Developers report spring of soaring Capitol Hill rents in low-vacancy market


Capitol Crest, originally uploaded by sally banfill.

Despite an unprecedented amount of new apartments opening on Capitol Hill and around Seattle, renters are still getting pinched. The Seattle rental housing market is increasingly full of newer, more expensive units in buildings with increasingly fewer vacancies, according to a recent report detailed by the Seattle Times.

Average monthly rent in Capitol Hill has soared 8.2% since April to $1,395 per unit. Vacancies in King County have decreased with 4.4% of units vacant, down from 4.8% a year ago. On Capitol Hill, vacancy is below 3%.

The numbers were outlined in a report from real estate analyst Tom Cain at Apartment Insights. Cain writes that apartment construction in King County is at a two-decade high, while rent prices have steadily increased and vacancy rates have remained low.

2021308682 The trend analysis was based off a survey of properties with more than 50 units around King and Snohomish Counties.

(Graphs courtesy The Seattle Times and used with permission)

Cain tells CHS the jump in Capitol Hill rent was in part due to two large properties – The Citizen and The Lyric – achieving “stabilized status.” In other words, they have entered a period of sustained, high occupancy.

Billy Pettit, vice president of Pillar Properties, the developer behind The Lyric, said the Broadway building was 94% leased in February, three months after opening. He attributed the quick turn-around and broader rent trends to the Hill’s proximity to Amazon and all the other great reasons to live here. The Lyric is a CHS advertiser.

In an email exchange with CHS, Pettit offered his thoughts on what the current rental market in Capitol Hill signals to developers and property owners:

Historically speaking, a market like this would likely scare off a number of developers. Continued periods of strong rent growth, low vacancies, and cap rate compression, are all attractive fundamentals in the eyes of developers, especially in a low interest rate environment. However, with the additional supply coming to market through the end of 2014, attempting to justify a new project can be looked at as rationalizing risk. That said, I do believe the underlying fundamentals in this market will continue to remain strong, even in the face of the new supply. Will we continue to develop new properties over the next few years? I would say, yes, albeit it at a slower pace than we have thus far in this cycle.

2021308687So while it’s mostly good news for the city’s economy, developers, and rental market at large, the trend suggests renters in Capitol Hill should continue to expect a cutthroat market. More renters are coming and they’re staying put, says Cain. “A concern that we have had about the possibility of a flood of renters leaving the market to buy homes has not materialized,” Cain said.

The report confirms what many frustrated apartment seekers on Capitol Hill are observing this summer: The buildings keep going up and so does the rent … everywhere. Add to that rental incentives (half month free, etc.) in the two counties are only offered in 23% of properties, and they have dropped by a third since last year to $14 per unit.

According to Cain, nearly 14,000 units are currently under construction in King and Snohomish Counties, up from 10,000 a year ago. That puts 2013 on track to have some 7,100 new units enter the market – a 20-year high. Conventional real estate economics would suggest that increasing inventory, especially in large buildings, should increase affordability.

But the calculation is not so simple, says Capitol Hill developer Maria Barrientos. “On the macro level that’s true, but on a micro level is not true, because newer buildings are very expensive,” Barrientos said.

Barrientos said that a more robust blend of older and newer buildings would help from a renter’s perspective. In the current Capitol Hill market there is increasing pressure on older buildings to meet a growing demand for affordability, she said.

The trend seems to suggest that panelists on last month’s Capitol Hill Housing forum were dead on. Seattle not only needs to continue building more apartments — it also needs to do more to regulate them.


Street Scene, originally uploaded by sea turtle.

44 thoughts on “Developers report spring of soaring Capitol Hill rents in low-vacancy market

  1. I recently began managing a condo and when determining pricing, was shocked when looking at comps in the area. I’ve been a homeowner since 2006 and hadn’t given rental rates much attention until I researching what to list my rental for.

    At current prices, I don’t think I could afford to rent and continue to live the lifestyle I do as the rent is higher than my mortgage – crazy!

  2. I worry that limiting developers to only 4- and 6-story buildings will mean we will have a much harder time catching up with demand and rents will stay high. Also don’t be surprised to see more bulldozing of old buildings as develeopers build “out” since they can’t build up.

    • One big problem we do have is that the current financial market makes it nearly impossible for “small-time” developers to make a profit. Banks don’t want to lend them money; cities don’t want to give them zoning leeway. That’s why so many new condo/apartment buildings take up half a block, or even a whole block.

