Rental Housing Market Updates now available on RHAWA.org
RHAWA has teamed up with CoStar to provide periodic market updates to our members. These detailed reports include information on Seattle, Spokane, Olympia, Bremerton and Kennewick-Richland. Each report contains an overview of the market, vacancy rate information, market rent per unit along with rent growth over time, and also includes information on new construction and area sales. RHAWA members can find downloadable PDFs of each Market Update at RHAwa.org/MarketUpdates
The Seattle apartment market made a comeback in 2021 after a coronavirus-induced slowdown the previous year. Annual rent growth sits near a record high for the metro at 10.4% year over year. This is in stark contrast to 2020, when rents fell for the first time since 2009.
Suburban areas had been outperforming as many households exited city centers during 20Q2 and 20Q3, but our urban areas have exhibited improvement over the past year, particularly in Lake Union and Downtown Seattle. Many renters are moving back to the city center despite delayed returns to the office by major tech companies.
That said, with many office-using employees still working from home, multiroom units continue to show strong performance. Two- and three-plus-bedroom unit rents have grown faster than studios and one-bedrooms.
In the absence of office workers, landlords in the downtown core had little ability to push rents in 2020, but they made a comeback in 2021. Still, supply pressure will put the market to the test in the coming quarters. Currently, 23,000 units are underway across the metro, which will increase inventory by 6.3%, but the plurality of development is concentrated in the urban core.
After a slowdown in investment in the first half of the year, investors have come back to the market and many of them are well-known buyers. Pricing has reached new highs as the area's fundamentals have strengthened even further. Institutional capital is targeting high-end properties with proximity to light rail stations and tech offices in both the urban core and suburbs.