But apartment rents in 10 other cities surge 10% to 15%.
In the most expensive US markets, apartment rents hit a ceiling some time ago, in some cases four years ago, and have dropped from those highs, as tenants have reached their limit. That this wasn’t a brief fluke, after which rents would surge again in those markets, is becoming increasingly apparent. At the same time, sharp rent increases have moved down to less expensive markets.
In Seattle, the median asking rent for one-bedroom apartments in July fell 3.1% from a year ago to $1,900 and is down 4.5% from the peak in May 2018. The median asking rent for two-bedroom apartments fell 4.1% from a year ago to $2,350, and is down 11.3% from the peak in April 2016.
Clearly, after years of surging rents in Seattle, a ceiling has been hit. At the same time, the phenomenal boom in apartment and condo construction over the past few years has put plenty of supply on the market – though it’s all high-end, and therefore mostly the wrong supply. And those vacant high-end units that need to be filled are putting downward pressure on the entire scale.