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 $1,325 in 2016 according to the Census ACS survey.1 Average gross rent in Seattle was $1,366 in 2016. The median rent more accurately depicts rental rates in the middle of the distribution of rents and is thus preferred in the analysis below. 2017 Seattle median and average rent data will be released in September of 2018.

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 (2016 dollars)2

2016 1 Year Change 3 Year Change
US Median Gross Rent $981 +0.93% +7.80%
Washington Median Gross Rent $1,135 +3.75% +14.07%
Seattle, WA Median Gross Rent $1,325 +3.52% +16.13%

Seattle, WA Real Gross Rent Trends

At $1,325, real median gross rent in Seattle was at its highest level in 2016 since the series began in 2005. At $1,366, real average gross rent in Seattle was at its highest level in 2016 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
2016 $981 $1,135 $1,325 $1,366
2015 $972 $1,094 $1,280 $1,303
2014 $942 $1,041 $1,189 $1,234
2013 $910 $995 $1,141 $1,181
2012 $898 $969 $1,096 $1,157
2011 $898 $959 $1,070 $1,132
2010 $912 $969 $1,085 $1,154
2009 $916 $992 $1,105 $1,166
2008 $932 $989 $1,105 $1,173
2007 $885 $916 $1,019 $1,084
2006 $895 $914 $1,001 $1,058
2005 $869 $885 $968 $1,021

Seattle Rental Vacancy Rate

The rental vacancy rate is the fraction of homes for rent that are not occupied.3 In 2016 the rental vacancy rate for Seattle Washington was 2.68% according to Census ACS data.

Rental Vacancy Rate in Seattle Washington

2016 1 Year Change 3 Year Change
US 5.89% +0.04% -0.60%
Washington 3.23% -0.04% -1.42%
Seattle, WA 2.68% -0.23% -1.51%

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 3.36% to 2.68%. 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
2016 5.89% 3.23% 2.68%
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 20.23% in 2016 according to the ACS.

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

2016 1 Year Change 3 Year Change
US 20.43% -0.20% -0.35%
Washington 20.30% +0.09% -0.02%
Seattle, WA 20.23% +0.11% +0.04%

Trends in Seattle, WA Rent as a Fraction of Income

Seattle renters paid 20.23% of median household income towards the median monthly gross rent in 2016. This is the highest fraction of median household income going to rent since the series originated in 2005.

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
2016 20.43% 20.30% 20.23%
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 2016 40.51% of households were renters according to Census ACS data.

Seattle Fraction of Renters by Household Units

2016 1 Year Change 3 Year Change
US 36.88% -0.09% +0.38%
Washington 37.53% -0.05% -0.53%
Seattle, WA 40.51% +0.45% -0.36%

Trends in the Seattle, WA Renter Fraction

The Seattle household renter fraction peaked in in 2013 at 40.87% and is now 0.36% 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
2016 36.88% 37.53% 40.51%
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.