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Rents: Seattle v. Greater Seattle

Posted by Johnine Larsen on February 27, 2017
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We’ve been hearing a lot lately about how high Seattle’s rents are. Fifth-highest among the U.S.’s major cities! Ninth-highest among the world‘s major cities! According to Apartment List, Seattle’s monthly rent averages $1,650 for a one-bedroom apartment.

But let’s look closer.

Yes, Seattle is pricey, but it’s not as pricey as some other Seattle areas that didn’t make it into Apartment List’s study. The most expensive place to rent in Washington State is… Mercer Island! (That wasn’t a big surprise). A one-bedroom on Mercer averages $1,890 per month. After that: Bellevue, Redmond, and Kirkland. Seattle comes in at #5.

Also, Tacoma beats Seattle for the fastest growing rent in the nation. Average rent there grew by 7.7 percent last year, while Seattle’s increased by 5.3 percent. However, those quickly-growing Tacoma rents are still dirt cheap compared to Seattle. Their average one-bedroom rents for $1,000—a whopping $650 less that Seattle’s.

Moral of the story: Seattle rents aren’t catastrophic. The recent 9th-highest-in-the-world news tells more about the limitations of world-wide studies than about Seattle’s real affordability. But if all this talk has inspired you to save on rent, for the most savings, look to the east. Across the Cascades, you can rent a one-bedroom apartment for $630/month in Spokane or $600/month in Walla Walla.