Steepest Rent Increases in America? SEATTLE!


Destroying affordable housing to build luxury condos for the rich isn’t working. Incentive zoning isn’t working. Passing resolutions stating intent to act isn’t working. Handwringing isn’t working. Intellectual dishonesty on inclusionary zoning isn’t working. Ignoring the problem and its victims isn’t working. Passing a housing levy smaller than those for education, parks, libraries, schools, and just about everything else isn’t working.

This is no coincidence. This is a crisis we have consciously and deliberately created and exacerbated. We talk a good “progressive” game, but we don’t walk the walk. We are liberal on social issues but not economic ones. How much more homelessness, poverty, and human suffering must we create before finally acting to end it?

Simple. Between 2010 and 2013, Seattle renters took a bigger hit to their pocketbooks than renters in any other large U.S. city. The gross median rent here — that is, rent plus utilities — spiked by $113, or nearly 11 percent. That’s the sharpest rise in rent among the nation’s 50 most-populous cities.

Seattle is the only large city where rents jumped by more than $100, and by more than 10 percent, in this period.