      It’s also why so many of the buildings are so ugly and inconsistent. If you have lots of small buildings, the diversity creates an interesting streetscape. But if you have a small number of huge buildings, then there isn’t any diversity. So developers try to create artificial variation within a single facade, to simulate the experience of having multiple smaller buildings. (In my opinion, they generally fail.)

      More on-topic, the fewer landlords you have, the more that they will behave like an oligopoly, and less like competitive sellers. In other words, they’ll set the price based on what people are willing to pay, even if that willingness exceeds the market-clearing price. Therefore, policies which make it easier to build smaller developments (which doesn’t mean less dense developments!) should also have the effect of lowering rents.

  3. Its simple supply and demand. If people are willing (and able) to pay the high rents it will go up, when people refuse to pay the high rents, apt buildings will have to lower rents to incentive people. While I personally do believe the rents are too high, I don’t think the government should interfere and force lower rents just because some people can’t afford it. Last time I checked the 4 seasons didn’t give me a break because I make less than 100k.

    I DO however believe in giving some (not all) these new building incentives to diversify their population by have some units subsidized by the city to median income (which is still like 45k for Seattle). You shouldn’t force buildings, but give them the options to do this to keep occupancy high and diverse population.

    Sorry people but living in CapHill,Belltown,Dowtown,Bellevue,Medina, etc is not a RIGHT, its privilege for those who chose to live there. And as long as they don’t setup gates and check your pay stub at the borders your still free to go there and enjoy it.

    • The other thing people need to remember– every time we have another ballot funding item for schools, emergency services, transit, jails, etc, it directly impacts property tax, which directly boosts rents. Ballot item always says “…will add approx. $x per year to the property tax of a typical assessment…”. Many renters probably naively think property owners just absorb these increases, and reflexively vote “yes” on them all, then wonder why their rents are going up. It doesn’t work that way on commercial property, nor especially on privately-owned apts for a landlord who may have only one dwelling to rent out. When I had a rental condo, I kept the rent low (probably way TOO low), just to break even. For many landlords there is just nowhere for tax increases to be absorbed.

    • The Four Seasons analogy doesn’t really apply. Hotels are not apartments. The income distribution of a hotel’s temporary guests on any given night does not have the same long-term impacts as the income distribution of residents of a neighborhood.

      It’s certainly not a right to live on Capitol Hill, but I don’t see how it benefits the neighborhood to price everyone who doesn’t have an upper-eschelon professional job out of it. Just like it doesn’t benefit the neighborhood when developers build enormous retail spaces with high rents that either sit empty or get leased to chains (which then close due to lack of business).

      The kind of incentives you are talking about still don’t help many professionals that aren’t Amazon or MS employees but also aren’t making minimum wage. We contribute to the economy on Capitol Hill, and if we are gone, I think the business climate on the Hill will be a lot poorer for it.

      Wouldn’t be great if we didn’t disrupt people’s lives through forced moves to wait around to see if “the market” will fix problems that are super obvious right now? Do all the professionals who can afford high rents want to live in a neighborhood that can support only people and businesses on the extremes of the economic scale? There’s a value to everyone in being inclusive.

      • “The kind of incentives you are talking about still don’t help many professionals that aren’t Amazon or MS employees but also aren’t making minimum wage. We contribute to the economy on Capitol Hill, and if we are gone, I think the business climate on the Hill will be a lot poorer for it.”

        Logically, that does not follow. If a large number of people are forced out and replaced by people of higher incomes, there will be more disposable income in circulation. So the business climate will improve– depending on what’s your definition of “business climate”.

    • Something else to keep in mind is that affordability incentives can create an “income trap”. Let’s say that you subsidize housing for any household whose income is below $45k. Well, what happens when someone earning $44k gets a $2k raise? Suddenly, their rent shoots way up. This creates a disincentive for the members of the household to earn more money, or even to invest in themselves (such as by working harder, taking classes, etc.) in a way that might eventually push their income over the limit.

      There are ways to structure these incentives to avoid these traps; for example, you can say that every additional $1/month that a family earns is an extra $0.30/month in rent, or something like that, until you reach market rate. But it still creates a situation where the marginal benefit of earning extra income is much lower than it should be. It’s like paying an extra 30% in income tax, just because you’re poor.

      • Once an income-qualified resident has a leased unit, an increase in earnings does not mandate an increase in rent. In fact, it is illegal to raise the rent under such circumstances. No periodic “audits” are performed on income-qualified tenters (though many would suggest that they should be).

