Air Conditioning: From amenity to necessity in Western Washington?

SEATTLE -- If the housing boom is hot, well, how about inside?

Consider it the heat squeeze.

Apartments and condos are sprouting up at record pace, but the near 100-degree week of oppression has some accepting their fate, like Todd Lui.

His air conditioner tries but fails.

“It`s good for about 30 minutes. And then it just kinds of peters out,” he said.

Lui lives in Issaquah and understands the desire to shell out for air conditioning. He wants others to suck it up for these hot couple of weeks.

Lauren Trujillo says for some, it’s worth it for comfort.

“I`m sure a lot of people are going to reconsider their choices,” said Trujillo, the leasing manager at the South Lake Union apartment building The Cascade.

The newly finished building makes its air conditioning units a prime selling point, even better than the competitions' yoga studios and doggy day cares.

“What is it that other communities have in the area that we can do to set ourselves apart?” she said.

The warming climate in the Seattle area is having an effect on comfort and rental prices. Buildings like the Cascade factor in about $100 in extra rent a month for A/C.

Giant condensers on roofs don't work everywhere, and the traditional mild temps year-round have even high-end buildings going without.

And it seems to be moving from an amenity to a necessity. Census data over the last decade shows that A/C units going into buildings have jumped by 10 percent.

Yet those 2015 numbers may even be obsolete now. Many more apartments have popped up since then.

Lui thinks it's growth finally catching up to the heat. He thinks we're hot stuff up here in the Northwest---and we can handle it.

“All the transplants coming in, they don't understand the area. Not at all,” he said.