High-income renter population growing fast in Seattle


    Barb White

    High earners are the fastest-growing segment of the renter population, and that trend is most obvious in Seattle.

    Compared to 10 years ago, more than seven times as many high-income Seattleites rent. A total of 21,300 renters make over $150,000 per year, according to a new study by RENTCafé.com, compared to 2,900 in 2007.

    Homeowners in Seattle making more than $150,000, meanwhile, have also grown in number, but not nearly as quickly, just doubling the size of their ranks from 2007 to 2017.

    Though the growth of wealthy renters has been large in Seattle, it doesn't necessarily tell the whole story. Rich renters only make up 12 percent of the city's 175,000 renters. Plus, nearly three-times as many high-income earners are homeowners, with a total of 63,800.

    Seattle's total population of high-income renters is dwarfed by New York City, which has by far the largest high-income renter population at 249,000.

    San Francisco also boasts a rich renter population that is larger than wealthy homeowners, with a total of 71,400 high-income renters compared to 62,400 high-income owners.

    Still, the population of high-income renters is undeniably growing in Seattle -- and significantly faster than the national average. In 2007, high-income individuals made up just 2 percent of the renter population nationwide. In 2017, that number jumped to 4.9 percent.

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