Seattle area one of the least affordable in the U.S. for renters

We’ve heard a lot lately about rising home prices in the Puget Sound region and how difficult it can be to buy a house here. But the alternative – renting – isn’t great either.

Renters in the Seattle area pay more than 31 percent of their income toward the rent, according to new data out Friday from online real estate company Zillow.

That’s more than the national average of 30 percent, and more than residents of Chicago, Philadelphia, Atlanta and Las Vegas. It’s also up sharply from the average for Seattle over the last 30 years.

Rising rents is a major issue in the Seattle area as some push for rent control laws and changes to the way the city handles affordable housing. There’s concern that the increase in rents will send many more people outside of the city, which puts a strain on the city’s already heavily used public transportation system.

Zillow suggests the answer is simpler: Buy a home.

People in Seattle pay only 22.7 percent of their income toward their mortgages. Of course, many people who own homes make more money than those who rent, so even if the mortgage payment is significantly more than renting, the percentage of a person’s income that goes to it would be less.

It’s also just not easy to buy a home in the Puget Sound region. There simply aren’t enough homes on the market to meet demand and real estate agents are having to be creative to help their clients find a place to buy.

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