Photo by Elvert Barnes/Flickr

Photo by Elvert Barnes/Flickr

Seattle renters seek cheaper rent in surrounding cities

One factor includes the ability to work remotely, according to housing economist.

A housing economist says a decrease in Seattle rent prices suggests that tenants are moving to surrounding cities.

As of December 2020, Renton, Kirkland and Bothell have all seen relatively marginal decreases in median rent when compared to the much more significant nearly 20 percent decrease in median rent growth that Seattle has experienced. For example, rent prices in Renton have been decreasing by 0.8% month-by-month and have decreased by 3.3% since the beginning of the pandemic in March, according to a report by Apartment List.

Other cities around the Seattle metropolitan area such as Tacoma, Federal Way, Everett, Auburn and Lynnwood have even recorded increases in median rent price.

Housing economist Chris Salviati said it is hard to “disentangle” what is causing Seattle’s sharp rent price decrease in contrast to more gradual decreases and even some increases that adjacent cities have seen over the course of the pandemic.

Salviati estimates there are two major factors at play, the first being the ability to work remotely.

“A person’s housing choice is very closely intertwined with their job choice,” he said.

Since the pandemic began, those who could work from home likely have been, giving some additional lifestyle flexibility to those who can work remotely.

Requiring only an internet connection to be able to work expands the choices of where someone could live without worrying about the length of their commute to work, Salviati said.

In addition to a newly realized ability to relocate out of the city, Salviati believes the sudden economic hardship created by the pandemic and the shutdown of the big-city lifestyle likely gave people a reason to leave Seattle for a smaller neighboring city.

Salviati said a similar decline in median rent prices can be observed in other large cities like Boston, Washington, D.C., and San Francisco. He said all of these areas were already relatively expensive places to live.

Before the pandemic, there was additional value to living in an urban apartment or something similar. Cities had restaurants and venues that attracted people, and landlords knew this because the luxury of being close to these city attractions were built into the cost of rent.

But now these attractions in the city are closed, and Salviati said tenants may no longer wish to pay the big city “premium” to live close to things they can’t access.


Talk to us

Please share your story tips by emailing editor@kentreporter.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.kentreporter.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) Please keep letters to 300 words or less.

More in News

Chad Wheeler. COURTESY PHOTO, Seattle Seahawks
Ex-Seahawk Wheeler accused of attacking girlfriend in Kent apartment

Lineman charged with first-degree domestic violence assault

t
Kent Police Blotter: Jan. 14-24

Robbery, assault, sex crime among incidents

Ian Simmers, COURTESY PHOTO
Kent man sues Bothell Police, King County for setting him up on murder charge

Ian Simmers, then 16, spent nearly 23 years in prison for a crime he didn’t commit

Stock photo
District names four candidates for vacant Kent School Board seat

Joseph Bento, Russell Hanscom, Inal Tshovrebov and Thomas Williams

An AR-15. Courtesy photo
Mags, open carry at protests and AR-15s on Olympia’s agenda

Lawmakers are eyeing a number of bills which could change firearm regulations in the state.

t
Kent man, 21, injured as Tacoma Police vehicle fled crowded street

Officer hit pedestrians after people surrounded his vehicle downtown

Washington State Capitol Building in Olympia. File photo
Lawmakers consider prohibiting use of credit score to determine insurance rates

Advocates say credit scoring makes low-income and minority policy holders pay more for coverage.

Police vehicle
20-year-old woman fatally stabbed at Kent apartment complex

Police arrest 24-year-old man after standoff

Stock photo
Calls that Social Security number has been ‘compromised’ leads to $400,000 scam

SeaTac man indicted for mail fraud in scheme that stole money from elderly victims

Most Read