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…

Bellevue in “Top 100 Places to Live” List

bellevueBellevue has been ranked 12th out of 100 best places to live in the US. The University of Toronto’s Martin Prosperity Institute evaluated 1,200 cities through out the US that had populations of 20,000 to 350,000  and chose the top 100 based on economics, housing, amenities, infrastructure, demographics, social and civic capitol, education and healthcare. Bellevue’s highest scores were in the amenities category due to its accessibility to parks, entertainment, recreation and culture.

Six cities in the state of Washington placed in the top 100. Besides Bellevue, Bellingham (25th), Tacoma (41st), Redmond (62nd), Everett (73rd) and Vancouver (96th). California and Florida are the only other states that had six or more cities place in the top 100.

Luxury Condos at Bellevue Towers Finally Almost Sold Out


Almost all the condos in Bellevue Towers have been sold. A sign posted in the lobby announced that 95 percent of the 539 condos had been sold. In reality, less than 19 are left available. By now, it’s most likely that there are even fewer available. There are several orders pending. 16 condos sold in May and 21 closed in April.

The towers were completed and ready for occupants in 2009. 230 future owners had put down a deposit but soon after the stock market lost half its value, only 35 units closed. In January of 2011 prices were lowered by around 30 percent and units began to slowly sell. Units have been selling quickly the past 3 months. Why? With home prices on the rise, a decision was made not to raise unit prices to meet the rest of the housing market.

It is expected that the Bellevue Towers will completely sell out within the next month or two. A few larger units with at least 1,900 sf remain and range in price from $895,000 to $6.5 million. The towers offer more than a few amenities such as a 24/7 concierge, entertaining/board room, half acre garden, work out rooms, spa areas and a theater room with big cushy chairs to relax in.