Seattle Named 5th Most Expensive City In US, But Is Not Most Expensive City In Washington

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…

Most Expensive Active Seattle Luxury Rentals

Although we usually profile and feature “run of the mill” luxury rentals, today I’d like to feature some of the most expensive active rentals on the market in Seattle and environs. We’re talking like… top 10. Yeah, the big kahunas. Not that the other’s aren’t enviable to say in the least!

10. $8,500

Located in Belltown, this property boasts not only views of downtown, but also Puget Sound and the Space Needle. With a gourmet kitchen, floor to ceiling windows, touch screen sound system, garage parking and two storage units. Listed by Joseph Kelly of Soleil Real Estate of Seattle.

9. $8,500

This contemporary Lake Union home boasts a 270 degree view of the water, heated floors, top of the line kitchen appliances and marble bath. This 1,000 square foot house was built in 2011 and has been on the market for 139 days and is listed by Scott Wasner of Sotheby’s.

8. $9,800

Want a penthouse? Who am I kidding, of course you do. And nowone is up for grabs! For rent at least. This 26th floor, 3,081 square foot residence boats three bedrooms and enormous 290 degrees of skyline, mountains, and water. Oak floors, maple cabinetry, gas fireplace, and a chefs kitchen. On the market for 44 days, this property is listed by Julia Tsurusaki with Pointe3 Real Estate.

7. $10,000

Out next most expensive property calls Mercer Island home. Originally listed at $12,000, this 3,880 square foot gorgeous waterfront home features a newly remodeled kitchen with an ensuite deck and jacuzzi tub (uh, that’s awesome). 85′ of waterfront with moorage and dock, two jets lifts and a boat lift. Nicely settled near some parks, what could get better? Not much, that’s what. Listed by Anthony Yap of TAG Realty.

6. $10,000

Tied at $10,000, this Laurelhurst home has only been on the market for a month. Fully furnished with views of Lake Washington, this 4,660 square foot contemporary northwest home comes with Laurelhurt Beach Club access. Offering five bedrooms and four bathrooms, it’s listed by Timothy Lenihan of Windermere Real Estate.

5. $11,000

Now, this one has me drooling. This unit is within the Four Seasons Private Residences Seattle. Two bedrooms and a den, valet parking, 24 hour security and concierge, mile high views, this 2,082 square foot overlooks the Great Wheel through floor to ceiling windows. With a gas fireplace and an ultra modern kitchen, it’s enough to make anyone go gaga. Listed by Scott Wasner of Sotheby’s.

4. $11,000

Another beauty at $11,000, the stunningly designed Arthur Erickson Highlands home is a looker. Having seen this sumptuous property myself, the views and grounds as well as the guest house, I can say will all certainty that it. is. worth. it. Listed by our own Betsy Terry of Our Distinctive Home Shop in Madison Park, this 7,470 square foot masterpiece is constructed  from polished concrete, with a glass ceiling. Mountain and sound views, and a Pemberley-esque (We got any Jane Austen fans out there? No? Just me? Okay) park off the swimming pool.

3. $12,500

Located in Hunts Point and built in 1995, this home is nestled on prime waterfront with lake, city, and mountain views. Designed by Curtis Gelotte, the house is nestled between manicured landscaping and old growth trees. With moorage and a dock, this 3,710 square foot home is full of natural wood and stone details, evoking the architectural style of the pacific northwest. Listed by Anna Riley of Windermere Real Estate.

2. $18,000

Another jewel of Hunts Point, this residence boasts a stunning Chihuly glass chandelier hanging from a sky-lit ceiling. This 3,000 square foot west-facing residence features rustic timers, posts, and beams embodies pacific northwest architecture and art. Listed by Tere Foster and Moya Skillman of Windermere Real Estate.

1. $20,000

Topping our list is a mansion in Clyde Hill. At 6,000 this european designed six bedroom, eight bathroom masterpiece was custom built in 2007. With a gated entrance and a large pool in the backyard, a large up to date kitchen, and an indoor jacuzzi. Listed by Robert Radulescu with The Force Realty.

Well folks, which one is your favorite??

Walkability Score- What is it and why does it matter?

Pioneer Square Pergola

Pioneer Square Pergola

Walkability- it’s a word that some of you may be familiar with already, and one that real estate marketing often uses. But what exactly does it mean?

Used by Walkscore.com, it’s intended definition is to indicate how easily and readily connected a property is to the neighborhood and community around it. For instance, is the nearest grocery store within easy walking distance? Or would it be necessary to drive there?

