Nested’s 2017 Rental Affordability Index ranked Seattle fifth in a nationwide survey of cities and ninth worldwide, with a cost per square foot of $3.07. Monthly rent for a single person, according to the survey, is $1,288.76—so a single person needs to earn around $53,000 a year to afford living in the city. The numbers jump up for a family of four: $2,445.34 in rent, with a $101,186.48 salary to afford it.
San Francisco took the top spot both nationally and worldwide, with an $85,985.38 required just to support a single person. Other cities that ranked higher than Seattle include New York, Boston, and the other Washington—although we rank higher than London, Miami, Chicago, and Vancouver, BC.
Zumper’s February 2017 report ranked us not quite as high nationwide, but we still landed in tenth place. The median rent, according to Zumper, is higher than the rent by Nested’s methodology: $1,790.
One thing is clear about the rent here, though: It’s high, and most Seattle renters don’t need a study to figure it out.
There are some renters who have not yet purchased a home because they are uncomfortable taking on the obligation of a mortgage. Everyone should realize that, unless you are living with your parents rent free, you are paying a mortgage – either yours or your landlord’s.
As an owner, your mortgage payment is a form of ‘forced savings’ that allows you to build equity in your home that you can tap into later in life. As a renter, you guarantee your landlord is the person with that equity.