Rising rents and limited opportunities: Black renters feeling the pinch

Rents across the central Puget Sound region moved skyward over the last decade, driven by demand from a robust economy, particularly in the technology sector, as well as limited housing supply.

A new Puget Sound Trend looks at how rising rents have affected people of color, especially Black renters.

While rents showed signs of softening in late 2022, typical rents for the Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue metro area rose from $1,498 in 2015 to $2,236 in 2022, an increase of 49% or 6% per year.

Although the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic provided renters some relief, rising rents over the past two years erased those savings, with Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) renters being hit the hardest.

Due to systemic racism, income disparities and limited opportunity to build generational
wealth, BIPOC renters (especially Black renters) have fewer affordable housing opportunities than other racial or ethnic groups in the region.

The majority of low- and moderate-income renters, who are disproportionately BIPOC, continue to spend more than 30% of their income on housing.

BIPOC households tend to pay a greater share of their income on housing than white households, highlighting ongoing racial disparities in access to housing.

Cost burden varies by the race and ethnicity of households, underscoring current and historic inequities in income, wealth, and access to housing.

Overall, Black, Hispanic or Latinx and Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander households are more likely to be cost-burdened. The majority of these households pay more than 30% of their incomes on housing.

 Find more data on how rising rents have affected people of color in the new Puget Sound Trend.