Red hot rentals: Seattle’s South Lake Union now more expensive than some San Francisco neighborhoods

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A comparison between rental prices in San Francisco and Seattle

Rental rates are creeping up in Seattle’s South Lake Union neighborhood, surpassing prices in even some of the hottest neighborhoods in San Francisco.

According to an analysis by online real estate company Trulia, the median rental price per bedroom in South Lake Union comes in at a whopping $2,248. That makes it the most expensive area in Seattle’s downtown core. And, as the map above shows, it even tops some of the hot spots in San Francisco like Noe Valley and the Mission.

medianrent111Of course, there’s one primary reason that South Lake Union — a once dilapidated corner of town filled with seedy night clubs and warehouses — is now thriving. Amazon.com started moving into the neighborhood in 2010, and it hasn’t looked the same since. Coffee shops, trendy restaurants and food trucks now line the busy streets, making it one of the fastest-growing parts of the city. Meanwhile, Amazon is gobbling up more land near its headquarters, as its worldwide headcount came in at nearly 110,000.

This sort of rental boom is exactly what is getting folks in San Francisco fired up, in which members of the City by the Bay have turned against the city’s new wealthy class of tech workers. The issue was highlighted this week when venture capitalist Tom Perkins penned an ill-timed essay in which he compared the scrutiny against the tech workers to the persecution of Jews in Nazi Germany.

Seattle has seen a bit of this anti-tech sentiment too, with undercurrents brewing as old landmarks get knocked down for condos and apartments and rents rise. Two years ago, someone went so far as to hang flyers on telephone poles in South Lake Union, asking folks to take the so-called “Am-hole Quiz.”

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A closer look at South Lake Union rentals. Click on image for expanded view.

But it hasn’t elevated to the level of vitriol in San Francisco, where many ordinary citizens outside of the tech boom feel pinched.

All of the activity in South Lake Union and beyond, is driving up rents throughout Seattle. According to Trulia, rents jumped by 8.9 percent during the month of December in Seattle when compared to the same month last year. That’s higher than the national average of three percent, but not quite on pace with San Francisco’s torrid 10.6 percent price jump.

Meanwhile, across the board, a 2-bedroom apartment in Seattle is about half as much as San Francisco.

So, for all of you entrepreneurs out there, think about that when starting your next tech company.

  • guest@gmail.com

    Are we sure it is Amazon or could it be from the SLUT?

  • That Guy

    Tom Perkins is an asshole, and so are his techie spawn. Believe me, most of Seattle wishes you’d move back to California where you came from.

    • That Other Guy

      And those of us that were born, raised, and schooled here that work in the tech field. Are we not welcome?

      • Guest

        Yes, you are not.

        What you did to the Native Americans (“Uff da! Let’s put a Fred Meyer here!”) the techs are doing to you. Thanks for keeping it warm for them.

  • Eastlake

    It seems like SLU is mislabeled as Eastlake & Eastlake is mislabeled as Montlake?

    • Lee

      Looks like there is a general trend indicating a migration of neighborhoods in a southwesterly direction. I expect we’ll see Ravenna and the U-district on this map next month.

      • PS_Madrona

        No kidding. They put downtown in the ID, practically on Beacon Hill.