        Hence, it is really a question of timing. Upon signing an initial lease, an income-qualified resident might make just under $55K and then receive a huge pay bump to $85K. It has no bearing on his rent, which is set by the state. His rent might increase by $10-20 – if it increases at all – over the course of two years or even longer.

    • John,

      Your kind of flawed logic is endemic in the USA, where United Statesians are brainwashed at birth into thinking in an unbridled, vicious free-market kind of way.

      1. A 5 star hotel is a luxury. Decent housing is NOT!

      2. While I agree, people should refuse to pay the high rents, if you need to move here from Minnesota for a job (ya know, the kind needed to pay for the ever-increasingly high cost of living), as a new neighbor of mine just did, you don’t have a lot of choice. Anyone who’s ever tried to find a place long distance knows the challenges. Also, unless you’re willing to live in the suburbs (and shift costs to fuel and time spent on commutes), where is one to live while they refuse to pay the higher rents. The fact is, without restrictions, many of us have seen HUGE rent increases over the last few years. Monopolies must be controlled. BTW, I can get a 5 star hotel for $130 on Hotwire sometimes. Last time I checked, there was no similar way to beat the housing monopoly.

      Fearing basic governmental limits on the ever-increasing power (and willingness to exploit it) of the business oligarchy is a bad, bad thing many do in this country as a knee-jerk reaction. Question is, how much will we allow ourselves to be screwed before we awake to what’s going on everywhere with the redistribution of wealth and power -upward and out of the hands of 90% of us. I for one, refuse to return to feudalism. Sadly, your way of thinking is a recipe for just that. :-)

  4. Then why do the same, new bldgs post their vacancies every single day for months on craigslist? $1600 for a 500 sq ft studio? Really?

    • For whatever reason, the marketing offices for these buildings have decided to spam Craigslist with openings that don’t really exist. I think they publish about one ad per day per different floor plan that they have in the building. But if you actually go to the building and try to rent an apartment, you will find that there are only a tiny number of vacancies, and probably none of them are an exact match for a specific Craigslist listing.

  5. It’s misleading to suggest that “more regulation is needed”, when it’s so easy to explain the situation based on fundamentals. Vacancies are lower then ever, which means that we’ve got too little supply for the amount of demand.

    If you don’t believe me, just look at what happened when the McGuire building got condemned. Every building in Belltown immediately discontinued their move-in specials and shot up rents.

    If you look at the most affordable housing markets in the country, they’re in places like Texas, where growth is encouraged (through permissive zoning), rather than discouraged.

    I also don’t think that the new buildings are too “fancy”. Amenities like in-unit washers/dryers, or granite counters, add virtually nothing to the cost of construction. For better or worse, the most affordable buildings are generally older buildings, and the only way to get an old building is to build a new one and wait 30 years.

    Barring that, the best we can do is to encourage building (even over-building).

    • There’s many things wrong with your argument, Aleks.

      Granite and in-unit laundry DO add a pretty good chunk of money to the cost of construction vs the old methodology of laminate counters, vinyl flooring and common area laundry. If you increase the cost of building and outfitting a hundred apartments by $2,000 that is significant.

      it is a fact that there are many apartments available on craigslist every day in our ‘hood. Sadly, they’re priced so far above most people’s income, they continue to sit empty. Frankly, there are many available apartments, you just have to know somebody or hoof it around the area to see the signs on the buildings.

      Rent control IS needed. I make more than a lot of folks and once rent is paid, that takes up way more of my income than it should.

      People are absolutely right about developers making the problem worse. Part of it is driven by the City. The City passed a law requiring major upgrades to unreinforced masonry buildings. Most small family owned buildings can’t afford that, so they will end up selling and the building in question will end up being razed and replaced by something big and more expensive.

      • Let’s say you’re right, and all the amenities described add $2,000 per unit. The average building depreciates over 30 years. Therefore, raising each unit’s rent by $6/month will completely pay for those amenities. Or, to put it another way, skimping out on these amenities should make rent about $6/month cheaper. I don’t think that’s the answer to our affordability problems.

        Your anecdotal evidence about apartment openings is refuted by the numbers right here in this article. The Lyric is 94% occupied. Capitol Hill vacancies are at 3%. In the scheme of things, those numbers are tiny.

