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?

Downtown Rental Market Update

The rental market has continued its hot trend as we head into the start of spring. Downtown condo’s are renting fast and at a premium rate. With companies continuing to expand in the Downtown area it is becoming more attractive to move back into the city after years of growth in the suburbs. Within the last 30 days Ewing and Clark Inc. has assisted our clients in leasing out their units to quality tenants at competitive prices.

 Recent units that we have leased:
2000 Alaska Way #335
1415 2nd Ave #2401
1240 Terry Ave #1702
If you are considering leasing your property but need assistance with the process, contact one of our leasing experts who can assist you throughout the process.

Perks and Downfalls of Keeping old Facades in New Construction

A number of the architects and developers involved in planning new apartment and condominium buildings around the city have voluntarily kept old facades from previous structures to incorporate in their new designs, but most often just divert the decision to the city’s landmark board for the final decision. Many seattleites have almost come to expect historical structures to be saved with all of the new development and future project plans, but why would a developer want to keep a facade when the landmark board deems the older building not historically significant? There was an interesting article today in the Daily Journal of Commerce, that pinpointed similar projects like the 1915 Terminal Sales Annex building on 2nd and Virginia, which will integrate the front of the annex in the base of a 38 story building that has plans to possibly include 190 condos, 154 hotel rooms, and 6,100 sf of ground floor retail space.

Location if the 1915 Terminal Sales Annex Building

Location if the 1915 Terminal Sales Annex Building

In the past 20-30 years, there hasn’t been alot of interest in saving the older buildings, but within the last few years, there has been recent changes to city rules, allowing developers to build larger projects if they preserve the facades of their previous historical structures, that are at least 75 years old. In turn, alot of the new apartment developers trying to take advantage of the rule could run into extra costs, as keeping some of the older facades that aren’t as structurally sound as the new construction could pose issues. For more information on those new apartment projects incorporating historical structures, visit the DJC.

New Apartments Planned for Western & Vine

According to the Seattle Times, Seattle’s Schulster Group has recently put in the paperwork with City Planners for a proposed 12-story apartment building on the corner of Western & Vine Street in Belltown. The proposal is for a 132 unit apartment building that also includes 75 underground parking stalls.

The property is currently a parking lot owned Skyway Luggage. According to the Times, the Design Review Board is tentatively scheduled to review the project January 8th. Stay tuned for future updates!

Tips for Securing Your Apartment for Fall

Having an apartment of your own is a truly wonderful experience, and making certain that your new home is secure while you are away is an important part of the move in process for new movers to learn. Apartment security can be easily overlooked, but here is a checklist the folks over at Zillow have compiled to make the process a bit easier for first time renters.

1.) Check your Detectors- When moving into a new place, be sure to check and make sure your smoke detector is in working order, and make sure there is a carbon monoxide detector in your apartment as well. Make sure that your batteries aren’t dead, and change them twice a year just to be overcautious.

2.) Outer Security Check- Make sure that your outside locks at the entrance of your apartment are working, as they are your first defense, should an unwanted guest attempt to enter. If there is a problem with your lock, contact your property management to get the locked replaced as soon as possible.

3.) Dead-Bolt Check- This goes in line with outer security, and making sure your apartment has a deadbolt, especially if you’re living alone is a top priority. Make sure the dead-bolt is sturdy and properly installed to insure your home’s security.

4.) Do you have a Peephole?- Having a peephole is a great addition to your home’s security, and making sure this isn’t painted over or cleared of debris is important. If you don’t recognize the knock, use the peephole to decipher if you know the knocker, and if you don’t, do not open the door.

5.) First Floor Precautions- If you’re living on a first floor unit, it’s best to take extra precautions on top of those previously listed.  Make sure all of the windows have secured locking systems, or grated coverings, and remember to close the shades when you’re not home. Don’t leave your expensive belongings in plain sight, and if you’ll feel safer with Renter’s Insurance, it might be worth looking into, should a burglary occur when you’re not home.

For more information on Rentals in the Seattle area, visit Ewing & Clark Inc.

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.

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 Ranked #2 City to Live In!

You probably have several personal reasons of why you love living in the Seattle area as much as you do, but do you know where our city stands among the rest of the nation? According to a poll run by Businessweek.com, a national Bloomsberg site, our very own Seattle was ranked the number two city to live in across the United States! Ranked only second to San Francisco, Seattle is highly regarded for having a high median average income, mild year round weather, clean air, and being a lovely waterside metropolitan area.

We have top companies like Microsoft, Boeing, Amazon, and Google that provide tens of thousands of jobs throughout the area, and a variety of neighborhoods sure to please every palate. According to the survey, the median household income is $90,303, we have 9 park acres per 1,000 residents, and have 16.8% locals with a graduate degree or higher. Do you think they missed some of the best reasons to live here? Check out who ranked after Seattle at Businessweek.com.