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Most rents in the Seattle area are stagnating – but falling for cheaper apartments and those in West Seattle :REAL ESTATE

The coronavirus pandemic has caused most rents in the Seattle region to stagnate, despite falling on the cheapest housing, according to analyst RealPage. One quarter – West Seattle – is experiencing particularly severe cuts, according to landlords and property managers, but not only because of the pandemic.

Overall, asking rents in the Seattle-Bellevue-Everett region in May were almost the same as a year ago, averaging just under $ 1,900, while pre-pandemic rents in the region rose nearly 5% year-over-year. RealPage deals with effective asking rents, including advertised discounts, offered by landlords and property managers to tempt new tenants to sign a contract, such as a month’s free rent.

The large decline was one of the cheapest properties where asking rents fell 0.8% year-over-year in May to an average of $ 1,518. Rents for apartments near Boeing offices and factories in Renton and Everett also fell by up to 3.1%. The company recently announced plans to cut nearly 10,000 jobs in Washington State.

Even so, even national landlords with huge luxury portfolios sweeten businesses to sign contracts. A nationwide eviction moratorium and a ban on rent increases kept tenants in their apartments and slowed down demand.

Essex Property Trust, which owns 10,343 apartments in the Seattle area, offers two to four weeks of free property rental. Equity Residential, which owns 8,442 homes near Seattle, saw a 50% drop in traffic and leads in March and a 20% decrease in April, according to the Securities and Exchange Commission. Equity offers $ 99 security deposits and enables new tenants to end leases without penalty if they lose their job in the first three months.

The amount that tenants actually pay could even be less than the advertised offers. Average rents for new leases in the Seattle area decreased 4.5% year-over-year in May as apartment managers offered unannounced concessions and negotiated rental rents to fill vacancies, according to RealPage.

Despite the largest job loss in almost a century, rent payments have not dropped significantly, mainly because state and federal corona virus assistance has been provided to the unemployed. According to the National Multifamily Housing Council, roughly the same percentage of tenants make payments across the country in June as in 2019.

They can still pay rent either with their stimulus check or with their employment.Said Dana Frank, who owns properties in Capitol Hill, the Central District and Columbia City. “People still have income.”

In West Seattle, landlords and tenants say that the greatest pressure on rents is not the pandemic, but a simultaneous crisis: the closure of the West Seattle Bridge.

The bridge, which carried 100,000 cars and 25,000 transit drivers daily, was closed on March 23 after the engineers discovered rapidly growing cracks. According to a study commissioned by the city, the structure could collapse if it is not stretched soon.

Even while ordering at home, closing the bridge growls traffic and extends commuting to residents of West Seattle who still need to go to the office. The bridge is expected to remain closed until at least 2022.

In my 30 years as a building owner, I have never seen what I experience in West Seattle, ”said landlord Morris Groberman, who owns four buildings in West Seattle and several dozen other apartments in the region. “It is absolutely bleak.”

In his homes in West Seattle, he offers one month of free rent and six months of free parking for new tenants. In one building, the Nelsonian, he cut rents by 5%. Another, the Windhill, was expecting to rent two-bedroom units for nearly $ 2,500 after the renovation. Instead, they fetch $ 2,050. On the 30-unit garden terrace in the heart of the Alaska Junction, he has not been able to fill five vacant units in the past three months, he said.

The vacancy rate in his entire portfolio is below 2% and the signing of the contract has remained stable despite the pandemic. “It’s just West Seattle that pains me a lot.”

Sierra Slade moved from Anchorage to West Seattle in early March to take up a new job as a commercial insurer. She rented a two-bedroom, two-bathroom Alaska Junction apartment and was certain she could find a roommate to cover the cost of her $ 2,000 rental agreement.

Despite nearly a dozen calls to interested roommates, she said that no one wanted to brave the commute when they returned to work.

It will go very well and then they will say, “Oh, I have planned my way to work and I don’t want to be that far because of the closure of the bridge,” she said. The double rent payment, she said, comes from her savings.

Other tenants in West Seattle are fleeing the neighborhood.

West Seattle renter John Cannon, a XPO Logistics driver, said he was trying to terminate his lease in favor of a new location near his Renton office after the bridge’s closure inflated its one-way traffic from 20 to 90 minutes would have.

I went through the West Seattle Bridge building from 1981 to 1984 and it was a nightmare, ”he said. “I’m not going through this again.”

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