the world. That’s right, recent data has placed Seattle’s rent rates at 5th highest in the nation and, supposedly 9th highest in the world! However, San Francisco and New York still dwarf us, tying for number one most expensive, world-wide.

Those of us who are Seattle Natives know that the average rental rate in Seattle has increased fairly dramatically in the last few years, but it’s interesting to note that, while Seattle’s rents have been on the rise, they don’t quite top the list of highest rents in the state.

According to recent data from Apartment List, Seattle ranks at number 5 in the state for highest rents, with the average monthly rent for a one-bedroom apartment at about $1,650.

Surprisingly, Mercer Island tops the list of cities in Washington for highest rents. A one-bedroom on Mercer Island goes for an average of a whopping $1,890 per month. No one said Island living was cheap, I suppose.

Filling in the gaps between number 1 and number 5 on the list are Bellevue at number 2 with an average of $1,860 per month for a one-bedroom (not a whole lot lower than their neighboring Island), Redmond at number 3 with an average of about $1,690 monthly rent for a one bedroom and Kirkland at number 4 with an average monthly rent of $1,660 for a one-bedroom.

Seattle and the Eastside are not the only places in Washington with rising rent rates. Tacoma tops the list nation-wide for fastest growing rent with a year-over-year growth rate of 7.7 percent. Seattle comes close, but not close enough to that figure with year-over-year rental rate growth at 5.3 percent.

Staggering growth aside, Tacoma is still a bargain in the rental market compared to Seattle, with a one-bedroom in Tacoma going for an average of $1,000 per month. For those of you keeping score, that’s a savings of $650 compared to Seattle.

But, proving that some things really don’t change, the cheapest places to live in the Evergreen State are still East of the Cascade Mountains. You can get a one-bedroom for only $600 per month in Walla Walla and it’s not much pricier in the State’s second largest city, Spokane, at around $630 per month.

What a difference a mountain range makes…

Buying A Home In Seattle 34% Cheaper Than Renting

Wash Park Homed

High rent and high home prices in Seattle can often make it feel like the decision between buying and renting isn’t so cut and dry – either way you’re paying a premium for housing. But a new report from Trulia makes a strong case for home ownership, reporting that it is 34% cheaper to own a home than to rent in Seattle at today’s 4.5% mortgage rate. According to the report, mortgage rates would have to hit 9.3% before renting would be cheaper than buying in Seattle.

Nationally, home ownership is 38% cheaper than renting in all of the 100 largest metro areas, but in some extreme markets small changes in mortgage rates could tip the scales in favor of renting. For example, in Honolulu, a mortgage rate of 5% would make renting a better value, and a rate of 5.8% would make renting cheaper than owning in San Francisco.

Try Trulia’s Rent vs. Buy calculator to see how the numbers work out for you. If you’re interested in buying a home in the Seattle area, contact your local real estate agent.

 

 

 

 

Rent vs. Buy: When to Take the Plunge to Escape the Rising Rents

800 Allen

Seattle Condo Available: $270,000

When is the right time to buy? That is  the question many generation Y Seattleites are asking themselves as the price in rent continues to climb, and mortgage rates begin to slowly climb. Seattle residents in their 20s are currently watching rent increases surge, and are all wondering when interest rates will begin to be too high for them to afford as well. This age group became young adults at the time of the market’s slippery slopes in 2007, and do not want to be stuck in the financial crisis their family and friends may have suffered before. The tug of war between rent vs. buy has been debated time and again, and it seems to have comes to a head in today’s marketplace.

The median Seattle home sale price is up 15% in August from a year ago, and rent is up 6% in comparison to last year; is it time for generation Y to take the purchasing plunge? There are a lot of factors for them to consider, and contacting a local real estate representative is a step in the right direction to determine if it’s time for you.

Amazon’s SLU Sale Is the Largest in the US for 2012

The mammoth $1.16 Billion Amazon sale of their South Lake Union headquarter went through last week, and was officially dubbed the largest commercial office sale of 2012, according to the Puget Sound Business Journal. The stats are tracked by New York research firm Real Capital Analytics, and the Amazon transaction was recently ranked as the 27th largest commercial office sale in US history. According to the Puget Sound Business Journal, Amazon had plenty of incentive to close the deal prior to the new year; Amazon made a $51 million deposit that the company would forfeit if the transaction did not close this quarter. amazon

The sale certainly blows other substantial commercial transactions out of the park, with the next largest deal estimated at $868.6 million being a 1.2 million-square-foot building in San Francisco. The question still hangs in the air as to where all of the Amazonians will live around SLU once the expansion is full installed? Is there enough condos and rentals available in the neighborhood, or will it become overbuilt with highrises in upcoming years?

Seattle University Gets Approval to Plan Expansion

Yesterday Seattle University received the approval from the City Council for a plan that would more than double the school’s square footage of campus space on Broadway & Madison St. Right now the University is spread across 2.04 million sf of the 4.8 acre campus. According to the Daily Journal of Commerce, the school’s master plan is designed to stimulate growth of the University over the next 10-20 years, and by 2028 the school hopes to add 2.1 million sf of classrooms, parking, housing, retail and other buildings.

