Waterfront and skies like that? Yeah, we can see what there is to like about Kirkland.

Over the last two years, the Seattle housing market has been through some contortionist-worthy twists and turns. Home prices skyrocketed, and then just kept on going up. Rents plummeted, only to undergo an epic recovery. The home-buying market is still something else, fueled by explosive demand in the suburbs as remote workers remain untethered to their offices, but Seattle-area rents are basically back to pre-pandemic levels.

According to Apartment List, in February 2022, the median rent in Seattle was down only 2.8 percent compared to March 2020. To illustrate just how staggering a swerve that is, consider this: In February 2021, the year-over-year change in Seattle rents was -19.4 percent. Negative. Now in February 2022, that same year-over-year stat is 21.5 percent. 

Although this isn't just a local trend—median rents are up 17.6 percent year-over-year across the country—it is certainly a whiplash-inducing roller coaster if you've been a Seattle renter for the past two years.

Despite the ups and downs, median rents in February were only up a smidgen from the previous month: 0.5 percent. In Seattle, the median cost of a one-bedroom apartment was $1,668, while a two-bedroom was $2,080. 

Compared to surrounding cities, though, it almost seems reasonable. Five other (surprise!) suburban communities had higher median rents last month. Here's how the top six stacked up.

6. Seattle

Rents in Seattle proper rose ever so slightly, 0.5 percent, from January to February. But as we head into the traditionally busy spring season, it may be time to take some deep cleansing breaths.

Median one-bedroom rent: $1,668
Median two-bedroom rent: $2,080
Year-over-year rent growth: 21.5 percent

5. Issaquah

Tucked in the crook between Bellevue and Sammamish, two currently bonkers real estate markets, Issaquah is experiencing about the same as its neighbors. Rents rose 1.4 percent between January and February.

Median one-bedroom rent: $1,880
Median two-bedroom rent: $2,470
Year-over-year rent growth: 14.2 percent

4. Bothell

A decade or so ago, this was just a sleepy suburb with a fantastic school district. Now it's got an actual downtown area with some clout, like the McMenamins Anderson School.

Median one-bedroom rent: $1,950
Median two-bedroom rent: $2,240
Year-over-year rent growth: 16.6 percent

The new and improved Village at Totem Lake in Kirkland.

3. Kirkland

What once was a cute enclave north of Bellevue now brims with shops, restaurants, and waterfront parks. All that makes this one of the more expensive areas to rent in the Puget Sound area, with a one-bedroom median rent above $2,000.

Median one-bedroom rent: $2,030
Median two-bedroom rent: $2,350
Year-over-year rent growth: 12 percent

2. Redmond

The Eastside continues its rental tear with the home of Microsoft pushing the rental market into the mid-$2,000s. What's perhaps more jarring is the 2.5 percent price growth from January to February.

Median one-bedroom rent: $2,220
Median two-bedroom rent: $2,500
Year-over-year rent growth: 17.1 percent

Bellevue's massive downtown park is one of the public amenities the city affords.

1. Bellevue

Is anyone surprised? Bellevue is consistently one of the most expensive places to live, especially with posh neighborhoods like Medina, Newport, and Clyde Hill. Rents also grew 1.9 percent month over month here in February.

Median one-bedroom rent: $2,350
Median two-bedroom rent: $2,520
Year-over-year rent growth: 20.3 percent

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