        Rent control is one of those ideas that sounds much more appealing in theory than in reality. In New York City, rent control creates a terrible holding pattern. A tenant who lands a rent-controlled apartment refuses to leave, since they know that moving would mean a huge rent increase. Conversely, from the landlord’s perspective, the ideal situation is for tenants to voluntarily leave every year, giving them an opportunity to raise rents. So landlords have no incentive to maintain their properties or to treat their tenants nicely.

        Also, developers don’t want to build new buildings that they know will be subject to rent control, since rent control makes it significantly harder to own a profitable rental property. So rent control has the effect of limiting supply, which raises rents.

        Some of the lowest urban rents in the country are found in big Texas cities, where growth is encouraged and rent control is nowhere to be found. In contrast, two of the largest rent-controlled markets in the US, namely NYC and SF, are also two of the most expensive places to rent. Why is that, if rent control works so well?

        Finally, just to be clear, are you saying that you disagree with the city’s decision to mandate upgrades to unreinforced masonry buildings? Because personally, I really like living in a building that won’t fall apart when we get the next earthquake. I do think that the city should have helped to fund its mandate, but I don’t oppose the mandate itself, any more than I oppose building safety codes in general.

      • You are right on the money regarding the forced upgrade for seismic retrofitting of small family-owned brick buildings by the City. We have 2 such buildings left on our block, one of which has been in the owner’s family (and he and his wife live on-site) for a generation or two. This man takes immaculate care of his property and rental units — his tenants genuinely like him. Unfortunately, he faces the prospect of the “upgrade” and is only too well aware that it is financially unfeasible for him. I don’t know how long it will be before he will be forced to sell out to some developer so that yet another multi-story monolith can be put in its place. And this man is simply one example among what continues to be a growing number on the Hill. I don’t know what the answer is but it certainly isn’t a City mandate that deprives everyone from a responsible owner to his tenants of decent housing.

    • they’re in places like Texas, where sprawl is encouraged (through permissive zoning), rather than discouraged.

      Texas has a slightly different geography than Seattle in general so it may not be the best comparison in how to increase density as that’s not really what they do.

      Not being snarky, just wanted to clarify Texas’ permissive zoning policy as I understand it.

      • You’re absolutely right. My point was just that Texas is an example of a place where a lot of people want to live, but where housing is relatively cheap, because supply is allowed to keep up with demand.

        In Seattle’s case, we’ve decided (rightly, I think) that we don’t want to sprawl out. But we also make it very hard to build up. If we were more permissive about creating infill density, then we would have cheaper housing.

  6. Tomster: Rent control is not a solution to this problem. Rent control has the net effect of driving rents up for everyone who is not in a rent control building. This is a well worn subject with economists. Rent control is/was a failure.

    Building more and giving builders regulation incentives to build more affordable housing is the only way to control rent increases in a sustainable way. There is already some incentive on the books, but we need more. Demand is currently outstripping supply, the market will correct that unless we get in its way (see: San Francisco.)

  7. I think the greater issue is that we as human beings are more afraid of change. If change never happened Capitol Hill would still be occupied by wealthy white folks like it was 80 years ago. Then we would not be here chatting about this.

    Rent control will not solve the “problem”. If you’ve ever tried to find decent affordable housing in NYC, even with a 100k net income, it’s hell, and makes Seattle look like kindergarten.

  8. I think most of the comments here are ignoring the fact that there really are many options for affordable housing on Capitol Hill. If you are really low-income, you can get into a Seattle Housing Authority building (there are four in our neighborhood) or a Seattle Senior Housing building. If you have a middle-class income, there are a number of nice places managed by Capitol Hill Housing. Or, with a little effort, you can find a reasonably-priced apartment in one of the older apartment buildings (not all landlords are raising rents significantly).

    I agree that no one has a RIGHT to live on Capitol Hill, or any other neighborhood for that matter, but if you WANT to live here, you can. Depending on your income, you might have to lower your standards a little….but, hey, that’s the way it is in the real world.

    • Both SHA and CHH have multi-year waiting lists. Those aren’t realistic options for anyone but the most desperate.

  9. I have always been able to afford to live on the hill or the central district but the last year. I pay $1400 a month for a one bedroom with no amenities. I can’t get an apartment in West Hollywood with all the goodies for the same price and a few miles from the beach. So I am going.

    I might consider staying if I had a garbage disposal.

