There’s no avoiding it: big rent increases at are a fact of life for Capitol Hill renters. As rents in Seattle continue to outpace other cities, CHS has recently heard from renters on the Hill about their big hikes in new and old buildings.
Rent hikes at the Whitworth Apartments at 16th and John have caused several residents to leave, according to one tenant who wished to remain anonymous. She tells CHS her new lease included a 20% monthly rent hike, from $1,395 to $1,675. Whitworth manager Chris Garvin said the increases, which he said were mostly around 5-8%, are reflective of a high demand/low supply rental market in Capitol Hill. Garvin confirmed six Whitworth tenants moved out last month, for various reasons, and their apartments were filled within a week.
“Three years ago we had to have a huge carrot to get people in the building … Tenants were in control in prime recession time,” he said.
Today, Garvin said big rent hikes are necessary to keep up with market rates and increasing property taxes on the 53-unit building. According to Garvin, a 750 square-foot apartment at the Whitworth would rent in the $1,600-$1,700 range, which he said is still slightly below market rates. Currently the Whitworth has no open apartments.
A tenant living at the Lyric recently contacted CHS about a 15% increase at his 10th and John studio after his 12-month lease was up. Asher Cobin, a software developer, said he is currently renting a studio for $1,350, but when it came time to re-up found the rent would increase to $1,550. The Lyric is a CHS advertiser.
“I’m staying because it’s a great place and has great property management. No complaints,” he wrote in an email. “Yeah the increase sucks still though.”
The Lyric is currently listing a 491 square-foot studio on Craigslist for $1,557/month.
In July, CHS reported on soaring rents and occupancy rates in Capitol Hill, with rents rising 8.2% since April to $1,395 per unit and vacancies dipping below 3%. Vacancies in King County have also decreased with 4.4% of units vacant, down from 4.8% a year ago.
Rents in Seattle are actually skyrocketing faster than any other major metropolitan area in the U.S., according to commercial real estate research firm Reis. The New York-based firm found rents have gone up an average of 6% over the past 12 months.
As the renters that contacted CHS found, the numbers are much more drastic in Capitol Hill — the Reis report included all of King County and parts of Snohomish County, according to the Seattle Times.
With a slew of new apartments coming online next year, Garvin said he expects rents in older buildings to level out.