Luxury Housing is Becoming More Affordable for Rich Seattleites

Any reduction in demand may help reduce rental prices across the city, according to a Zumper data geek.

Yesterday, rental housing website Zumper announced that Seattle has fallen off its list of the country’s ten most expensive renter markets. We lost out to Chicago, which has a median one bedroom rental price of $1,750. That’s $30 more than Seattle’s current median, according to Zumper.

Tanguy Le Louarn, head of digital marketing at Zumper, says that’s explained in part by luxury apartments in Seattle becoming more affordable for rich people. “It’s a great headline to say that Seattle is dropping from the top ten,” he says, but “the real underlying driver is the luxury market” in neighborhoods like downtown, Belltown, South Lake Union, and Broadway. “Those are the places where the prices have increased the highest, and we’re hitting the ceiling.

“This [is a] kind of mini correction that we’re seeing,” Le Louarn says. “There’s so much rent price that people can stomach, so the high end luxury complex…cannot increase forever.”

The news that rents are plateauing for only for the rich will certainly evoke bitterness in a city divided by deep wealth inequality. But the leveling-off of luxury rents may be good news for poor renters as well, says Le Louarn. “Now—and this is my opinion,” he says, “more inventory is better than no new inventory. Even if it’s at luxury prices, [luxury developments are] a release for the rest of the market to have new apartments.

“Because guess what? If you don’t build those new luxury condos, then the person that was going to move to Seattle is still going to move somewhere, and that’s going to be an older apartment.

“More supply just means better prices.”

More in News & Comment

The Westin Seattle workers represented by Unite Here Local 8 gather at Gethsemane Lutheran Church after voting to strike on Sep. 14. Photo by Abby Lawlor
Hotel Workers Vote to Authorize Strike

The Westin Seattle employees will picket to demand higher wages from Marriott International.

King County Moves to Expand Pre-Booking Diversion Program

Three cities could get money to link low-level drug offenders to services and keep them out of jail.

Immigrant Youth Vulnerable to Abuse in Centers

Federally-funded facilities struggle to maintain health and safety of minors stuck in limbo

Tourism Organizations Lose in Safeco Field Funding Plan

Money previously intended for Seattle and South King County organizations might go to stadium maintenance.

Photo by Cacophony/Wikipedia Commons
Safeco Field Will Get a New Name Next Year

Seattle Mariners could make over $100 million from naming rights.

Seattle educators gather at a rally outside of John Stanford Center for Educational Excellence on Aug. 16, 2018. Photo by Melissa Hellmann
Seattle Teachers Union Approves Contract Agreement

The new contract that offers a 10.5 percent pay increase now awaits the School Board’s vote.

At a Sept. 4 press conference, Neil Fox, secretary of the National Lawyers Guild’s Seattle chapter, opposes City Attorney Pete Holmes’ tough stance on demonstrators who block traffic. Photo by Melissa Hellmann
Protesters Vow to Continue Tactics Despite the Threat of Prosecution

The Seattle City Attorney has taken a harder line on demonstrations, but activists aren’t budging.

Most Read