The higher a property’s Walk Score (or Transit Score or Bike Score) on a scale of 1-100, the more connected the neighborhood is with the property. Take this chart example. But what makes a community walkable?

  • A center: Walkable neighborhoods have a center, whether it’s a main street or a public space.
  • People: Enough people for businesses to flourish and for public transit to run frequently.
  • Mixed income, mixed use: Affordable housing located near businesses.
  • Parks and public space: Plenty of public places to gather and play.
  • Pedestrian design: Buildings are close to the street, parking lots are relegated to the back.
  • Schools and workplaces: Close enough that most residents can walk from their homes.
  • Complete streets: Streets designed for bicyclists, pedestrians, and transit.

Now, why is this score important? It’s generally known that those who walk more, whether it’s just a few steps or hundreds of steps a day are generally healthier than those who don’t. By walking more, not only do you get outside, but you also use your car less, and thereby reduce your carbon footprint. If you were able to find a property in a highly walkable area, you might be able to forgo the car altogether!

And here’s some great news: Seattle is rated as one of the most walkable cities in the U.S.! With a Walk Score of 71, a Transit Score of 57, and a Bike Score of 64, Seattle is the 8th most walkable city, with it’s most walkable neighborhoods being Downtown, the Denny Triangle, and Pioneer Square.

How important is the walkability of the neighborhood to you when looking for a new property?

Renter Competition is Stiff: Come Prepared With Renter Application Packet

These days Seattle rentals are few and far between, and in our competitive rental market bringing your checkbook ready to cash in the deposit no longer puts you on the top of the applicant stack. In other popular cities like San Francisco renters arriving at showings can expect a long line of other applicants already waiting at the door, so if you’re looking to be one step ahead of the game, putting together a renter application packet could be be your ticket to a new rental.

rental np

Downtown Seattle Rental: $4,500/Month

Get the following documents prepared before your rental showing:

A copy of your ID: either a driver’s license or passport

Proof of employment: A pay stub will suffice, but if you can get a letter from your employer confirming your employment that would be beneficial.

Pay stub: Several landlords have minimum salary requirements, so having at least 3 of your most recent pay stubs is important.

A bank statement: Having a bank statement available that indicates you are financially stable and capable of paying rent could be the difference between you and someone less prepared.

References: Have a list of references, past landlords, past neighbors and business partners is a great way to enphasize that you are a responsible tenant.

Rental Application, and fee: This is most important if you’re able to request the application prior to the showing. Some property management websites have these available for prospective tenants, and also having a check handy for the application fee will indicate your preparedness.

Make sure that you double check all of the application requirements prior to your showing if available, and don’t forget to bring your checkbook along with your completed renter application packet. Good luck on your rental hunt! If you’re interested in Seattle rentals, contact your local real estate agent today!

Western Avenue Condo For Sale: $314,000

This lovely condo on Western Avenue, located at The Vine is located is close proximity to the Pike Place Market,  the Olympic Sculpture Park, and other shops and restaurants downtown. Built in 2002, the building was structured to include modern amenities in all units, including granite counter tops, stainless steel appliances, and a gas stove and fireplace; not to mention the 150 sf deck overlooking the Sound, and out to West Seattle!

This 1 bed 1 bath unit has beautiful huge windows over looking the city and Sound, and a great little build out in the kitchen separating the space from the living room. The building amenities include a 24 hr concierge, garage parking,  a fitness room, and ample storage space. For more information on unit or others in the Seattle area contact Ewing & Clark Inc.

Status: For Sale
Bed/Bath: 1,1
Price: $314,000

One Pacific Tower

One Pacific Tower located at 2000 1st Avenue in downtown Seattle is 2-story luxury condominium building.   The building was developed by Vyzis Development Company and designed by Curtis Beattie & Associates.  The building was constructed in 1994, and is only a few blocks from the Pike Place Market.  This building is close to everything that downtown Seattle and Belltown have to offer.  Please follow the link to search Seattle luxury condominiums for sale. 

