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?

Enso Condominium Rental: $2,395

enso

This beautiful 1 bed 1 bath condo rental in the Enso building is now available, with amazing city and Lake Union views! The unit features include vaulted ceilings, floor to ceiling windows,  patio, and the kitchen contains new stainless steel appliances, with gas range and  granite/limestone counter tops. The open floor plan includes bamboo hardwood flooring and a double sided fireplace.The bathroom has a spa feel, and a large soaking tub, (one of few in the whole building) and marble counter tops. The building has 24 hour controlled security, and the unit comes with 1 parking space. Some of the building amenities include a fitness center, community garden, BBQ deck and a guest suite for overnight visitors! The Enso is located in the heart of the Amazon campus, in close proximity to coffee shops, retail shopping district, and streetcar access. For more information on this listing, or other Seattle Rentals contact your local Real Estate Agent today.

Status: For Rent
Bed/Bath: 1,1
Price: $2,395

Alcyone Apartments Gets a Makeover

Alcone Apartment

Photo provided by Alcyone Apartments

In the next few years Vulcan Real Estate plans to do some renovating in the Alcyone Apartment complex in South Lake Union. According to the Daily Journal of Commerce, the 161 unit building built back in 2003 will receive several upgrades including new appliances, and new fitness equipment for the community gym. Kitchens will receive Energy Star refrigerators and dishwashers, which will be installed to improve energy efficiency, and outdoor furniture will also be added to the amenities of the complex.

Other upgrades are to include single stacked washers and dryers in units, quartz counter tops in both the kitchen and bathrooms, and new plank flooring in the kitchen and bathrooms, as well as new carpet in some additional rooms. Units will be re-painted, and some rooms will receive new sinks and faucets, new cabinet faces in the loft units, and updated bathroom lighting and hardware. In a press release, Vulcan has expressed that the upgrades should help the Alcyone stay competitive in the neighborhood, with all of the new building proposals, and developments already underway. For more information about the apartments or availability visit Alcyone today.

 

Amazon’s SLU Sale Is the Largest in the US for 2012

The mammoth $1.16 Billion Amazon sale of their South Lake Union headquarter went through last week, and was officially dubbed the largest commercial office sale of 2012, according to the Puget Sound Business Journal. The stats are tracked by New York research firm Real Capital Analytics, and the Amazon transaction was recently ranked as the 27th largest commercial office sale in US history. According to the Puget Sound Business Journal, Amazon had plenty of incentive to close the deal prior to the new year; Amazon made a $51 million deposit that the company would forfeit if the transaction did not close this quarter. amazon

The sale certainly blows other substantial commercial transactions out of the park, with the next largest deal estimated at $868.6 million being a 1.2 million-square-foot building in San Francisco. The question still hangs in the air as to where all of the Amazonians will live around SLU once the expansion is full installed? Is there enough condos and rentals available in the neighborhood, or will it become overbuilt with highrises in upcoming years?

Aspira Apartments Sell for $165.7M

The Aspira apartment building Downtown near South Lake Union was bought by T-C Aspira LLC on Thursday November 1 for $165.7 million, according to the Puget Sound Business Journal. Urban Partners and O’Conner Capital Partners developed the 37 story building, which has 325 units, and 6,500 sf of retail space.

The price per unit of this building after the sale is far beyond anything in the Puget Sound area. Based on the availability,the price per unit has been configured to $509,760 per unit, not including the retail space. For more information on the sale and building, visit the Aspira Apartments website.

Garbage Piling Up? Waste Management Strike Affects King County

Did you notice your garbage was still in the driveway when you came home from work yesterday afternoon? You weren’t the only one! The Waste Management Team in King and Snohomish counties went on strike yesterday afternoon against the largest refuse service over wage and benefits issues in the Northwest. According to the Seattle Times, the Local 117, which includes 153 recycling-route drivers walked out yesterday, and were joined by the garbage truck drivers of Local 174 shortly after.

Drivers began to pull service trucks into the South Seattle Waste Management yard, stepped out of their vehicles and picked up a picket sign. Their strike affects over 220,000 in King and Snohomish counties, and Waste Management could be issued steep fines should the strike drag out; up to $4,500 dollars a day for failing to make scheduled collections, and $250,000 if the strike drags out longer than a week. Drivers have been without a contract since May 31st, and are disputing the wage gap between recycle drivers who start at $17 an hour vs garbage drivers who’re starting at around $26 an hour. At this time there are no plans for negotiation in place, Waste Management hopes drivers will come back to work. For more information on the strike, visit the Seattle Times.

Rezoning Plan Released For SLU

Monday evening, Seattle officials released their plans for rezoning in the South lake Union area, with the anticipation for the influx of residents and workers coming to the area. The plan estimated 12,000 people moving to the neighborhood with over 22,000 jobs over the next ten years provided by amazon and other local companies.

The proposal includes an array of requirements listed below but not limited to:

  • Increasing the current building height restrictions
  • Preserving the current Cascade Neighborhood (one of the oldest in Seattle) and creating a new residential community along 8th Ave North of Denny Park
  • Establishing new development standards to ensure new towers are spaced to preserve public views through the neighborhood
  • Strengthening incentives to preserve landmark properties and existing open spaces
  • Creating a new incentive to build a new public school to serve the city center

For an extensive overview of the South lake Union rezoning proposal, and incite from Mayor Mike McGinn visit Seattle.gov.