Is the massive number of new apartment buildings coming on line in Seattle finally decreasing the rent?
The answer is a tentative yes, according to a new analysis released by Axiometrics, a rental market research firm.
To be clear, rents are still insane in Seattle: the firm reports that the average rent in Seattle in September was $1,777. That is 5.6 percent higher than September last year. However, it is slightly lower than the $1,799 figure recorded in August and $1,809 recorded in July. The peak recorded by Axiometrics was in June, at $1,815. (The figures reflect the average cost of all apartments in Seattle, regardless of size.)
Jay Denton, a senior vice president for Axiometrics, suggests that ease in rent increases could be related to more apartments coming on the market.
“These decreases may be the result of the amount of new supply coming to the Seattle market,” he says in a press release. “Seattle is still among the top-performing metros in the nation, but deliveries of new units accelerated in third quarter (July-September) and the pace is expected to quicken through the second quarter April-June) of 2017.”
If Denton’s analysis is correct, it would corroborate, to an extent, the argument made by developers and some urbanists that the best way to deal with soaring rents is to allow more building. Seattle added an estimated 11,000 apartments in 2015, with an equal number expected in 2016, according to Marc Stiles at the Seattle Business Journal.
Yet with rents still flirting with $2,000, the slight easing could be cold comfort to many. And not everyone is super stoked about what all those new apartment buildings are doing to our neighborhoods, either.