If you lived in a Seattle-area apartment back in March 2020, you know firsthand the pandemic seesaw that is the rental market. Rents dipped, then soared. Now, two years after that fateful month, they're almost back—or way over—where they once were.

Take Seattle proper: Last month, rents were down just 2.1 percent since March 2020, according to data from Apartment List. But look pretty much anywhere else in the Puget Sound area—Bellevue, Federal Way, Bothell, Auburn—and rents were up across the board, as much as 25 percent in some cities.

Compared to last year, though, Seattle has still experienced staggering growth by pre-pandemic standards: up nearly 19 percent. And those other major cities around here nearly all were up at least 15 percent in March 2022 compared to the same time last year. Oof. Here's the top nine.

9. Seattle

You may find it surprising to see Seattle so low on this list, but don't lose sight of the big picture. Rents rose a full 1 percent between February and March, and that year-over-year growth is nothing to sneeze at as the busy spring and summer rental markets gain momentum.
Median one-bedroom rent: $1,680
Median two-bedroom rent: $2,100
Year-over-year rent growth: 18.9 percent

8. Mountlake Terrace

Sandwiched between Lynnwood and Shoreline, it's easy to overlook this Snohomish County enclave...until you see its rent growth. Rates grew 1.8 percent month over month, barely edging out Seattle.
Median one-bedroom rent: $1,690
Median two-bedroom rent: $2,o4o
Year-over-year rent growth: 15.1 percent

7. Renton

Just like its for-purchase real estate market, Renton and its apartment landscape is well on the way to scorching status. Along with Auburn, this city saw the largest month-over-month rent growth in the Seattle metro: 2.9 percent.
Median one-bedroom rent: $1,710
Median two-bedroom rent: $2,240
Year-over-year rent growth: 18.6 percent

6. Issaquah

From one suburb to another. Issaquah rents in March were up 2.3 percent from February, with a median one-bedroom price edging ever closer to $2,000 territory.
Median one-bedroom rent: $1,930
Median two-bedroom rent: $2,540
Year-over-year rent growth: 15.4 percent

5. Bothell

Although the month-over-month rent growth in Bothell was actually less than Seattle's (0.9 compared to 1 percent), its median rents were $300 and $160 more expensive in the one-bedroom and two-bedroom categories respectively. 
Median one-bedroom rent: $1,980
Median two-bedroom rent: $2,260
Year-over-year rent growth: 16.9 percent

4. Kirkland

In March, Kirkland was the first city to crack the $2,000 rent threshold for a one-bedroom apartment. Although its year-over-year growth was more "modest" (we are using this term loosely, of course), its month-over-month growth impressed at 2.4 percent.
Median one-bedroom rent: $2,090
Median two-bedroom rent: $2,430
Year-over-year rent growth: 14.8 percent

3. Redmond

The Eastside domination continues with Redmond, which had not only staggering month-over-month growth (2.5 percent) but also an eye-popping median rent for a one-bedroom. For that price, you could get an extra bedroom in Seattle.
Median one-bedroom rent: $2,280
Median two-bedroom rent: $2,550
Year-over-year rent growth: 17.7 percent

2. Bellevue

Although it didn't top the list this month, Bellevue's median rents and rent growth are indicative of just how wild a rollercoaster apartment dwellers have been on. And its median one-bedroom cost beats out the two-bedroom price in several cities on this very list.
Median one-bedroom rent: $2,400
Median two-bedroom rent: $2,570
Year-over-year rent growth: 20.9 percent

1. Woodinville

Maybe it's the wine, maybe it's the space. This month, Woodinville tops the list of most expensive rental markets in the Seattle area with a solidly expensive one-bedroom rental price and a two-bedroom cost that is a stone's throw from an unthinkable $3,000.
Median one-bedroom rent: $2,490
Median two-bedroom rent: $2,810
Year-over-year rent growth: 20.1 percent

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