Greater Capitol Hill will be home to at least 600 new apartment units in 2015 as the most recent wave of ongoing construction projects finally finish up. A recent report from Dupre+Scott Apartment Advisors projects 729 new units will open in 2016 and 707 in 2017.
In all likelihood, the true number will be even higher as the Dupre+Scott report doesn’t count microhousing, subsidized/nonprofit housing, or buildings that have under 20 units.
Last year, the real estate analysts counted 778 new units in the Capitol Hill region, which includes Eastlake and First Hill. Across the Puget Sound, a record total of 12,000 apartments are expected to open this year, Scott said. Some 48,000 apartments are expected to open in the region by 2019.
So can all this new supply keep up with demand and put the brakes on climbing rents?
“Who knows,” Mike Scott says in the report. “In the past five years new demand averaged just over 6,000 units a year. That won’t work.”
So far, demand seems insatiable. Vacancy rates in the region are still declining to historical lows and the flood of new units already online haven’t yet translated into overall cheaper rents.
Rents in the region rose 7.4% in the last year, though that appears to finally be slowing down, according to Scott.
The new wave of openings across Capitol Hill probably won’t be of immediate help. The Beryl Apartments slated to open at 12th and Pike are advertising 580-square-feet, one-bedroom units starting at $1,300. Around the corner at 10th and Union, the gargantuan Broadstone Infinity building with its larger units is advertising one-bedroom apartments around 900 square-feet for around $2,200 a month. Its smaller one-bedroom units are listed for $1,850.
Dupre+Scott found that average one-bedroom rents on Capitol Hill and the Central Area were currently around $1,425 to $1,533, as detailed by the Seattle Times.
Last year, Seattle had the fastest rising rents among major U.S. cities and rents on Capitol Hill were rising even faster. CHS reported that average rent in the neighborhood had reached $1,557, a 12% increase in just one year.
Meanwhile, Mayor Ed Murray’s affordability task force is trying to work out how to build 20,000 more affordable units in the next decade. City Council member Kshama Sawant is also making affordable housing one of her key issues heading into this year’s race to represent District 3.
Later this month an Affordable Housing Town Hall will be held at City Hall.
By May, the mayor’s Housing Affordability and Livability Advisory Committee has been tasked with delivering recommendations on how best to make it easier for people to continue calling Seattle home.
— Grasping At Straws (@JasonCaley) April 4, 2015