Seattle's Exodus of Rental Properties Continues

Posted By: Jim Wiard (deleted) Advocacy News, Articles, Industry Trends,

We are only six months into 2022, but the trend of housing providers leaving the Seattle market hasn’t slowed down. According to the latest data from Seattle’s Rental Property Registration database, Seattle continues to experience a decline in rental housing, with a net loss of 313 properties and added 240 units since January 2022.

Of the properties lost between January and June, 118 are single-family homes. Ed Doyne and Lorraine Weeks are small, individual housing providers that will soon join this statistic.

They’ve provided rental housing at fair prices to anyone who needed it for the past 30 years. The city’s burdensome regulations make it too difficult for them to continue so, they are opting to leave the market.

“We are selling because we are tired of dealing with the city of Seattle and its poor attitude towards housing providers,” Ed said. “So far, we have sold three of our four single-family rental homes in West Seattle. The latest one, in May, is now owned by a young couple with a newborn. Great for them as new homeowners, but bad for rental housing inventory!”

Ed and Lorraine are just one example of many small housing providers being pushed out of the city by growing piles of counterproductive laws that restrict housing options. The result is an ongoing departure of rental housing as people sell and leave the market. These homes typically become owner-occupied, rather than continuing as a rental. Seattle City Council needs to place an immediate hold on all new rental housing ordinances until the full picture of their damage to the rental housing market can be assessed. Mayor Harrell’s recent decision to veto CB 120325, requiring housing providers to report the rent they charge shows that we are moving a step in the right direction.

WMFHA releases an update on Seattle’s rental housing situation by analyzing new and lapsed registrations in the RRIO database.