Longtime tenants get the boot from upgrades, soaring rents
Recent sales of older Seattle apartment buildings are displacing longtime tenants as the rent jumps to match modern apartment amenities.
Seattle Times business reporter
Average rents in region’s biggest cities
These were the asking monthly rents and annual increases for a 1-bedroom, 1-bath apartment in August, before landlord concessions.
Seattle: $1,484, up 8.6 %
Bellevue: $1,665, 6.9%
Kent: $886, 8.6%
Everett: $1,066, 9.2%
Renton: $1,087, 9.8%
Federal Way: $844, 5.2%
Kirkland: $1,374, 9.6%
Redmond: $1,457, 12%
Source: Apartment Insights Washington
From her terrace overlooking South Lake Union, Helen Goehring has watched construction cranes and new high-rises mushroom on the horizon in Seattle’s latest economic boom.
Goehring, 82, knew many city residents were facing steep rent hikes, forcing some to move.
This month she and about 200 fellow residents at the Panorama House apartment building on First Hill learned they too will join the ranks of the displaced. New owners plan to thoroughly renovate the 1962 building — meaning higher future rents — so residents must leave by early next year.
The Panorama’s sale comes as Seattle’s mayor and City Council seek ways to keep older market-rate apartments affordable.
In Seattle, September’s average apartment rent climbed 10.3 percent from a year ago, to $1,485, according to market research firm Dupre+Scott. The average apartment rent in King and Snohomish counties was $1,293, up 8.9 percent.
“The only way I could remain in the neighborhood is dramatically downsizing” from a two-bedroom unit to a studio,” Goehring said. “That’s really hard because it means letting go of my treasures — my antiques.”
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