  10. I can’t say I know what the solution is–I don’t. I will say that I am often distressed at the comments in articles about this situation, many of which seem to imply that those of us who have invested our time and hearts into living in this neighborhood now need to cede it to richer people just because those people can afford to pay more money than we can. No one may have a “right” to live here, but people invest in their communities in other ways than just financial means. Those of us who made that investment shouldn’t be kicked to the curb by the new wealthy entering the neighborhood. Neighborhoods should have a balance of all income levels, and I do believe that the city should take steps to ensure that it remains that way. Otherwise we’ll all be forced to the margins of the city at the same time as Metro service is being slashed. This is a common cycle–push out the people (including artists and minorities) who made a neighborhood great and take it over (and in the process some of these new money people are acting like entitled overlords.) The whole process stinks.

    • I don’t disagree with what you’re saying, at all. But at the same time, for better or worse, Capitol Hill is becoming a very desirable place to live. When demand goes up, and supply doesn’t change, rents go up, too. There isn’t really any way around that.

      The best way to ensure that a neighborhood has a mix of incomes is to ensure that it has a mix of housing: old and new, big and small. A 30-year-old studio will always be cheaper than a brand-new 1,000-square-foot two-bedroom.

      If we truly had enough housing — and right now, we’re not even close — then you wouldn’t have to “cede the neighborhood”, because rents wouldn’t be increasing any faster than inflation. It’s only when we try to restrict development that we see stratospheric increases in rent.

      You can try encasing a neighborhood in amber. You can enact rent control, and put a moratorium on new building, and designate 50% of the housing stock as income-qualified. And maybe you’ll succeed at making the neighborhood an undesirable place for the “new wealthy” to live. But is that really a good thing? Or is that throwing the baby out with the bathwater?

      I’ll also ask you the same question I ask everyone else: where, exactly, are the “new wealthy” supposed to live? As far as I can tell, we aren’t welcome in Capitol Hill, the Central District, anywhere in Rainier Valley, anywhere in West Seattle, Upper Queen Anne, Ballard, Wallingford, Fremont, Magnolia, Phinney Ridge, and Greenwood, not to mention all the single-family-zoned area that isn’t really within a neighborhood boundary. Are we all supposed to live in Belltown or move to the suburbs?

      • Move somewhere there is available housing. Don’t push out someone who already lives in the neighborhood, and most especially (and this is not aimed at you–I do not know you, but in general) don’t act like some of the commentators on this thread and recent threads and act like you are better and more entitled than others because you have more money. Many of us who do not have money have advanced degrees and stellar work histories but are not in popular fields like computer science which are financially rewarded out of proportion to other fields. Some who don’t have money even have technical backgrounds but are being replaced by cheaper imported workers who are also pushing us out of our neighborhoods. Many others have faced age and other discrimination in work. We are just as worthy but get kicked to the curb because some fields and people are rewarded more for their skills than we are for ours, even though they are just as advanced (or more so). In addition, I am tired of people moving to the neighborhood who then bring homophobic behavior to the area and try to push out those of us in the queer community. And I think the reason people don’t want the new wealthy in their neighborhoods is mainly justified–rents and the prices of everything go up to serve those with the most money and make it hard for anyone else in the neighborhood to survive. Many of the new wealthy then look down upon those who cook their food or serve their drinks or who already live in the neighborhood. No one likes someone to treat them like they aren’t a person, and this is how many of the parvenus behave, increasing the ill will towards the incomers. Is anyone who isn’t making $100,000 a year supposed to be forced to live down by the airport or in the unsafe and therefore less expensive areas of town? Should the wealthy just buy up Capitol Hill and make it a giant gated community where the rest of us are explicitly not allowed unless we’re coming in to serve the new gentry? I think not.

        • I totally understand where you’re coming from. It sucks to live somewhere for a long time, and to no longer be able to afford to live there anymore.

          But here’s the problem. The reason that rents are going up in Capitol Hill is that Capitol Hill is becoming a very desirable place to live. So desirable, in fact, that there isn’t enough room for everyone who wants to live here.

          Given that fact, how do we decide who gets to live here? For better or worse, the default answer tends to be money. I’m absolutely not saying that rich people deserve to live here more than poor people do. All I’m saying is that, in our capitalist economic system, prices are the main mechanism that we use to cope with scarcity. So long as rich people want to live in Capitol Hill, they will be able to outbid poor people for the same apartments.

