When Jimmy McMillan announced his candidacy for mayor of New York in 2005 under the “Rent is Too Damn High” party it quickly went viral and amused New Yorkers — and renters in expensive cities — everywhere.
And while it was a funny campaign, there was definitely some truth to it. Sometimes the rent is too damn high.
According to the most recent numbers by Zumper’s National Rent Report, Seattle ranks No. 10 when it comes to the median price of a one-bedroom apartment at $1,600 in March.
Of course, our friends in San Francisco and New York, No. 1 and 2, would sneer at this figure. After all, their median one-bedrooms are $3,400 and $3,000 respectively. Other tech hotbeds, including Oakland and San Jose, also outpace Seattle in the average median rent. In fact, our average one-bedroom dropped from its February price of $1,630 per month.
Yet affordable housing, along with transportation issues, are two of the most important issues fast-growing cities face. And while Seattle continues to grow — and new apartments are being built to accommodate the influx — it will be interesting to see how this all plays out. Will Seattle become another San Fran or New York? Or we will start to make the changes necessary (stabilizing some rental properties; building decent public transport) to keep a dynamic and diverse population within our city limits?
According to the Stranger, which covers affordable housing issues closely, the city needs to “build 70,000 new housing units to keep up with growth — 27,000 of those must be affordable for those making $50,000 or less,” and a committee is tasked with coming up with some sort of solution to present by the end of May.
Now McMillan’s famous video, which is just too damn good to pass up: