Seattle Renters feel the squeeze

on Friday, 22 August 2014.

Renters in Seattle are seeing some of the most startling sticker shock in the country.

According to new analysis from economists at Zillow, the online housing marketplace, the average renter is spending about 30 percent of their take-home pay just to keep a rented roof over their head.

Seattle's rent affordability is worse than the national average, adding to a housing affordability crunch that Zillow said also includes home buying affordability. Currently, with mortgage interest rates under 4 percent, Seattle homeowners spend about 21 percent of their monthly income on mortgage payments. If rates were to spike to 5, 6 or 7 percent, Seattleites will spend about 30 percent of their pay on monthly mortgages.

In its new analysis on rental costs, Zillow said the median U.S. household would historically need to spend 24.9 percent of their income to afford the rent on the median property. Currently that number stands at 29.6 percent. That means that renters across the nation are currently spending almost 19 percent more of their incomes on rent than they did in the pre-bubble period between 1985 and 2000.

But while rental prices have become increasingly less affordable in the Emerald City, things could be worse. In cities such as Los Angeles, Miami and San Francisco, the average household would need to spend more than 40 percent of their income to rent the average home.

Nationally, the share of income that households must devote to rent has increased steadily and consistently since 2000, as the increase in rent has dramatically outpaced the growth in income over the same period. Over the period from 2000 to 2014, median household income has increased by 25.4 percent, while rents have increased over 52.8 percent more than twice as much. With new data that shows just how unaffordable home purchases have become for many potential buyers, housing affordability has become a dramatic economic issue for many people looking for housing.

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There are no words to say how much you did for us and how much you helped us, you basically saved us.
B. A.
I want to say a huge thank you.  It feels a million times better knowing where we will be living, that we don't have to move, and I can actually afford to live here.  My life is no longer on hold, and we have been able to make plans for the first time in ages. There is no more black cloud of uncertainty hanging over my head always, waiting for the bank to dictate so much of my life. Thank you, thank you, thank you!
C. K.
Thank you for taking the time to talk to me and put my heart at rest! I look forward to working with you to stay in our home.  I have an appointment with a housing counselor your referred us to and I will give you an update once that occurs.  Again, it meant so very much to me that you took the time to give me hope.
A. F.