          So how can we ensure that Capitol Hill maintains a healthy mix of incomes? Roughly speaking, there are three approaches:

          1. We can treat this as a market failure, and try to correct it through government intervention. For example, the city could set aside (or force developers to set aside) some housing for people below a certain income level, or it could institute some form of rent control. Ask anyone who lives in public housing whether they like where they live; ask anyone who’s looked for housing in a city with rent control whether they think it’s a successful policy.

          2. We can try to make Capitol Hill a less desirable place to live. You may think I’m joking, but in Washington DC, a resident complained about the city installing new trees on her block, because she was worried that it would lead to gentrification [1]. If Seattle stopped filling potholes on Capitol Hill streets, or if Metro cancelled 75% of Capitol Hill bus service, or if Seattle City Light had spontaneously daily brownouts in Capitol Hill, that would certainly keep rich people from wanting to live here.

          3. We can encourage the construction of tons of new homes. By increasing supply, we end up lowering rents for everybody, since there’s room for everyone who wants to live here.

          My vision for Capitol Hill is a neighborhood that’s a wonderful place to live for people of all ages and income levels, and where everyone who wants to live here can afford to do so. To me, it seems like option 3 is the only realistic one for making that happen.

          [1] http://www.slate.com/blogs/moneybox/2013/04/29/trees_rent_and_inequality_the_perverse_politics_of_gentrification.html

          • I don’t think that the answer is that the rich people just get to take over because they can. This is unacceptable. Noted economist Robert Reich has acknowledged that this inequality is indeed happening, but has said that this kind of situation can not go on for long without there being backlash. We’re looking forward to a country with more rioting in the streets and unrest caused by this toxic behavior. There are things the government can do to help, and they must, for the good of all.

          • I think it is very important that public housing exists for those very low-income people who need it, and Capitol Hill has a number of such buildings. Yes, the SHA buildings are pretty stark, but rent is extremely cheap. And the Seattle Senior Housing (a separate program) apartments (the low rises, at least 2 on Capitol Hill) are actually quite nice and “homey,” and again the rent is very low.

            This kind of public housing allows some with very limited incomes to continue to live in a very desireable neighborhood, such as Capitol Hill.

          • Seattle Senior Housing sounds like a great program. Because it’s targeted at people who are living on a fixed income, the usual “income trap” arguments don’t apply; someone who has retired on an income which is 80% of the area median income is unlikely to cross over the threshold at a later point in time.

            Regarding SHA, have you ever spent any time in an SHA building? Saying they’re “pretty stark” is an understatement. They feel like prisons. Anyone who can afford to leave them, does so. As a result, there is a “race to the bottom” with respect to the people who live there. It creates a vicious cycle of dependency and victimization, that is no healthier for any of the people living there than it is for society in general.

            Capitol Hill Housing uses a much more reasonable model; their buildings are much nicer, and they have a much wider range of income levels in their buildings. However, they also have a ridiculously long waiting list. I think the average wait time is 2-3 years; for some of the most popular buildings, it’s over 10 years.

            To me, this is yet more evidence that there just aren’t enough homes in Capitol Hill for everyone who wants to live here. Either you pay with money (in terms of higher rent), or with time (in terms of waiting lists). Wouldn’t it be so much better if we could just build enough housing to accommodate everyone who wants to live here?

  11. Of course the house buying has not materialized: Nobody has the funds for a down payment and the rental market knows this, so they have effectively taken advantage of the situation and hikes rents.

    • Au contraire. The sales of homes in Seattle and King County is way up over the past few years. The reason some people don’t have money for a down payment is that they have not planned ahead and saved up. That is the way you get into first-time home ownership…there is no shortcut…otherwise you are destined to be a renter indefinitely, throwing money down the drain.

      • As a matter of fact ther are more buyers than inventory these days.
        The past couple of years, a few of my friends took advantage of the low interest rates and prices to buy houses down in beacon hill and Columbia city. Lucky them, i’m certain they are doing better than renting anywhere today. They’re not rich, and one of them got an FHA loan. If you really want to buy a home it’s very possible. It takes patience and frugality, plus there is plenty of assistance for 1st time home buyers and low income families.

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  15. The problem is that the market right now is over inflated. When it completely gentrifies, what little value it has from artists and culture will eventually move out, making it just another over valued shitty nieghborhood. Those of us in the culture class are already moving because as someone above stated, you can find places similarly priced in other cities with far better cultural amenities than Seattle. We’ll leave you to your Panera Breads as these generic businesses continue to move into the neighborhood.

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