Seattle Just Keeps Growing

In spite of the building boom in downtown Seattle, there have been very limited options for buying a home, versus renting. Resembling giant glass Rubik’s cubes stacked 41 floors high, the Nexus Seattle condominiums will be taking ground at 1200 Howell Street in the Denny Triangle. The building will feature 382 units, varying in size and price, ranging from $300,000 to $3.5 million. Sections of the building are twisted to face different directions, views will vary depending which floor the home is located on.

According to the Nexus website, 80% of the units have already been reserved as of this past November (2016). Underscoring the market’s desire for permanent housing and the influx of people for high-paying tech jobs downtown, hundreds of buyers lined up to pay a $5,000 refundable deposit to be guaranteed a spot at a priority presales event on June 4th last year. Some people even camped out overnight to be first in line.

Burrand Group, the Canadian company that owns the site, plans to break ground this month to begin construction. The Nexus building will be within walking distance of at least two large-tech work campuses in the South Lake Union area. An article with Puget Sound Business Journal states a fitness center, common co-working space, the option of renting a guest room, and a rooftop terrace will be some of the amenities available.

As of October 2016, the median price for a downtown Seattle condo was $650,000. The median price for a 1-bedroom rental is currently $1,820 per month, reflecting the 40% hike in rent over the past 5 years. Seattle is now in the top ten of most expensive apartment markets in the United States, as of April 2016.

Downtown Seattle Steadily Attracting New Residents

downtown condo1The Downtown Seattle Association held its state of downtown economic forum yesterday, and one of the major takeaways of their economic report was that the state of the downtown housing market is strong. Not only are increasing numbers of people calling downtown home – 16 percent of Seattle’s total population growth between 2010 and 2014 happened downtown – but more and more of them have families, with the number of children living downtown having increased by 17 percent since 2010. Overall, downtown residents tend to be younger, more well-educated, and more likely to live in a single-person household than the rest of Seattle as a whole.

Though only two condominium projects are currently under construction downtown, 3,089 residential units (the majority of which are apartments) are set to be in the construction phase in 2015, with 2,642 more in the works for 2016. Currently, the majority of apartment units downtown are small – an average of 638 square feet – but with the influx of families we could see a trend toward larger two- and three-bedroom units.

Overall, it’s going to cost you more on average to rent downtown compared to other areas of the city. Average rent downtown in 2014 was $1,904 per month, whereas the average for Seattle as a whole was significantly lower at $1,485 per month. Similarly, the median price for condos downtown stood at $409,500, a staggering 40 percent higher than the $292,500 median price for condos in the city of Seattle as a whole. Despite the relatively high prices, the vacancy rate remains under 4 percent. Visit the DSA website to read the economic report in its entirety.

If you are interested in renting or buying a home in Downtown Seattle, contact your local real estate agent today!

Competition in Housing Market Leading to Bidding Wars

Competition in the housing market                                housing                                               has been creating bidding wars. Many offers are being countered by rival bids. Homes are selling for well over asking price. Sellers are holding out for better deals which lessens the amount of homes available to buy while buyers are wanting to purchase homes before prices and mortgage rates begin to rise.

Some buyers are having problems purchasing a home due to constantly being out bid buy other buyers. A couple in Florida offered $5,000 over asking price for a home only to lose to a counter offer of $55,000 over asking price. They tried offering $10,000 over a $600,000 asking price and lost to a higher bidder. That house was a short sale had been on the market for only two days. They became frustrated after putting offers on homes and never hearing back only to find that the houses they had bid on were sold to a much higher bidder. They finally were able to work with an agent who was working for both the buyer and seller which would earn her double the commission. She was able to help them make an offer and purchase a home for $30,000 less than the asking price.

The National Association of Realtors reported a 19.2% decline in inventory. It is expected that homes sales will grow with the Spring selling season but availability will remain low. The balance between buyers and sellers has been thrown off balance. Sellers are being more cautious while buyers are on the hunt.

Headliner of Capitol Hill Block Party Announced

The music lineup for the Capitol Hill Block Party has been announced aschbp well as who is to headline it. Many will be excited to hear that the   Flaming Lips have been chosen to headline the event. Though the the Capitol Hill Block Party isn’t until July, three-day festival passes are being sold at a discount price now through this Saturday for only $75. The price will then go up to $95. Those who buy the passes early receive free tickets to see Pickwick and Radiation City tonight at Neumos.

The festival takes place on Capitol Hill July 26th-28th. Street closures are Broadway to 12th and Pine to Union. This is the area that the festival will be held and you will need a ticket to enter. Businesses in the gated area will only be accessable to those with tickets.

There will be pleanty of vendors, independant booths and food trucks available. Many of the businesses around the area offer special deals during the festival. For the full music lineup go to Capitolhillblockparty.com/lineup.

Ace Hardware to Move into the Securities Building Downtown

If you live in and around downtown, you’ll be thankful to hear that the city is finally getting a downtown hardware store. The Myers Group announced that they will be opening an Ace Hardware in the Securities building on 4th and Stewart in the first quarter of 2013. The store will be spread across 7,500 sf of retail space, catering to the ever growing population of city dwellers as well as businesses, creating a convenient place to grab your essentials such as hammers, fasteners and tools on the fly.

