Rentonomics
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Research

Seattle Neighborhood Rent Map

By: Chris Salviati
January 16, 2020

After a decade of rapid rent growth, Seattle is now the tenth most expensive rental market among the nation’s large cities. That can make it a challenge for Seattle renters trying to find a bargain, but the city still has its share of affordable hidden gem neighborhoods. If you’re looking for a new place to call home in Seattle, the interactive rent map above can help you figure out which neighborhood is right for you.

In order to help Seattle apartment hunters make more informed decisions, we’ve crunched data on our extensive inventory of available units to unearth new insights on how rents vary across different parts of the city.1 Those who prioritize downtown living will have to pay a premium for the convenience and excitement that it offers. However, relatively affordable neighborhoods still exist, with great options for those willing to travel a bit further from the city center. 

Our Top Picks

Capitol Hill

Sitting just to the northeast of Belltown and Downtown, Capitol Hill is a buzzing, densely populated neighborhood that is among the city’s most popular. While it has much in common with the high-priced neighborhoods that it borders, the median one-bedroom rent in Capitol Hill is $1,750, which makes the area a great deal for the convenience and entertainment that it offers. 

However, this affordability advantage shrinks considerably when we control for unit size.2 For a 750 square foot unit, the one-bedroom median in Capitol Hill comes in at $2,250, the fourth highest price in the city for a unit of that size, and much closer to prices of nearby neighborhoods ($2,600 in Belltown; $2,425 in Downtown). This disparity is attributable to the small median unit size in Capitol Hill, so while it may be possible to find a relatively affordable apartment in Capitol Hill, it will most likely mean sacrificing on space.

Columbia City

Just north of Rainier Valley, Columbia City is a bit removed from the heart of downtown, but easy public transit access makes this a convenient neighborhood nonetheless. Dotted with historic homes and charming local businesses, Columbia City residents tend to feel a strong sense of community. Although the neighborhood has grown increasingly popular in recent years, a median one-bedroom rent of $1,625 indicates that there are still deals to be had in this part of the city. 

Wallingford

Wallingford is home to one of Seattle’s best attractions -- Gas Works Park, a former industrial site that has since been transformed into a delightful and inventive urban green space. Beyond the park, Wallingford boasts a variety of trendy restaurants and shops. With the University of Washington just to the east, Wallingford is popular with both students and families.  The median one-bedroom apartment in Wallingford rents for $1,825, significantly more affordable than what you’ll find on the other side of Lake Union.

Seattle’s Most Affordable Neighborhoods

1. Lake City

Seattle’s most affordable rents can be found in Lake City, a neighborhood situated in the northeast corner of the city, where the median one-bedroom apartment rents for $1,375. The more attainable price point makes Lake City one of the last neighborhoods in Seattle-proper to maintain a blue collar community.

Lake City is not as walkable or transit-friendly as Seattle’s downtown neighborhoods, but what the neighborhood lacks in convenience it makes up for with a quieter, more laid back lifestyle. Bars and restaurants are not as plentiful here as in the downtown neighborhoods, but they come without stress of worrying about crowds.

2. View Ridge / Laurelhurst

View Ridge / Laurelhurst sits just below Lake City and ranks as the city’s second most affordable neighborhood, with a one-bedroom median rent of $1,425. This is a peaceful residential area populated with large, well-manicured homes. As the name implies, parts of this neighborhood offer stunning views of Lake Washington and Mount Rainier. 

3. Greenwood / North Beach

Next on the list is the Greenwood / North Beach neighborhood in the northwest corner of the city, where the median one-bedroom rents for $1,450. A popular neighborhood among the city’s young families, this area has recently seen an increasing number of apartment buildings hit the market to offer options for those not yet ready for a single-family home. Local bars and restaurants are plentiful, but downtown can also be accessed quickly via Aurora Ave.  

4. Northgate

Northgate, which sits in between Lake City and Greenwood / North Beach, is tied for fourth most affordable with a median of $1,500. Despite being named for the nation’s first enclosed shopping mall -- the foremost symbol of suburban sprawl -- Northgate has grown significantly more dense in recent years. The neighborhood stands to benefit significantly from a planned extension to Seattle’s light rail system, with a major new station set to open in 2021.

