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Annual Apartment List renter survey gives Spokane a C-plus

UPDATED: Wed., Jan. 17, 2018

Thousands of apartment units have been built or are under construction along Indiana Parkway, east of the Spokane Valley Mall, in Spokane Valley, on Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2017. (Jesse Tinsley / The Spokesman-Review)
Thousands of apartment units have been built or are under construction along Indiana Parkway, east of the Spokane Valley Mall, in Spokane Valley, on Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2017. (Jesse Tinsley / The Spokesman-Review)

The renters of Spokane have spoken: We’re average.

The third annual Apartment List survey of renter satisfaction, which drew from 45,000 responses nationwide, ranked Spokane in 11 different categories. Overall, the city got a C-plus.

The city’s other grades varied wildly, without one A on the report card.

Considering the median rent for a two-bedroom apartment is far below the nation’s – the survey says it’s $870 compared to $1,160 – you’d think Spokane might’ve been graded on a curve. According to the Zillow Rent Index, the median rent in Spokane for a two-bedroom apartment in November was $990.

Jobs and career opportunities, and public transit, earned the highest grades at a B-plus. Those were followed by recreational activities, affordability, quality of schools, and state and local taxes.

The lowest grade Spokane received was in social life, an F. Other “areas of concern,” as the survey said, are pet-friendliness, weather, commute time and safety.

Tami Dolson is a residential property manager with Goodale & Barbieri Co., which manages more than 1,300 rental units, from affordable housing to market-rate luxury units. Dolson said she thinks Spokane’s grade should be higher.

“I live in Liberty Lake and I work downtown. It takes me 20 minutes to get to work,” she said. “I’ve lived in cities that have taken an hour and a half.”

Dolson, who grew up in the area, said crime is an issue for her, but otherwise, Spokane is stellar.

“I was one of those kids who said I’m leaving Spokane as soon as I can. And guess what? I’m back,” she said, pointing to the weather and proximity to outdoor recreation as reasons for her return. “I missed my four seasons.”

Compared to other Washington cities, Spokane is – again – average, with Tacoma garnering the same overall score from renters. Vancouver fared worse, but Seattle, Bellevue and Renton outperformed the Lilac City.

“Spokane did relatively poorly compared to cities nationwide,” said the survey, noting that multiple cities are better than Spokane according to the nation’s renters, of which there are 111 million. Among them are Dallas, Chicago, Charlotte, North Carolina; Scottsdale, Arizona; Irvine, California; Boulder, Colorado; and Ann Arbor, Michigan.

The cities with the worst grades include Tallahassee, Florida; Stockton, California; Dayton, Ohio; Detroit; and Newark, New Jersey.

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