Apartment hunters beware! Rentals in the Puget Sound region are getting tougher to find, and prices are going up! According to a recent article in the Seattle Times, Puget Sound regional vacancy rate is 4.6% – down from 6.5% a year ago. Average rents have climbed 4% in this past year.
There are a number of factors causing this trend. One is the growing economy — 50,000 jobs added last year and potentially as many this year — continues to fuel the demand for rental homes.
Increase in home prices is another factor. Many potential home-buyers are opting to stay put and rent an equal or better home for much less than the cost of a mortgage. Also, the high demand and increase in home prices has caused a tremendous surge in condominium conversions. Last year alone we saw 4,000 apartment units converted to condominiums. This decrease of available apartments puts the squeeze on renters looking for affordable space.
With home prices continuing to rise and the slow but constant rise in interest rates, many would-be homebuyers may soon be priced out of the market. The rental market will likely continue to tighten….with prices getting higher and more competition for renters.