5. Georgetown / Beacon Hill

Georgetown / Beacon Hill, which lies south of downtown, also has a median of $1,500 and is the only neighborhood among Seattle’s five most affordable which is not located in the city’s largely residential northern portion. One of the city’s most diverse neighborhoods, Beacon Hill offers great dining options across a variety of cuisines. Neighboring Georgetown is a former industrial area that is now full of chic art galleries and vintage shops.

Seattle’s Most Expensive Neighborhoods

1. Belltown

Belltown has Seattle’s most expensive rents, with a median price of $2,525 for one-bedroom apartments in the neighborhood. These high prices reflect the convenience of Belltown’s centrality, as well as the plentiful attractions that the neighborhood has to offer. It is one of Seattle’s most walkable neighborhoods, and offers easy access to the city’s public transit system. 

Despite its history as an affordable arts district, Belltown is now home to many of the city’s trendiest bars and restaurants, making it a hub of Seattle’s nightlife. Although Belltown is Seattle’s most densely populated neighborhood, the famed Olympic Sculpture Park offers a respite for quietly enjoying outdoor art and waterfront views. The neighborhood has experienced an influx of new multifamily development in recent years. These new luxury apartments hitting the market have contributed to Belltown’s high rent prices.

2. Lake Union

Just north of Belltown, Lake Union has a median one-bedroom rent of $2,250 making it the city’s second most expensive neighborhood. Home to Amazon’s headquarters, Lake Union has been transformed by Seattle’s tech boom more than perhaps any other neighborhood in the city. Demand from the company’s substantial workforce has driven up prices here, even as new condos and apartment buildings continue to hit the market.

3. Downtown

Downtown Seattle is home to the city’s central business district, as well as popular tourist destinations such as Pike Place Market and Pioneer Square. But being in the heart of it all will cost you -- the median one-bedroom apartment in Downtown rents for $2,200, making it Seattle’s third most expensive neighborhood. 

4. Interbay

Interbay is a thin strip of a neighborhood that sits between Magnolia and Queen Anne. Although much of it is taken up by a large railway yard and a golf course, a number of large development projects have recently begun to transform Interbay into a proper neighborhood. And those new units are commanding premium prices -- Interbay is Seattle’s fourth most expensive neighborhood with a median one-bedroom rent of $1,975. 

5. Lower Queen Anne 

Named for the signature architectural style that characterizes many of the neighborhood’s oldest homes, Lower Queen Anne rounds out the top five most expensive neighborhoods with Seattle, with a median one-bedroom rent of $1,950. Lower Queen Anne is a happy medium between the bustle of Belltown to the south and the rest of Queen Anne to the north, which is a more mellow residential area. This balance makes it a highly desirable destination for those who want easy access to downtown without necessarily living right in the thick of it.

Seattle is home to a variety of distinct neighborhoods, each with its own unique charms. Explore the interactive map above to compare median rents for neighborhoods throughout the city, and to see how overall medians compare to prices controlling for square footage. We hope this tool helps you find a neighborhood that’s right for you!

Methodology

Median rents are calculated based on data from one-bedroom apartments available for rent on Apartment List from October through December 2019. To estimate the median price for a 750 square foot unit, we calculate the price-per-square-foot at the unit level, take the median, and then multiply that median by 750. The benchmark of 750 square feet was chosen because it is the median unit size across all units city-wide.

The neighborhood-level rent estimates presented here are calculated using a different methodology than our monthly city-, state-, and national-level estimates available on our data download page. Those estimates supplement our listing data with additional data from the Census American Community Survey, with month-to-month changes estimated using a same-unit price change index. 

For more detail on this approach, see our methodology FAQ here. Our monthly estimates are intended to paint a more complete picture of the overall rental market, including rent growth. In contrast, this rent map is intended to reflect currently-available inventory on Apartment List, which we feel is valuable to renters in the midst of an active apartment search on our site.


  1. Note that our neighborhood level rent estimates are calculated based on a different methodology than our city-, state-, and national-level estimates available on our data download page. For more detail, see the methodology section.
  2. In addition to overall median prices, we have also calculated the median price-per-square-foot in each neighborhood in order to compare prices across neighborhoods for units of a consistent size. We present this data in terms of the median price for a 750 square foot unit, which is the median unit size of all one-bedroom apartments city-wide.
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