In the metro Seattle area, some rental market analysts project that demand for rental apartments will outpace supply in the year 2012. O’Connor Consulting Group reports that vacancies in Seattle, Bellevue, and Everett declined by 1.5%, from 5.7% at the end of 2009 to 4.2% at the end of 2010.
Vacancy rates may fall to 3.3% by the end of this year and continue to decrease through 2012, until new apartment units are completed to meet increasing demand. Between the years 2007 and 2009, apartment rental rates decreased by a whopping 10.3%, and many lessors lowered rents and offered move-in specials to fill units. The game may be shifting in favor of lessors, if O’Connor’s projections materialize.
In downtown Seattle, O’Connor Consulting wonders if rents may go up by as much as 20 percent over the next 5 years, since few new complexes are scheduled to open in the very near future. Currently, Belltown’s Alto Apartments‘ studio units are small (600-square-feet) but come padded with amenities. Rent is estimated around $1,500 a month. Whether or not there will be enough takers may foretell the story of rental occupancy in the next few years.