The plan includes taller buildings, and expansion of the campus’ boundary lines, and campus officials have said that the plan is necessary in preparation for the projected growth of the university; an estimated 2,500 students by 2028. Will this affect the cost of rent in the area? Most likely, but officials will have plans for housing to accommodate the influx of students who want to live on campus as well. The city’s approval doesn’t necessary approve any specific projects, but does allow the University to continue planning.

Fall is Here! Maintenance Tips to Safeguard Your Home

As you know fall in Western Washington can be quite wet, and it’s important whether you rent or own your home to take proper precautions to ensure your home is prepared for fall and winter conditions.

Photo Courtesy of Seattle Pacific University

You can check the foundation for cracks in caulking around the exterior where pipes and wires enter the house, and especially around windows and door frames in older homes, to stifle heat from escaping through the cracks! Be sure to tell your landlord if you notice anything problematic, because even the slightest crack can cause water to get in and freeze, sometimes resulting in extensive mold damages. Check with your landlord if the roof was checked recently for damages that could lead to leakage, and put away summer tools and lawn furniture. Ask your landlord if they’re going to clean your screen doors, and store for the winter, as winter conditions can damage these as well. For more information on how to best prepare your home in the fall, visit Zillow.

Influx of Hotels Planned for Downtown Seattle

The Downtown Seattle metro area has not seen any hotels break ground in the past two years, and there are no current plans for any to go under construction in the next upcoming months. But according to the Seattle Times, all that might change this year, with current hotels having successful bookings, with little trouble filling rooms, and they’re able to have consistently higher rates. Developers are feeling more confident with those statistics in place, and are moving forward by proposing more hotels pop up in the downtown area.

Downtown Seattle Sheraton, photo courtesy of destination360.com

According to the Times, one of those proposals includes a hotel with 1,200+ rooms, which is larger than any hotel in the area except for the Seattle Sheraton hotel. If all of the projects presented were to be built, the Seattle hotel industry would increase by more than 15%! Developers like Touchstone, Kauri, and Daniels Development among others all have projects in various stages of planning for construction, and Seattleites looking for hotel living should keep an eye out for upcoming hotel projects that have apartment rentals planned into the space as well. For more information on upcoming projects in the Downtown Seattle area, visit the Seattle Times.

The Renter’s Essential Toolkit

When you find the right rental, making it look like home is an essential part of calling it home. Just because you don’t own your humble abode, doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t have good toolkit around for emergency repairs, home improvement needs, and decorating! Many new renters don’t think of keeping these household items around until they need them, so here is a thorough list of must-haves to consider getting now before you run into stressful situations.

  • Power Drill
  • Screw Driver set
  • Duct Tape
  • Hammer
  • Extension Cords & Power Strips
  • Wire
  • Flashlight
  • Small Ladder
  • Hose
  • Level
  • Scissors
  • Fasteners & Hooks
  • Pliers
  • Light Bulbs

You never know when you’re going to run into a DIY situation, so it’s always best to be prepared beforehand, and you might even feel a boost in self esteem after accomplishing  something on your own!

Tips For Choosing the Perfect Rental

The Rental market has become quite competitive in recent months, with long time homeowners swiftly switching back into the renting along with prospective renters, all in search of the perfect rental. While everyone seems to be scrambling to find a home, there are a few things to keep in mind while searching for the right rental for you, before you sign the lease.

Make sure you know what you want before you go shopping. What are your personal requirements for renting? Do you need covered parking, a good pet policy, or washer and dryer in the unit? What are your wants vs needs? Make sure that you’re open to different options, and that you don’t expect the landlord to add additional amenities just for you. It’s also important to connect with the landlord; you don’t have to be best friends, but you want to make sure you’re able to have a working relationship with them. Being aware of possible scams is a good thing to keep in mind when you’re searching rentals on Craigslist, Zillow, other sites where anyone can post a listing. Don’t give financial information to just anyone, or even personal information if you don’t have legitimate information on the company or landlord first. For more information on rental listings, visit Ewing & Clark Inc.

Vacationing Late Summer? Review Home Security Tips to Keep Your Residence Safe

Summer is prime time for vacationers to pack up and get in the car, and it’s smart to make sure your home is secured before leaving the humble abode for an extended weekend or longer. Zillow has compiled a precautionary checklist to review before leaving your home alone, and the first item on the list is to consider having a house sitter or consulting with your friends and neighbors to see if they’re able to check on the house while you’re gone, which could be simple if you’re having someone check on your pets, or water your plants.

It might be wise for a neighbor to park in front of your home while you’re away, creating the illusion that someone is home at all times. Shutting off a main valve might be a cautious step to take before you leave to avoid any pipes leaking, which can cause extensive damage, and become very costly. You could consider putting up motion sensor lights (check with your landlord to see if this is feasible) or electrical timers for inside lighting, again you could also have your neighbors stop by and do the same thing. For other tips on securing your home, visit Zillow.