Department of Numbers

Seattle Washington Residential Rent and Rental Statistics

The median monthly gross residential rent in Seattle, WA (the Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue metro area) was $1,263 in 2015 according to the Census ACS survey.1 Average gross rent in Seattle was $1,286 in 2015. The median rent more accurately depicts rental rates in the middle of the distribution of rents and is thus preferred in the analysis below. 2016 Seattle median and average rent data will be released in September of 2017.

Data is also available below for Seattle rental vacancy rates, Seattle rent as a percent of median income and the fraction of renters in Seattle.

Show dollars as: Nominal Real

Real Gross Rent in Seattle Washington (2015 dollars)2

2015 1 Year Change 3 Year Change
US Median Gross Rent $959 +3.12% +8.24%
Washington Median Gross Rent $1,080 +5.16% +12.85%
Seattle, WA Median Gross Rent $1,263 +7.67% +16.73%

Seattle, WA Real Gross Rent Trends

At $1,263, real median gross rent in Seattle was at its highest level in 2015 since the series began in 2005. At $1,286, real average gross rent in Seattle was at its highest level in 2015 since the series began in 2005.

Real Gross Rent in Seattle: Seattle WA Median, Seattle WA Average, Washington Median, US Median

Lower quartile, median and upper quartile real gross rent

Real Gross Rent History for Seattle

Date US
Median
Washington
Median
Seattle, WA
Median
Seattle, WA
Average
2015 $959 $1,080 $1,263 $1,286
2014 $930 $1,027 $1,173 $1,218
2013 $898 $982 $1,127 $1,165
2012 $886 $957 $1,082 $1,142
2011 $887 $947 $1,056 $1,117
2010 $901 $956 $1,071 $1,139
2009 $905 $979 $1,091 $1,151
2008 $920 $976 $1,091 $1,158
2007 $874 $904 $1,006 $1,070
2006 $883 $902 $989 $1,044
2005 $858 $873 $956 $1,008

Seattle Rental Vacancy Rate

The rental vacancy rate is the fraction of homes for rent that are not occupied.3 In 2015 the rental vacancy rate for Seattle Washington was 2.91% according to Census ACS data.

Rental Vacancy Rate in Seattle Washington

2015 1 Year Change 3 Year Change
US 5.85% -0.47% -0.92%
Washington 3.27% -0.96% -2.03%
Seattle, WA 2.91% -0.34% -1.58%

Trends in Seattle, WA Rental Vacancy Rate

The rental vacancy rate in Seattle peaked in 2005 at 6.04%. Since then it has fallen by 3.13% to 2.91%. Data records for this series originated in 2005.

Rental Vacancy Rate: Seattle WA, Washington, US

Rental vacancy rate in Washington

Historical Rental Vacancy Rate data for Seattle

Date US Washington Seattle, WA
2015 5.85% 3.27% 2.91%
2014 6.32% 4.23% 3.25%
2013 6.49% 4.65% 4.19%
2012 6.77% 5.30% 4.49%
2011 7.40% 5.59% 5.00%
2010 8.17% 5.80% 5.58%
2009 8.43% 5.98% 5.13%
2008 7.86% 5.09% 4.43%
2007 7.87% 4.83% 4.64%
2006 7.70% 6.14% 5.98%
2005 7.74% 5.74% 6.04%

Rent as a Fraction of Income

Using median household income data for Seattle, we can calculate the fraction of income the median household would use to pay rent at the median monthly gross rent rate. For Seattle, median monthly gross rent as a fraction of median household income was 20.12% in 2015 according to the ACS.

Seattle Washington Median Annual Rent as a Fraction of Median Household Income

2015 1 Year Change 3 Year Change
US 20.63% -0.26% -0.02%
Washington 20.21% +0.03% +0.32%
Seattle, WA 20.12% +0.27% +0.40%

Trends in Seattle, WA Rent as a Fraction of Income

The fraction of median Seattle household income required to pay median monthly gross rent peaked in 2013 (relative to the 2005 series origin) at 20.18%. Since then it has fallen by 0.06% to 20.12%.

Fraction of Income towards Rent: Seattle WA, Washington, US

Percent of median household income going towards median monthly gross rent in Seattle Washington

Historical Data for Annual Rent as a Fraction of Income in Seattle Washington

Date US Washington Seattle, WA
2015 20.63% 20.21% 20.12%
2014 20.89% 20.18% 19.85%
2013 20.78% 20.32% 20.18%
2012 20.65% 19.88% 19.71%
2011 20.70% 19.64% 19.42%
2010 20.50% 19.59% 19.34%
2009 20.12% 19.33% 19.02%
2008 19.00% 18.06% 17.64%
2007 18.66% 17.61% 17.05%
2006 18.90% 17.78% 16.89%
2005 18.89% 18.05% 17.71%

Renter Fraction in Seattle Washington

You can calculate the renter fraction in Seattle in at least two ways: by housing units or by population. I've gone with the housing units measure here. This measure looks at the number of renting households in Seattle as a fraction of total Seattle households. In 2015 40.06% of households were renters according to Census ACS data.

Seattle Fraction of Renters by Household Units

2015 1 Year Change 3 Year Change
US 36.97% +0.07% +0.88%
Washington 37.58% -0.67% -0.09%
Seattle, WA 40.06% -0.64% -0.41%

Trends in the Seattle, WA Renter Fraction

The Seattle household renter fraction peaked in in 2013 at 40.87% and is now 0.81% below that level. The origin year for the series is 2005.

Fraction of Renting Households: Seattle WA, Washington, US

Fraction of renters in Seattle

History of Seattle Renter Fraction

Date US Washington Seattle, WA
2015 36.97% 37.58% 40.06%
2014 36.90% 38.25% 40.70%
2013 36.50% 38.06% 40.87%
2012 36.09% 37.67% 40.47%
2011 35.42% 37.18% 40.05%
2010 34.65% 36.90% 39.38%
2009 34.13% 35.70% 38.23%
2008 33.36% 34.72% 36.54%
2007 32.80% 33.93% 35.68%
2006 32.73% 34.46% 36.64%
2005 33.10% 35.34% 37.41%

1. Gross rent is defined as contract rent plus the estimated average monthly cost of utilities (electricity, gas, water, and sewer) and fuel (oil, coal, kerosene, wood, etc.). Because some rentals include utilities and others don't, gross rent is a way of normalizing the variability.

2. Real dollars are calculated using the CPI-U less shelter series.

3. The rental vacancy rate is computed by dividing the number of vacant units for rent by the sum of the renter-occupied units, vacant units that are for rent, and vacant units that have been rented but not yet occupied.