Rent Report

Seattle Rents Decline for Fourth Month in a Row

Things are looking down...or is it up?

By Seattle Met Staff January 4, 2023

Seattle started a new type of streak when Apartment List's December data came in. After seven months of increases, followed by declines in September, October, and November, rents fell yet again to close out 2022. That's four straight months of decreases in rent prices.

Despite that bit of good news for renters, it is (as always) dependent on where you live. While Seattle proper has seen those declines, suburbs like Auburn, Lynnwood, Renton, and Shoreline have experienced year-over-year increases. Where does every community stand? Bring on the list, ranked by annual rent growth.

Rising

5. Shoreline

The land north of 145th Street has gained popularity with families seeking less expensive housing that's still close enough to the city. A minor dip in month-over-month growth wasn't enough to put a major dent in that year-over-year number, up a whopping 5.5 percent.
Median one-bedroom rent: $1,586
Median two-bedroom rent: $1,854
Month-over-month rent growth: -0.1 percent
Year-over-year rent growth: 5.5 percent

Renton counts Topgolf and views of Lake Washington among its suburban allures. Perhaps another reason it's still in the positive growth column.

4. Renton

Renton used to be an affordable South King County community. It now has rents higher than Seattle. Could that hefty dip in month-over-month rent growth signal a change back to the Before Times?
Median one-bedroom rent: $1,622
Median two-bedroom rent: $2,055
Month-over-month rent growth: -2.7 percent
Year-over-year rent growth: 5.9 percent

3. Mountlake Terrace

In another case of "it's all relative," a monthly decline in apartment prices in this quaint northern suburb doesn't tell the full story of rents in the area. A one-bedroom apartment is 7 percent more expensive than it was in December of 2021.
Median one-bedroom rent: $1,770
Median two-bedroom rent: $2,068
Month-over-month rent growth: -0.8 percent
Year-over-year rent growth: 7 percent

2. Lynnwood

While Lynnwood's actual rents are far lower than places like Renton and Mountlake Terrace, its robust year-over-year rent growth was enough to launch it into second place on this list.
Median one-bedroom rent: $1,318
Median two-bedroom rent: $1,686
Month-over-month rent growth: -0.8 percent
Year-over-year rent growth: 7.2 percent

1. Auburn

Our first place finisher for the city with the highest rent growth is...Auburn? While those median rents are what some might consider affordable for the Seattle area, they are up nearly 8 percent from the same month in the previous year.
Median one-bedroom rent: $1,365
Median two-bedroom rent: $1,625
Month-over-month rent growth: -2.2 percent
Year-over-year rent growth: 7.8 percent

Rents have continued to decline in Seattle proper.

Falling

3. Seattle

In September of 2022, the peak of the seven consecutive months of rent growth, Seattle's median one-bedroom rent was $1,720. The year-over-year price growth was at 5.8 percent. Now that median rent is nearly $200 less and both monthly and annual growth are in the negative column.
Median one-bedroom rent: $1,544
Median two-bedroom rent: $1,867
Month-over-month rent growth: -2.8 percent
Year-over-year rent growth: -0.9 percent

2. Tacoma

Long touted as a potential locale for remote workers who want a city feel without the city price tag, Tacoma still has a lot going for it in terms of renter appeal. Declines in price growth mean a median one-bedroom rent hovering close to $1,000. That's pretty hard to beat.
Median one-bedroom rent: $1,176
Median two-bedroom rent: $1,502
Month-over-month rent growth: -1.7 percent
Year-over-year rent growth: -1.6 percent

1. Mercer Island

While Mercer Island tied with Newcastle for the most expensive median one-bedroom rent, its median two-bedroom rent is the stuff of pandemic-era legend. Steep year-over-year rent declines, though, mean there's a ceiling to everything.
Median one-bedroom rent: $1,979
Median two-bedroom rent: $2,603
Month-over-month rent growth: -0.8 percent
Year-over-year rent growth: -2.1 percent

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