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In Seattle’s overpriced housing market, some opt to rent indefinitely – Crosscut

The average rent for a one-bedroom in Seattle is $2,418. A two-bedroom is $3,573. But those figures pale in comparison with the mortgage payments for a median-priced, $860,000 home in Seattle. To afford that, a buyer would likely ow…….

The average rent for a one-bedroom in Seattle is $2,418. A two-bedroom is $3,573. But those figures pale in comparison with the mortgage payments for a median-priced, $860,000 home in Seattle. To afford that, a buyer would likely owe more than $5,500 each month.

For some Seattle renters, the math just doesn’t add up anymore. Despite the advantages of homeownership, the financial leap can seem illogical, even if they likely could pull the money together to buy.

Arlen Proctor loves living on First Hill. He appreciates that he can walk most places, that the streets are bustling with a diverse cross-section of Seattleites, that he has easy access to the food and music scene and community of Capitol Hill.

Proctor loves it so much that he and his partner, Jennifer, have lived there for 12 years, in the same apartment. It’s no coincidence that Arlen and Jennifer’s stability has coincided with the rare good fortune of having a landlord who has barely raised the rent while they’ve lived there. He recognizes that’s a particularly lucky “roll of the dice” in a city where rents have risen dramatically over the past decade and people are often left in the lurch by multi-hundred-dollar-a-month rent increases.  


This story is part of a Crosscut focus on housing: Making Seattle Home


Proctor and his partner keep their eye on Redfin and Zillow and could likely afford to buy a house if they moved to the far edges of the city or into the suburbs. But paying significantly more each month to live in a suburban neighborhood holds little appeal.

“For me the idea of moving to a single-family residential neighborhood surrounded by other houses is the exact opposite of diverse living,” said Proctor. “You have to go pretty far to buy a house for $700,000-$800,000. It’s just a number on some level, but it’s a strange sort of mental hoop to jump through to convince yourself it’s worth it.”

Similarly, they could probably find a condo, but the tradeoff would likely be a smaller home with a higher monthly payment. The median condo sale price in Seattle is about $505,000 right now, according to Redfin.

Ultimately, Proctor said, the motivation to move would likely come from factors beyond their control, like their landlord having a change of heart about rents or selling the building to someone who dramatically increases their rent.

For Karan Goel, the cost of homebuying mixed with a sense of uncertainty keeps him from making the leap from renting to homeownership.

As a software engineer, he could make a mortgage work, but he doesn’t think it makes sense to lock himself …….

Source: https://crosscut.com/news/2022/09/seattles-overpriced-housing-market-some-opt-rent-indefinitely

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