Market WatchSpokane InfoSpokane Investors December 23, 2022

Spokane Rental Market – What’s Going On And Will It Get Better?

Hello and welcome to my blog! My name is Brian Johnson and I am a real estate broker in Spokane, Washington. Recently, I’ve been receiving a lot of questions about the rental situation in Spokane. Why is it so bad? Why are rents so different all over the place? In this blog post, I want to delve into the numbers and provide some insight into what’s really going on with the rental market in Spokane.

First, let’s address the question of why rents are different in different areas. Just like with housing, location is a major factor in determining rent prices. A nicer building in a nicer area will naturally cost more to rent, as will a newer building or one with amenities such as a gym or good security. Additionally, proximity to transportation and overall safety can also play a role in rent prices. For example, an apartment close to public transportation may have lower rent prices than one located in a more desirable neighborhood.

Now, let’s look at the problem with rising rents in Spokane. According to a report by the Spokane Association of Realtors, in February 2021 fewer than 5% of homes in the area sold for less than $200,000, and less than 15% of the area’s employee population could afford to buy a home. This is a significant change from just five years ago, when over 50% of homes in Spokane sold for less than $200,000 and around 70% of the employee population could afford to buy a home.

One factor contributing to the rise in rent prices is an influx of out-of-towners with higher budgets. A survey by Redfin found that home buyers moving to Spokane in 2021 had a budget 23% higher than what locals had. With the pandemic bringing even more people to the area, the demand for housing has outstripped the supply, leading to higher rent prices.

Another factor contributing to the rental market in Spokane is the lack of new construction. The market was already tight before the pandemic, with Spokane experiencing tremendous employment growth and attracting national attention as a great place for relocation. However, the pandemic has slowed down new construction, further exacerbating the shortage of available housing.

So, what can be done about the rental situation in Spokane? One solution is to increase the supply of housing through new construction. This could include building more apartments, duplexes, and townhomes to meet the demand for rental properties. Additionally, relaxing zoning restrictions and promoting the development of accessory dwelling units (such as granny flats or basement apartments) could also help to increase the supply of housing.

In conclusion, the rental situation in Spokane is driven by a combination of factors, including location, amenities, and the demand for housing. The pandemic has exacerbated the already tight rental market, leading to higher rent prices. Increasing the supply of housing through new construction and relaxing zoning restrictions could help to alleviate some of the pressure on the rental market. If you’re thinking of moving to Spokane or making a move within the city, don’t hesitate to reach out to me for more information and assistance.