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Seattle rental vacancies about as low as they can go

Divine Harvester

Seattle area landlords are breathing a sigh of relief these days due to dropping rental vacancies. Real estate appraiser Richard Hagar tells KPLU's  John Maynard that two forces are driving this.

Why the low rental rates?

  • The first reason for the low rental rates of five to six percent in the Seattle core has to do with more people moving to Washington. (Historically, he says, the lowest rental vacancies go is four to five percent.) Hagar says recent population studies show that about 65,000 people moved to Washington in 2010 and that number is expected to increase in 2011. He says that speaks well of our relatively stable economy.
  • The second reason for the low rental rates is not so rosy: Hundreds of people are pouring into the rental market after losing their homes due to foreclosure. Meanwhile, their homes can't be rented because they're owned by the bank.

Hagar says there are also places outside of Seattle that are experiencing a low rental rates, including Puyallup, Marysville and North Bend.
According to The Seattle Times, Washington grew faster than the nation as a whole and two-thirds of the states, based on recently released census figures. The state is now home to 6.7 million people, nearly double its population 40 years ago.


John Maynard started working in radio in the seventies as a DJ at Seattle’s KJR AM which at the time was the dominant AM station in the Seattle market. After a brief stint as a restaurateur and night club owner, Maynard returned to radio with Robin Erickson, creating the hugely popular “Robin and Maynard Show.” In the more than 20 years under that marquee, Maynard flew with the Blue Angels, piloted the Goodyear Blimp, sang with Donny Osmond and hung out in a Universal Studios bar with Kojak (Telly Savalas).
Richard Hagar's real estate career spans more than 30 years. He currently serves as a real estate investor, real estate agent, appraiser, and an SRA with the Appraisal Institute.