Cities across the continent are competing for Amazon’s second corporate headquarters and the 50,000 high-paying jobs that will come with it. But new data on the relationship between a booming downtown tech industry and housing affordability serve as a reminder that the winner will have some new realities to grapple with.
Zillow crunched the numbers to get more concrete data on the impact Amazon has on rents in its hometown of Seattle. Before we jump into the stats, it’s important to note that Zillow studied what it calls the “South Lake Union jobs boom” rather than Amazon specifically. The e-commerce giant undoubtedly dominates the neighborhood — nicknamed “Amazonia” — but it is hardly the only employer located there.
Seattle rents increased by $0.11 on average per square foot, per year between 2011 and 2015. Zillow economists attribute about $0.07 of that $0.11 spike to the South Lake Union jobs boom. In other words, a Seattle renter with a 650-square-foot, one-bedroom apartment saw her monthly payment increase by about $44 each year between 2011-2015 as a result of job growth in South Lake Union.