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FYI Guy

Seattle Times news librarian Gene Balk crunches the numbers

September 18, 2014 at 6:00 AM

Census: Seattle saw steepest rent hike among major U.S. cities

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Seattle apartment-dwellers: You thought your rent was high — well, you’re right.

Data released Thursday by the Census Bureau rank Seattle — for the first time — among the 10 most-expensive cities for renters.

To achieve that dubious honor, we had to claw our way past Oakland and Long Beach, Calif., on the list of high-priced places to live.

So how’d we do it?

Simple. Between 2010 and 2013, Seattle renters took a bigger hit to their pocketbooks than renters in any other large U.S. city. The gross median rent here — that is, rent plus utilities — spiked by $113, or nearly 11 percent. That’s the sharpest rise in rent among the nation’s 50 most-populous cities.

Seattle is the only large city where rents jumped by more than $100, and by more than 10 percent, in this period.

The median amount paid by Seattle renters, across all size units, reached $1,172 in 2013. The census data also show that three out of five Seattle apartments now rent for more than $1,000.

Last week on FYI Guy, we explored data about people leaving Seattle — maybe they’re in search of cheaper rent?

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But if that’s your goal, forget about fleeing to the Eastside.

Rents in Bellevue rose even more dramatically than they did in Seattle, jumping by $152 between 2010 and 2013. The median rent there now stands at $1,494 — that’s $3 higher than San Francisco, believe it or not.

The census data also show that Seattle’s apartment-dwelling population reached 307,000 in 2013 — a 13 percent increase since 2010. So while it may not be cheap to rent here, that certainly isn’t keeping people away.

 

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Comments | More in Demographics, Government Data | Topics: apartments, Census, Renters

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