Seattle rental market increasingly competitive and expensive

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by TERESA YUAN / KING 5 News

Bio | Email | Follow: @TeresaYuan

KING5.com

Posted on June 11, 2013 at 8:16 AM

SEATTLE -- Tight inventory and rising prices are not just issues for home buyers in the Seattle area. Renters are also facing similar challenges.

Even with new apartment buildings under construction around South Lake Union, realtors say the rental market is tight.

There's a huge influx of people relocating for corporate jobs at places like Amazon, Microsoft, Nordstrom and Starbucks and looking for a place to live, according to Seattle Rental Group.

“As the inventory is shrinking a lot of the private rentals owners are choosing to actually sell instead of continuing to lease out the property. So that's also taking away from the inventory too,” said Ashley Hayes, with Seattle Rental Group.

According to Mike Scott of Dupre + Scott Apartment Advisors Inc., the average rent for a one bedroom apartment in Seattle is $1,223 this Spring. Plus, rental rates are higher compared to last year. Rates are going for $2.50 to $3 a square foot around Seattle for a one bedroom, one bath, nice view and building. Last year, the rental rate was in the low $2.00 range, according to Hayes.

“People I talk to most of time tell me that they have to pay a ridiculous amount for their rent, thousands of dollars a month. It's pretty outrageous,” said Ted Werbell, a renter and works at a bank.

"With the desire to actually move I've looked in other neighborhoods. It seems certainly a lot more expensive just looking at comparable properties to mine, which is a studio one bedroom. It seems to be a couple hundred dollars more,” said Brian Carraway, a renter who lives on Queen Anne.

Hayes say there is some promising news. With all the construction around South Lake Union more apartment buildings will open up to meet the demand. She anticipates the market will relax towards the end of the year.

"Just be prepared to put down money as you see something you’d be interested in right then and there. Rather than waiting and taking a look or thinking you’re going to have the option of selecting from multiple units. Be aware you need to act fast," said Hayes.

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