Seattle Rental Market Tightening

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.

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  1. A Tenant’s Guide to Renting

    The first challenge every tenant faces is finding an apartment for rent that suits their individual needs. For today’s tenant, the most effective apartment search can be done using an online apartment finder. Tenants should decide what they require in an apartment or house rental before beginning their search. For example: the number of bedrooms, location or distance from public transportation and how much the tenant can afford to pay in rent, furnished or unfurnished apartment, etc. By making these important decisions first, tenants can avoid renting an apartment or house only to regret it later. Many tenants today are taking advantage of the convenience of the internet to locate apartments for rent as opposed to the traditional print publications.

    Once a possible apartment or home has been found, it is the tenant’s duty to thoroughly inspect the premises making a commitment in the form of a security deposit. A tenant should not rely on the landlord or the landlord’s agent to tell the tenant if anything is wrong with the property. The tenant must inspect the property carefully and ask questions about it.
    Inspecting the condition and functionality of the following areas/features of the apartment before committing yourself as a tenant is highly recommended.
    1. Kitchen appliances in working order.
    2. Water pressure strong, plumbing without leaks.
    3. Electrical outlets and wiring working.
    4. Walls and ceiling painted or papered without cracks
    5. Ventilation or air conditioning accessible.
    6. Floors, railings and bathrooms in good repair.
    7. Fire escape easy to use.
    8. Stairs safe and well-lighted.
    9. No rodents or insects.
    10. Heating system in working order.
    11. If furnished, check and write down condition of all furniture.
    12. Windows and doors operable and weather-tight; screens provided.
    The tenant should also check the security of the building to find out if there is a dead-bolt lock, security chain, or through-the-door viewer.
    BEWARE OF EXISTING DAMAGES: In order to avoid being blamed for damages that already exist in the rental unit, the cautious tenant should take every step for self-protection. Before moving in (or as soon as possible thereafter), the tenant should make a list of all existing damages and repairs that need to be made. A copy of the list should he presented to the landlord and attached to the lease This way the landlord cannot blame the tenant for damages caused by others and the tenant will know what the landlord intends to repair. If the tenant keeps good records the landlord will not be able to keep the tenant’s security deposit for damages that were actually caused by others. Taking pictures before moving in is also strongly recommended.

    ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Paul Rossano, associated with who “Conveniently Connects All People with All Spaces in All Places” has been dedicated to the Real Estate rental market for over 8 years. He has assisted over 25,000 tenants with their renting needs. Any questions about renting apartments, houses or other rentals, feel free to visit or email him at

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