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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Spokane second in nation for year-over-year rent increase

UPDATED: Thu., July 29, 2021

Large scale apartment complexes are shown on East Broadway Avenue in Spokane Valley on April 23. Spokane had the second-fastest monthly rent increases in the nation in June.  (Jesse Tinsley/THE SPOKESMAN-REVIEW)
Large scale apartment complexes are shown on East Broadway Avenue in Spokane Valley on April 23. Spokane had the second-fastest monthly rent increases in the nation in June. (Jesse Tinsley/THE SPOKESMAN-REVIEW)

Spokane had the second-fastest year-over-year rent increase in the nation in July, according to a recent report by Apartment List.

The Spokane metro area’s rents increased 3.2% this month compared with June and are up 29.3% over the same time last year, Apartment List reported. It’s a rental-listing site that compiles rental data nationwide.

Boise had the greatest year-over-year rent increase in the nation at 33%.

Median rents in Spokane in July were $977 for a one-bedroom apartment and $1,343 for a two-bedroom unit.

July marks the eighth straight month the Lilac City has experienced rent increases. Spokane’s year-over-year rent growth leads the state average of 6.9% and the national average of 10.3%, Apartment List reported.

Experts say Spokane’s rapidly rising rents are accelerated, in part, by the pandemic and remote workers seeking more space and affordability found in midsized cities – especially those close to larger West Coast metros, such as Seattle, San Francisco and Portland.

“When we looked across the country, the spots that had the most affordable rents prior to the pandemic have been the places with the fastest rent growth during the pandemic,” said Igor Popov, chief economist at Apartment List.

Spokane has “a perfect storm” of factors leading to rent growth: close proximity to Seattle, housing that’s affordable compared with bigger coastal cities, outdoor activities and a growing technology-startup sector, Popov said.

That dynamic is further fueled by housing demand outpacing supply, meaning potential homebuyers unable to purchase a home are likely remaining in the rental market. Some of those homebuyers are remote workers earning higher salaries.

“In surveys, one of the main factors remote workers say they want is a place where they can afford a home,” Popov said. “If they are moving from a big coastal market, places like Boise, Spokane and Tacoma heat up as a result.”

Spokane has a 0.5% apartment vacancy rate for all unit types, according to the Washington Center for Real Estate Research’s Spring 2021 apartment market survey.

Nationally, rental inventory remains tight in many cities across the country , according to Apartment List.

The first half of 2021 has seen the fastest growth in rent prices nationwide since Apartment List began recording data in 2017.

The national median rent for all unit types is $1,244, Apartment List reported.

As economic recovery from the pandemic continues to gain momentum, the rental market may be seeing a release of pent-up demand from those who were delaying moves last year, according to Apartment List.

“Right now, we’re at this moment where there has just been a massive jump in the number of households out in the market,” Popov said. “During the pandemic, we saw a lot of households consolidate.

“We saw young, unmarried adults move back in with family,” he continued. “Those struggling banded together to form bigger households. Now, we are seeing that unravel a bit.”Amy Edelen can be reached at (509) 459-5581 or at amye@spokesman.com.

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