The Myers Group has said they’ve been looking for the right location for years, and they’re pleased a hardware store will now be able to assist the downtown population.  “The location adjacent to Bed, Bath & Beyond is a very complimentary fit for a hardware store and the Myers Group and Clise Properties were equally eager to make the terms of the lease work,” said Tom Graff, president of commercial at Ewing & Clark, who leased the space to the Myers Group. “When Richard Stevenson came to me to seek a quality retailer of the space, Tyler Myers was one of my first calls. His store will be a tremendous asset to the area and satisfy a steady request from downtown residential focus groups.” For more information and updates about the space, visit the Puget Sound Business Journal.

Seattle Gets Approval to Design First Hill Street Car Extension

Yesterday afternoon, Seattle Major Mike McGinn said that the City of Seattle has gathered enough funds to begin the design and planning process for the First Hill Streetcar line’s Broadway extension. According to the City of Seattle, $850,000 of federal funding have already been secured, and another $900,000 are pending final approval, in which case the City will have enough funding to design a half mile line extension, requested by the Capitol Hill neighborhood. The line would then extend into Broadway’s Retail District, and be able to support residents by moving the terminus from Denny Way to Roy Street.

The Seattle Department of Transportation is currently constructing the First Hill street car line, and ever since the project’s first stages of planning, the Capitol Hill community has been very vocal about obtaining an extension to the North End of Broadway, instead of it’s currently final stop at the Capitol Hill Link light rail station. The extension project would continue the double track street car installation, with two or three additional stops, and the total extension project is estimated to be around $25 million. For more information on the project, visit the Seattle Streetcar’s website.

Longshore Union Files Suit Against the Sodo Arena Site

Yesterday afternoon the Longshore Union who depend on the the Port of Seattle cargo traffic filed a suit against plans to build the new sports arena a few blocks from the main shipping terminal. The suit states that the city and county officials approved the agreement with Chris Hansen before completing an environmental review, which is required by state law.

The International Longshore and Warehouse Union workers have announced that they plan to challenge the Memorandum of Understanding that was approved on Monday by Seattle and King County councils. The lawsuit suggests that the court should invalidate the MOU and ensure that  environmental process doesn’t secure the Sodo location. A city Attorney has stated that in the MOU, the location of the arena is not set in stone in Sodo, and it also mandates an environmental review of the area. For updates on the suit filed, visit the Seattle Times.

Apartments Sold on Greyhound Station Block to Become Mega Hotel

Last week there were some notable commercial sales in and around Seattle, including one in the Denny Triangle that is staged to make way for a Mega Hotel downtown!

According to the Puget Sound Business Journal, Seattle based R.C. Hedreen Co. purchased two high rise apartment buildings on the same block as the Greyhound bus terminal for $7 million, and they have plans to build a 1,200 room hotel. Hedreen hopes  to get traffic from the convention center, and has since met with city officials to discuss early design guidance, and a possible office tower could be constructed on 8th and 9th Streets along Howell & Stewart. For more information on this project, follow the Puget Sound Business Journal.

Seattle Gives the Ok for Amazon’s Highrise Complex

With a 3-2 vote in favor of moving forward, Amazon’s proposed 3 block high rise complex in the Denny Triangle received the OK from the Seattle Design and Review Board yesterday, which will be the biggest complex downtown Seattle has ever seen. The vote was just a means of presenting the project to the City’s Department of Planning and Development, but it is certainly a breakthrough for such a bold project to receive high regard.

According to the Seattle Times, the board has held 5 meetings to discuss the project’s progression over  the past 6 months, to review designs submitted by Amazon’s Architect NBBJ. The Department of Planning and Development will now review the board’s recommendations, as it examines Amazon’s application to obtain a  land-use permit for the complex. Amazon has indicated their hopes to begin construction on the project next year, and a final decision could come to a conclusion as early as November. For more information on the project, visit the Seattle Times.

Influx of Hotels Planned for Downtown Seattle

The Downtown Seattle metro area has not seen any hotels break ground in the past two years, and there are no current plans for any to go under construction in the next upcoming months. But according to the Seattle Times, all that might change this year, with current hotels having successful bookings, with little trouble filling rooms, and they’re able to have consistently higher rates. Developers are feeling more confident with those statistics in place, and are moving forward by proposing more hotels pop up in the downtown area.

Downtown Seattle Sheraton, photo courtesy of destination360.com

According to the Times, one of those proposals includes a hotel with 1,200+ rooms, which is larger than any hotel in the area except for the Seattle Sheraton hotel. If all of the projects presented were to be built, the Seattle hotel industry would increase by more than 15%! Developers like Touchstone, Kauri, and Daniels Development among others all have projects in various stages of planning for construction, and Seattleites looking for hotel living should keep an eye out for upcoming hotel projects that have apartment rentals planned into the space as well. For more information on upcoming projects in the Downtown Seattle area, visit the Seattle Times.