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.


In consideration of how we voice our opinions in the modern world, we’ve closed comments on our websites. We value the opinions of our readers and we encourage you to keep the conversation going.

Please feel free to share your story tips by emailing editor@bothell-reporter.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.bothell-reporter.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) We reserve the right to edit letters, but if you keep yours to 300 words or less, we won’t ask you to shorten it.

More in News

file photo
County councilmember proposes study to understand rental housing supply, costs in unincorporated King County

If passes, study would attempt identify the effects of regulation on rental market.

screenshot taken from Scoop Marketplace website.
Scoop Marketplace looks to cut waste out of grocery economy

The all-bulk grocery has two locations, one in Kirkland and Renton

T
King County’s unemployment rate lower than most of Washington

South King County has been slower to recover compared to North King County.

Courtesy Friends of Lake Sammamish State Park.
Walk’n Wag returns to Lake Sammamish State Park

All proceeds will benefit improvements and beautification projects for Lake Sammamish State Park.

Seattle Children’s Hospital (Courtesy photo)
Seattle Children’s Hospital identifies racial disparities in infections, security response

The healthcare provider did not respond to multiple requests for data used to identify disparities.

Carpenters union members peacefully strike on Sept. 16 in downtown Bellevue (photo by Cameron Sheppard)
Carpenters union strike on pause after “illegal picketing activity”

Union spokesperson claims wildcat protestors harrassed and threatened violence.

t
Peter Rogoff to step down as Sound Transit CEO in 2022

Became CEO in 2016; search for replacement to begin

File photo/Sound Publishing
Ban on single-use plastic bags in WA begins Oct. 1

Shoppers will have the choice to pay for a reusable plastic or recycled paper bag.

Photos from Emma Artz Instagram page at https://www.instagram.com/emma__artz/?hl=en
Juanita HS student is one of the best downhill mountain bike racers in the world

Emma Artz represented the US in one of the most difficult bike races, placing in top-15.

Most Read