Seattle Rents: High, But Not Highest In Washington State

It’s not a news flash that the real estate scene in Seattle has exploded in recent years. The Emerald City has gone from a town most people outside the state only associated with coffee and flannel, to the tech capital of the US (save for our friends in Silicon Valley). As home to some of the biggest tech names in the world and a booming job market to match, it’s fair to say there’s might not be enough housing to meet demand. Or, at least to meet demand AND your budget.

High rises, apartment buildings and condos are going up all over the city, and soon, our beloved skyline will be dotted with more and more buildings and towers, making the Seattle of just 10 years-ago look almost unfamiliar.

Seattle has recently made headlines as one of the most expensive places to live, get this, in the world. That’s right, recent data has placed Seattle’s rent rates at 5th highest in the nation and, supposedly 9th highest in the world! However, San Francisco and New York still dwarf us, tying for number one most expensive, world-wide.

Those of us who are Seattle Natives know that the average rental rate in Seattle has increased fairly dramatically in the last few years, but it’s interesting to note that, while Seattle’s rents have been on the rise, they don’t quite top the list of highest rents in the state.

According to recent data from Apartment List, Seattle ranks at number 5 in the state for highest rents, with the average monthly rent for a one-bedroom apartment at about $1,650.

Surprisingly, Mercer Island tops the list of cities in Washington for highest rents. A one-bedroom on Mercer Island goes for an average of a whopping $1,890 per month. No one said Island living was cheap, I suppose.

Filling in the gaps between number 1 and number 5 on the list are Bellevue at number 2 with an average of $1,860 per month for a one-bedroom (not a whole lot lower than their neighboring Island), Redmond at number 3 with an average of about $1,690 monthly rent for a one bedroom and Kirkland at number 4 with an average monthly rent of $1,660 for a one-bedroom.

Seattle and the Eastside are not the only places in Washington with rising rent rates. Tacoma tops the list nation-wide for fastest growing rent with a year-over-year growth rate of 7.7 percent. Seattle comes close, but not close enough to that figure with year-over-year rental rate growth at 5.3 percent.

Staggering growth aside, Tacoma is still a bargain in the rental market compared to Seattle, with a one-bedroom in Tacoma going for an average of $1,000 per month. For those of you keeping score, that’s a savings of $650 compared to Seattle.

But, proving that some things really don’t change, the cheapest places to live in the Evergreen State are still East of the Cascade Mountains. You can get a one-bedroom for only $600 per month in Walla Walla and it’s not much pricier in the State’s second largest city, Spokane, at around $630 per month.

What a difference a mountain range makes…

Bellevue Real Estate Recap: January 2014

Inventory is still extremely low; in January 2013 compared to January 2014 there are approximately 70 less homes on the market in the Bellevue area.  Inventory that is available seems more likely to have not been updated or maintained as well.  With inventory low, buyers are more apt to overlook certain shortcomings in properties, especially if it is in a desired area or neighborhood. bellevue home

This is definitely still a sellers’ market in most of Bellevue.  Home values are rising and homeowners are getting excited to find out they have equity in their property again.  There are still some homeowners that bought at the height of the market on the last cycle that may benefit from holding off and waiting longer to sell.

Interest rates are still looking great, but rates could go up once people see rates start to rise, they will hurry and buy any kind of property and this could artificially increase market price for a short period of time.  For more information on Seattle real estate, contact your local real estate agent today.

Seattle Commercial Property Market Improving

This past week, Seattle and the surrounding region has seen an improvement in the commercial real estate market, with the sales of three big properties.

First, Continental Properties, Inc. sold 131 apartment units at the Aqua View and Carillon Heights apartment complexes to Archstone. It sold for $47.46 million.

Arden Realty LP sold West Willows Technology Center to Griffin Capital New Lease REIT Inc. for $40 million. The office park is over 155,000 sq. ft and is located at 14500 and NE 87th St. in Redmond. AT&T is the current tenant and uses the space for network operation and R&D.

