Good luck, house hunters – Vacancy rates are at historic lows
Search for a house in Seattle? Good luck. Recent data from the US Census Bureau’s Vacant Homes Survey shows that vacancy rates in the rental and home purchase markets are the lowest since the 1980s (despite the unpredictable early years of the pandemic).
According to the survey, which examines data from the 75 largest metropolitan statistical areas, the rental housing vacancy rate in the first quarter of 2022 was just 5.8%, the lowest it has been between 1985 and 2020. The homeowner vacancy rate was 0.8%, a new pre-pandemic low in the survey’s 66-year history.
Look at the Washington state numbers, however, and it’s an even bleaker picture. In the first quarter of the year, our rental vacancy rate was 4.9% and our homeowner vacancy rate was 0.4%.
There is good news and bad news in this. Believe it or not, Washington’s most recent vacancy rate is actually an improvement from the last quarter of 2021 at 3.6%, one of the lowest among the states. This could mean an easing of the rapid rise in rents. The homeowner vacancy rate, on the other hand, is down steadily from a year ago, indicating that an already small amount of inventory is only getting tighter.
No one knows where the numbers go once the markets open up during the traditionally warmer spring and summer seasons.
And elsewhere in real estate news…
Now accepting transplants
According to Apartment List’s first quarter 2022 migration trend data, 33% of Seattle-area apartment hunters are looking to move out of town. Their most sought-after destinations? Portland, Spokane and Los Angeles. Fear not for our population: approximately 34% of out-of-town apartment seekers are looking to move here, primarily from San Francisco, Los Angeles and Portland. There is irony somewhere.
A new agency is coming to town
The agency, a luxury real estate brokerage with offices around the world, has just opened its new franchise here in Seattle. Coming from a company that boasts that its average sale price is $1.92 million, we have to assume that means more crazy real estate deals.
Capitol Hill apartment building files for IPO
Well, it’s new. Lex Markets recently announced that it will take the Solis apartment building on Capitol Hill public, the third building it will help make but the first residential. According to Capitol Hill Seattle, that could value the building at $33 million when it opens for trading.