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Bellevue maintains highest Eastside median rent as others vary

The Eastside sees some of the biggest differences in median rent rate year to year.

Bellevue continues to hold the most expensive median one-bedroom rent in the greater Seattle metro area while other Eastside cities see varying changes in their own rent rates.

Growing by $30 from November 2018 to an average of $2,060 in December, Bellevue’s median rent is more than twice the median for the two least expensive cities in the 20-city report recently published by Zumper. The monthly “Seattle Metro Report” analyzes the median rent rates for 20 cities within the Seattle metro area including Bellevue, Redmond, Bothell, Kirkland and Sammamish.

The monthly Zumper rent reports only include data on the median asking rates of currently active online listings.

Eastside cities have had the most varying fluctuations in median rent rate over the past year, according to the report. While Redmond has had the second fastest growing rent during 2018, only 0.2 percent behind University Place’s 15.7 percent, Sammamish has seen the second fastest decreasing rent with a 14.9 percent dive in the median price.

Despite this, Sammamish also has seen the fastest month to month rent median increase between November and December 2018 with a 5.8 percent rise. That contrasts Kirkland, which has seen the fastest month to month decrease at 5.2 percent.

Zumper publishes monthly rent reports for large metro areas across the country. In the monthly Seattle report, Crystal Chen, the analyst behind each report, chooses the 20 cities based on how much data is available on each of their respective markets and the highest populations.

Across all the monthly reports, Zumper covers the top 100 most populated cities and 300 additional cities within the larger metro areas. Chen analyzes online apartment listings throughout the year and on a month-to-month basis. The latest report looks at changes within the month of December and from December 2017 to 2018.

“For many people, rent is their single largest expense every month. At Zumper, we believe in empowering people before they make a decision as fundamental as where they choose to live,” Zumper staff write about their methodology.

Chen added that the reports include new constructions and excludes listings that are no longer available or currently occupied. That gives the most accurate median price for available apartments on the market, she said.

“Some other data providers may adjust their calculations to reflect what renters are currently paying, but we want to reflect the open market,” Chen said. “If you were to move out tomorrow then [ours] would have a better picture of what you would be paying.”

Nationally, winter is a slow time for moving as many tenants don’t want to deal with moving in the cold and the rain, according to Gauthier van Sasse van Ysselt, regional account executive for the Seattle market. That is reflected in Chen’s national rent report, which ranks Seattle as the ninth highest one-bedroom median rent in the nation.

Seattle maintains a $1,900 median rent price, unchanging between November and December 2018, and a 5-percent increase during all of 2018. That’s above the state single-bedroom median rent of $1,263 during the time of the report, and the national median rent of $1,217.

“In this year specifically, I think we are seeing some oversupply in combination with that traditionally slow period… that’s causing people to offer concession, keep their rent the same or even decrease their rent,” van Ysselt said. “On the flip side, looking at a long term perspective, a majority of our 20 markets are experiencing growth and even double-digit growth… I think that rents will continue to be stable and grow in the long term.”

Van Ysselt added that the best way for consumers to keep up with the market is to stay in touch with reports and draw their own conclusions from the data.

“I think this information is extremely valuable when you’re making a decision on where to rent next and the price you’re going to be looking for and the markets to pay attention to,” van Ysselt said.

“On the flip side if you’re a landlord,” van Ysselt added. “This information can be extremely helpful as well because although they might have this information already, from an outside source to see how markets are changing month by month and year by year can provide some further insight to see if your rents are competitive or adjusting appropriately with the market.”

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