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According to a recent survey by RealData/Apartment Insights, Seattle rents were up a mere 1.1% in the third quarter compared with a year ago, the smallest increase since the housing bust in 2010. The most expensive neighborhoods in town, which are getting the most new apartments actually saw rents drop over the past year. "It's been slow. The volume of calls is a fraction of what it was a year and a half ago," said Larry Crites, who owns nine small apartment buildings in Seattle. "The lower-priced units are still fairly high in demand. If you've got more expensive units, there's a lot less interest."

Slow rent growth is a national trend. But Seattle's turnaround – from one of the hottest rental markets in the country for much of the past half-decade to one of the coolest now – is more dramatic than other cities because a historic number of apartments are opening.

The Seattle area is building the fifth-most apartments of any metro area in the nation right now, and the four regions building more – Dallas, Los Angeles, New York and Washington, D.C. – are all significantly larger, according to RealPage. Only Dallas appears to be building more than Seattle on a per-capita basis. The city of Seattle has set annual records for apartment openings in recent years, though construction has lagged behind historical norms in the suburbs.

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