Finally, Redhill Realty Investments sold the Kent-located Hampton Bay Apartments to Hampton Bay located in Vancouver, WA. The 304 apartment units sold for  $31.4 million.

For more information, please read the original PSBJ article.

Winter is Coming – Winterize Your Seattle Home

With snow in the forecast for the mountains and with the potential of hitting the lowlands on Friday, people in the Puget Sound area are getting ready for winter. With this list, Seattle residents can easily winterize their homes. Here are some tips:

  1. Clean the gutters – This easy step can prevent water from backing up and seeping into your house. Plus, it gives you a chance to check for leaks and on your pipes.
  2. Find and seal obvious leaks – Find the leaks by walking inside the Seattle house with incense, especially in the standard drafty areas. . Make sure to buy door sweeps and caulk leaks and drafty spots. If you have brick, use a masonry sealer.
  3. Check your insulation – Look for any loose insulation in your house and try to look where you can add additional insulation.
  4. Check the furnace – It helps to have an HVAC professional come out to clean the ducts and inspect your furnace, something that should be done annually. Make sure to stock up on furnace filters, as well.
  5. Put up storm windows – Installing storm windows can have a major impact on how warm your house is. If it’s too expensive, you can also opt to buy a window insulator kit or have curtains. Any additional layer helps.
  6. Reverse the fan – By turning the fan blades so it spins counter-clockwise, it ensures that heat is directed downward to you.
  7. Test your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors – Daylight Savings is a good time to make sure your detectors work. Also, make sure a carbon monoxide detector is near your furnace.
  8. Prepare for any snow in your house by purchasing the right supplies – Make sure you have a snow shovel, road salt, and chains on hand for when and if it snows.
  9. Prepare your landscaping – Trim tree branches that hang close to your home or to electrical wires. Also, protect the plants that are sensitive to heat.
  10. Prevent plumbing from freezing – Know what the water main in, if you need to do an emergency shut off. Drain your garden hoses and don’t forget to insulate your exposed pipes. Styrofoam cups are great for that.

Commercial Landlords Rejoice! The Office Vacancy Rate is Dropping.

Good news for commercial real estate landlords! According to a Seattle Times article, the office vacancy rate in Seattle fell over the past three months.  For example, Lake View in Fremont was half empty in December and now it is fully leased. We can thank our expanding tech industry for that. Companies, especially tech companies, appear to be expanding and simply need more space. For example, Expedia recently leased out 55,000 sq. ft in Bellevue’s new Skyline Tower.

With growth and no speculative construction, vacancies in commercial space will continue to decline.  This affects the average asking rents. As supply decreased, the average asking rent for Class A space rose to $32 per square foot. It’ll be interesting to see how the vacancy rate changes in the coming months. Hopefully, the buildings fill up, as that only translates to good news and growth for the Puget Sound.

Seattle+ Real Estate News – July 12th

Downtown SeattleAccording to Geek Wire, Amazon, who has added 4,200 people worldwide in the first quarter of 2011 is eyeing more office space in the South Lake Union / Seattle Downtown area.

The Seattle Times reports that apartments are being built and being built in Seattle.  Approximately 85% of apartment buildings and 90% of the apartment units in King/Snohomish County are being built in Seattle.

Move over Madoff, Seattle’s pyramid scheme was by a 2005 UW graduate who was taking investor’s money to buy property in Peru.

NHL or NBA in Seattle?  Chicago investor is expressing interest in a real estate deal to build an arena most likely on the Eastside.

Swedish sells top two floors of one of their buildings to Unico.

Bellevue Galleria Sells

The Bellevue Galleria in downtown Bellevue sold to Thor Equities this week for $87.5 million.    The building is comprised of restaurants, shops, office space and parking garage.  Bellevue Galleria was built in 1999 and is 204,000 sf in size.   The Galleria has always been a great staple of Bellevue’s downtown area.  Bellevue continues to expand in the residential realm, so it’s no wonder NYC based Thor Equities wanted their first Northwestern purchase to be in the city of Bellevue.  Check out this Seattle Times article to find more information on the commercial sale.