What it takes to Rent an Apartment in Seattle

I was curious the other day about what it takes to rent an apartment commutable* to downtown Seattle right now (September ’17). I dug around on Craigslist, and here’s what I found.

How much are people paying for apartments in Seattle?

If you want to rent in Seattle, it will cost you. On average, a 1-bedroom costs $2000 a month. A fully furnished 1-bedroom in a downtown highrise with a gym goes for around $3500. An older apartment in Lower Queen Anne, with no washer dryer and no parking, goes for around $1500.

How early are apartments posted?

Most apartments on craigslist are available within a week of being posted, there are some that are posted a month in advance or more, but not terribly many. This means that if you’re looking near downtown, you’ll either have to convince your landlord to hold the apartment for you, or pay for a few extra weeks. That is, unless you’re willing to risk finding an apartment at the last minute.

How fast are listings being rented out?

Eight days on average. The median age of a post on Craigslist is one day.

Most listings are deleted in less than three days.

This probably has more to do with how property managers advertise listings than how quickly rentals move. Property managers at larger complexes repost their listings daily, deleting their old listings (thanks Suzanne for helping point this out). If we ignore all listings deleted within two days, the median life of a rental posting is eight days.

So if you see a place and you like it, move fast. And if you’re a landlord and no one has shown interest in your listing more than a couple weeks, it’s almost certainly priced too high.

*I defined “commutable to downtown Seattle” as within three miles of 98101. This includes Capitol Hill, Queen Anne, Belltown, SLU, Downtown, Pioneer Square, Eastlake, Madison Valley, Sodo, part of Beacon Hill, etc. You can definitely find cheaper housing further away and still be commutable to Seattle, this was just my arbitrary definition.

2 Replies to “What it takes to Rent an Apartment in Seattle”

  1. Hi, I’m a Seattle landlord, where did you get your Craigslist numbers? You can’t list for just a day; it takes longer thatn that to just get a basic credit check done. And no landlord would delete a post unlet the lease is SIGNED and RENTED.

    Your stats on move-in time and rent amounts are pretty accurate. But your spelling of CapitOL Hill was not!

    1. Hi Suzanne, thanks for pointing out the spelling error. I got my numbers from Craigslist, I got all the listings on September 8th for a 1-bedroom within three miles of 98101, threw them in a google sheet, then did the same thing on September 10th. Honestly, I’m a landlord in Seattle myself, and I’m a bit confused about the average life of a listing. I literally just got off the phone with a property manager of a larger building, and they said they post 20 listings a day. It’s possible the numbers are skewed because these property managers post new listings for their units every day and delete the old ones. In other words, the data is right, but drawing the conclusion that listings go down in a day because they were rented might not be. So that will go in the article.

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