Housing in Seattle

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This page contains links to housing resources collected by the members of the 2001 and 2002 Orientation Committees. It has been updated periodically. The information here was accurate to the best of our knowledge at the time it was posted, but we make no guarantees. :) We hope you find it helpful!

NOTE: As of July 2004, it is a renter's market in Seattle.

General Information

The housing market in Seattle is pretty good these days. Tenants only have to give 20 days notice, so landlords are only guaranteed to know about vacancies that far in advance (i.e. the 10th of the month for an opening occurring the 1st of the next month). This means the best time to look for a new place is just after the 10th of the month before you want the lease to start. There's not a lot of point in looking earlier, except to get a feel for the neighborhoods and the housing stock. The very best apartments in a price range will be taken first, but don't feel pressured. There's a lot of housing out there in Seattle.

Do be aware of your rights as a leasee. No one can make you sign a lease for more than one year. As always, read the lease carefully, and make sure you understand what you're agreeing to. By law, the landlord has to give you some information about renters' rights, and usually a disclosure about lead paint. If he or she doesn't, be a little wary of the situation. Make sure everything seems to be on the up and up.

Where to look


Craigslist http://seattle.craigslist.org/apa/ has an amazing number of listings, lots of them by regular folk rather than apartment management companies. There's also a portion of the site for shared housing, where you can find roommates and single rooms for rent: http://seattle.craigslist.org/roo/


Padmapper http://padmapper.com plots apartment listings from a variety of sources (unfortunately not Craigslist, anymore) on a Google Map. You can apply filters to the listings, and also add overlays (e.g., public transit) to the map. An iPad / iPhone app is also available.

The Seattle Times

The Seattle Times, http://www.seattletimes.com , our local newspaper, has an extensive classified section. The rental ads are here: http://classifieds.nwsource.com/rentals/. Ads are updated daily, although the biggest crop comes out on Saturday night/Sunday morning.

The Seattle Weekly

Another newspaper with rental listings, http://www.seattleweekly.com/classifieds/ .

University Housing Resources

The ASUW Student Housing Affairs page, http://depts.washington.edu/asuwsha/ has a bunch of information and advice about searching for housing including information on local landlord/tenant laws, a page of additional resources http://depts.washington.edu/asuwsha/housing.html and a database of current housing listings. The database tends to list rentals in renovated houses more than in "true" apartment complexes. You do need your UW Net ID to access the database, but there's a link you can follow to find out how to create one.

The University Housing and Food Services page http://hfs.washington.edu/ includes information on how to apply for University housing. Be aware that the waiting lists are quite long for most graduate housing. Although you might be thinking to move into graduate housing for the first year and then find a place, most likely you won't be able to enter places like Radford Court and Commodore Duchess until after the fall term at best.

Cornell and Associates

Cornell and Associates is a local apartment management company. Their website http://www.cornellandassociates.com/ a very thorough listing of apartments to choose from.

Apartment Ratings

Apartment Ratings, http://www.apartmentratings.com/rate/WA-Seattle.html, provides thousands of ratings and reviews written by residents of Seattle-area apartments. The site is free and does not take ads from apartment communities, so they list eveyrthing larger than a duplex, and will add (for free) apartments not already in their database. They also provide a Google Maps search showing each apartment color-coded by the % of renters who have recommended it.

Seattle Rentals

Another online site http://seattlerentals.com with lots of listings for the Seattle area.


http://ForRent.com lists mostly more expensive places.

PCC Food Stores

PCC, a local chain of natural food stores, has bulletin boards in its stores where people post housing ads. It's been said that there are lots of ads from people looking for roommates, and sometimes ads for 1 bedroom (or more) apartments. There's a web page with store locations http://www.pccnaturalmarkets.com/locations/

Deciding where to live

From the ASUW Housing website, see http://depts.washington.edu/asuwsha/housing.html for a basic map of local neighborhoods.

The ASUW site describes the cost of living in each neighborhood. Neighborhood Scout (http://www.neighborhoodscout.com/wa/seattle/) shows heatmaps of neighborhood property value and crime

Here are some grad students' opinions of the different neighborhoods. Given the source, contradictions in the data might occur. Note that if a neighborhood from the map is not mentioned, there might not have been anyone to comment on it. Take this zero information as you wish.

