Jan 18, 2023 - Real Estate

Seattle sees steepest rent declines among major U.S. metros

Tall apartment buildings near Seattle's Space Needle

The Space Needle stands near apartments in Seattle. Photo: Mike Kane/Bloomberg via Getty Images

While Puget Sound housing remains among the most expensive in the nation, Seattle saw the steepest monthly decline in rent among major metros in December, based on a Zillow report released yesterday.

Driving the news: Typical rents in the Seattle area fell 1% month over month to $2,166 in December, according to the Zillow Observed Rent Index (ZORI).

  • That's the steepest monthly rent decline in the country, followed by Las Vegas, where rent was down .9%, and Dallas, down .8%.
  • Nationally, asking rents fell .3% from November to December.
  • Still, the typical rent in the U.S. right now is $1,981, 7.4% more than this time last year.

Why it matters: Rent prices in February 2022 had gone up a staggering 17.1% over the previous year, impacted by the 2021 pandemic-era housing boom, according to Zillow analysts. But demand is now waning due to higher rents and inflation.

  • Zillow reported that the increased number of people living with housemates, roommates or relatives is also putting pressure on landlords to keep rents in check.

What they're saying: "We always see a seasonal drop in the rental market demand around December," Zillow spokeswoman Gina Cole told Axios Seattle. "But the decline we just saw is much larger than the previous Decembers."

The bottom line: Rents are still higher than they were a year ago in all top 50 metro areas except Las Vegas, Zillow reports, with the typical rent in Seattle up $102 from last year.


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