Young professionals launching their careers in Seattle are facing one of the priciest rental markets in years. Kathleen Rohde loves her Fremont apartment, but the threat of rising rents looms large.

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Kathleen Rohde loves the quirky studio she’s been renting in Fremont. She said it’s not boxy like some “very micro” micro-apartments she saw elsewhere. A cute arch separates the kitchen from the bedroom, and a lovely bay window lets in tons of light.

It’s also conveniently located. She usually takes the E line or Metro bus 5 to get to her job at Amazon. And her building is just around the corner from popular food and coffee shops like Paseo and Caffe Vita.

Renting in Seattle: An illustrated chronicle

Seattle is experiencing one of the priciest rental and housing markets in years. If you'd like to be considered as a subject of my illustrated chronicle about Seattle renters, contact me at I'd love to hear your story and maybe make some sketches of your apartment before you get priced out.

The rent, however, is another story. At $1,255 per month, the price tag for the tiny studio is more than she expected to pay when she moved from Portland to Seattle last fall.

Now the prospect of her rent rising when her lease expires soon is scary — “living in 450 square feet of fear” was the subject line of the message she sent me.

“I’ve fallen in love with this city and would like to stay,” said Rohde. But how much this 25-year-old will be willing to pay to live here is a question mark. “The anxiety is starting to set in,” she said.