  • Capitol Hill
    • Quaint. Quiet (if you don't live too close to 15th or Broadway). Large (but not overwhelming) gay community, if that's your cup of tea. Lots of character, and community feeling. Cool shops and cafes. Not the U-District.
    • Lots to do on the part of the hill close to downtown
    • Especially vibrant between Broadway and 15th Ave E, north of John St and south of Aloha St.
    • 2 to 4 miles away, and on top of a hill. So the bike rides to school will be a joy, but those back from school are more challenging. Talk to Andy Schwerin or Adrien Treuille about biking.
  • Eastlake:
    • Close to campus and easy to walk (~30 minutes). Also easy to bus in on the 70 or 66.
    • Quiet and undergraduate-free (although this might be cause and effect).
    • Good bus access to campus and downtown (lines 66,70-73).
    • Only one small local grocery in walking distance (Pete's Market). To get to larger markets (QFC, Safeway, WholeFoods), you have to take a bus. 66 offers good access to Northgate Mall, if you're into that kinda thing.
  • Fremont:
    • A fun part of town. Lots of shops and restaurants, plus good bus access to both downtown (5,26,28,74) and UW (buses 74, 31).
    • Where else can you live near both Lenin and a giant troll?
    • One full-size grocery store: the PCC.
    • On Burke-Gilman trail.
    • Fremont Avenue is fairly busy street, so expect some traffic noise even at night. It's not like being on a highway, though.
    • Some reasons why Fremont is awesome: far enough from campus that you can forget you're a student, close enough to campus to bike, two direct bus lines to campus (10 minute ride), beeline to downtown (5 minutes drive, 10-15 minutes by bus)
    • Some reasons why Fremont is not awesome: rents a little higher than other places, may be too yuppie for some, can be noisy.
    • Nearby parks: walking distance to Gasworks on Lake Union, and a new small park in old empty lot on 35th.
  • Green Lake:
    • There's this really big lake there that's nice to look at. Seattle's most popular park. 3 mile jogging/biking path.
      • Northeast lakeside: playground, rec. center, boat rentals, ball fields, beach with lifeguard in summer.
      • Northwest lakeside: large wading pool refilled every day over 70 degrees in summer, Seattle Public Theater at the Bathhouse, public beach with lifeguard in summer.
      • South lakeside: bleachers for watersports (crew, waterskiing, etc.), small golf course.
    • 48 bus to campus (20-25 minutes), 16 bus line to downtown (30 minutes) via Fremont (15 minutes).
    • Public library on the north side.
    • Nearest groceries: Whole Foods (Roosevelt & 65th), PCC (Aurora & Green Lake).
    • A few good restaurants: Rosita's (Mexican), BluWater Green Lake (Bar/Bistro), Green Lake Bar & Grill, Nell's (high end - $$$).
  • Greenwood (not on map; northwest of Green Lake):
    • Greenwood is a relatively quiet neighborhood, with a mix of young people, families, and retirees.
    • Greenwood has a convenient neighborhood shopping area, with a grocery store, a Fred Meyers, drugstores, a hardware store, and several restaurants. This is also the main area for antique shops in Seattle.
    • Greenwood also abuts Aurora Avenue (aka Highway 99) -- both good news and bad news, since you'll find a couple more grocery stores (Larry's Market is great if you enjoy cooking) and a major bus line here, but you'll also find traffic, seedy bars, and used car lots.
    • If you want to live in Greenwood and you don't like to drive, be sure you are within walking distance of the 48 bus's route down 85th St. -- changing buses to get to the university is a nuisance.
  • Queen Anne:
    • Rents can range from affordable to downright expensive, but the views are almost always grand.
    • Nice restaurants.
    • Bus access to the university is a bit limited and for some parts of Queen Anne, non-existent.
  • Ravenna:
    • Good for quiet. Well within biking distance.
    • Parks: Ravenna/Cowen - playground on the Cowen Park side, lovely walking paths through the ravine by and over a stream. Pooh sticks played here often...
  • Sand Point:
    • Quiet and out of the way.
    • Convenient access to buses (74 and 75).
    • Magnuson Park
  • University District:
    • Excellent bus access. The University transit center is at NE Campus Parkway. Buses lead to all parts of the city.
    • Only full-size grocery near the Ave is the "sketchy" Safeway (its produce is best given to dying cattle). A larger Safeway and a QFC are nearby in the University Village.
    • It can be nice to be within walking distance of work, but then you're also within walking distance of work.
    • It's actually quite nice to live in the U district, if you're careful. I would suggest living north of 50th Street, as it is much quieter (and still close).
    • I like quiet and so I've stayed away from the neighborhood between 15th and 22nd Ave, and 45th and 52nd St. Pretty much anything outside of that rectangle is fine for quiet lovers and certainly not far for walking or biking. I'd recommend not dropping below 45th St. - it tends to be noisier and more crowded there than, say, above 50th St.
  • Wallingford:
    • Lots of shops around 45th street. Practically a sushi restaurant per block.
    • South Wallingford is more residential and tends to be more expensive. In order to get to shops, you have to head north, which can be a fair walk up the hill.
    • A medium size QFC grocery (regularly shopped at by Dave Matthews) and a Bartell Drugs pharmacy are easily accessible.
    • Parks: Gasworks, Wallingford, Meridian. Wallingford Park has a great playground and a medium-sized wading pool filled every day over 70 degrees in the summer.

Who to ask questions

The members of the orientation committee are willing to answer your questions about finding a place.