Seattle and Tacoma were among the 50 most competitive rental markets in the US in 2021

Written by Desmond

December 20, 2021

Apartment buildings in downtown Seattle by the waterfront.

Seattle and Tacoma were among the top 50 most competitive rental markets in 2021, according to an end-of-the-year report from RentCafe, a nationwide internet listing service.  

Tacoma cracked the top 10 as the eighth most competitive rental market this year. Vacant apartments stayed on the market for an average of 23 days, the report said, and for every vacant apartment there was an average of 24 prospective renters.

Seattle’s rental market last year was a bit cooler than Tacoma’s. Vacant apartments stayed on the market for an average of 32 days, the report said, and for every vacant apartment there was an average of 16 prospective renters. Those figures made Seattle the 35th most competitive rental market in 2021.

Nationally, the report found that a rental stayed on the market for 28 days and had 14 prospective renters on average in 2021.  

The top 20 most competitive rental markets in the U.S. in 2021, according to RentCafe’s end-of-the-year report. You can see Tacoma at spot eight. 

The rapid rate in which apartments went off the market — as well as the large number of interested renters — isn’t surprising given the occupancy rates in the two Western Washington cities.

Tacoma is almost at capacity, with an occupancy rate of 97.3%. Seattle is just below that, with 95.2% occupancy. High occupancy rates mean prospective renters are limited in their choices and are usually quick to take what’s available.

The report also factored in the median credit score of those applying to gauge a market’s competitiveness. The average credit score nationally among renters last year was 640, the report said. The average credit score of a prospective renter in Tacoma last year was 644, the report said, while the average credit score of a prospective renter in Seattle last year was 677.

Overall, the report found that Eugene, Oregon, was the most competitive rental market in 2021. Vacant apartments there stayed on the market for an average of 24 days and had an average of 30 prospective renters per vacant unit. The average credit score among all those renters was 670.  

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