Building: One Pacific Tower
Address: 2000 1st Ave.
Yr. Built: 1994
Construction: Cement/Concrete
No. of Buildings: 1
No. of Stories: 27
No. of Units: 80
Views: City, Mountain, Water
Parking: Garage

Banner Building

The Banner Building is a luxury condominium building located in Belltown, Seattle.  The building is at 80 Vine St. and was built in 1994 and designed by Weinstein Copeland Architects.  Comprised of both residential and commercial properties, Banner was built with the concept of work/live spaces in mind.  The building won multiple AIA awards , and was one of the first work/live buildings in the city.  The 26 units are loft-style open shells with high ceilings and exceptionally large windows.  The interiors themselves are very industrial, with exposed beams and concrete floors.  There is currently only one condominium for sale in the Banner building, which is just over 1,000 sf and is on the market for $420,000.  Please follow the link to find full listing details or search Seattle luxury condominiums for sale

Building:
Banner Building
Address: 80 Vine St.
Yr Built: 1994
Construction: Concrete & Metal
No. of Buildings:  1
No. of Stories: 7
No. of Units: 31- 26 res. 5 com.
Views: City, Lake, Mountains
Parking: Common Garage
Pets: Sub. To Restrictions 

Four Seasons Private Residences Restructures Debt

The Four Seasons Hotel and Private Residences located in Downtown Seattle was facing financial troubles after having nearly $34 million in construction liens, defaulting in 2009.  These troubles were much in part due to slow sales when the Seattle real estate market was beginning to fall apart.  The building opened in 2008 with 36 residences, which range in price from $2-$10 million.  According to a Seattle Times article published today, the owners of the building, Seattle Hotel Group LLC, have dug themselves out of this hole with financial restructuring.   Last week, the Seattle Hotel Group received a loan for $26 million towards the debt, owed to Washington Real Estate Holdings.  For now, things are looking up for the ultra luxurious downtown Seattle condominiums.  There are eleven residences still for sale in the building.  Please follow the link to see one of these luxury condominiums full listing details and photos.

1521 Second Avenue

If you want a Seattle luxury condominium, with everything there is to offer, the recently constructed 1521 Second Avenue condominiums maybe be just what you’re looking for.  The 38-story building was constructed in 2009, designed by Weber + Thompson Architects.  The 143 units are large, ranging in size from about 1,800 to 3,000 sf, all of which are 2+ bedroom homes.  As far as individual units go, they were all designed by Susan Marinello Interiors with a modern and urban feel.  The interiors feature floor to ceiling windows, hardwood floors, and top of the line appliances and systems.  1521 was also Seattle’s first high-rise residential building, so the views are incredibly stunning.  Homeowners have sweeping views of the city, water and mountains to enjoy.  The building is also rather “green”, achieving and LEED Silver status.  The building amenities include a gym, yoga studio, 24/7 concierge, work studios and gorgeous rooftop terrace, among others.  If you want to find a Seattle luxury condominium for sale, not to mention one of the best views in the city, check out what 1521 Second Avenue has to offer.  Follow the link to find other downtown condominiums for sale.

Building: 1521 Second Avenue
Address: 1521 2nd Ave.
Year Built: 2009
Construction: Cement, Metal
No. of Buildings: 1
No. of Stories: 38
No. of Units: 143
Views: water, mtns., city
Parking: garage
Pets: subj. to restrictions

Mosler Lofts

Mosler Lofts

Example Kitchen Interior

I’ve had the pleasure of touring multiple units in Mosler Lofts (even the penthouse), and I can say that these are some of the coolest and most luxurious loft-style units in the Belltown Seattle area.  The upscale building, sitting at the corner of 3rd and Clay Stree, was developed by The Schuster Group and designed by Mithun Architects +Designers+ Planners features mixed materials of brick, cement and plenty of glass.  The building was constructed in 2007 and was the in Seattle to receive an LEED Silver Certification for its “green” building standard.   The floor plans are open and simple, but are modern and industrial.  Many rooms have sliding doors, concrete beams and exposed systems (metal ducts, etc.).  The lofts range from studios to 2 bedrooms +den (so, possible 3 bedrooms).   Unit interiors have lots of windows, hardwoods, stainless steel appliances and stone countertops.  Mosler’s  amenities include a concierge, fitness center, a guest suite, conference room and a club room.   Mosler Lofts are truly unique among other buildings in Belltown Seattle.  If you’re looking for a luxury condominium for sale and want something a little more cutting edge, be sure to check this building out.

Building: Mosler Lofts
Address: 2720 3rd Avenue
Year Built: 2007
Construction: Brick/Concrete/Glass
No. of Buildings: 1
No. of Stories: 12
No. of Units: 148
Vews: Lake, Needle, 
Parking: Common Garage
Pets: Sub. To Restrictions