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…

Seattle Ranked Among Highest Rent Paying Cities

for-rent-signIt’s no secret that Seattle is one of the hottest cities in the country for young adults in their 20’s and 30’s and beyond. That’s not surprising information given the influx of tech related jobs with popular companies such as Microsoft, Amazon, Apple, Expedia and many more in and around the area. Add to that a fabulous art and music scene, incredible restaurants driven by award winning chefs and breath taking views, and you’ve got a recipe that has had more young people moving to the Emerald City than ever before.

In spite of  this consistent growth in the city, Seattle has still managed to elude Zillow’s annual Top Ten List of highest rent paying cities in the country,  instead sitting pretty for the last 4 years at #13. That is, until now. Seattle has placed at #10 on the list for 2015, knocking Philadelphia out of a spot it has firmly held on to for the past 4 years. That means that the Big Kahuna of the PNW is up there with the likes of New York, Chicago and Los Angeles, to name just a few.

Perhaps surprisingly for some, the list states that Seattleites paid a whopping $10.2 Billion (yes, you read the right) in rent between November 2014 and November 2015. Couple that with the estimated 20,000 more people who found employment in that time and it starts to make sense, and while it may be easy and even logical to assume the tech boom is responsible for all this, it’s not alone.

Tech companies have experienced a 5 percent increase over the last year, which is nothing to sneeze at, but it’s the construction industry that takes the cake, with an estimated 6.7 percent increase over the last year. Developers in Seattle have been rushing to meet the housing demand of the city (with 10,425 apartment units recently completed or under construction and about a 25 percent increase in apartment inventory over the past three years), but it’s not likely to be quite enough or to help ease rental prices.

“It’s unlikely we’ll see any real rent relief in Seattle any time soon,”  said CEO and co-founder of Cozy Gino Zahnd. “While there’s plenty of new construction, these projects tend to focus on luxury units. Nationwide, we aren’t seeing many new units targeted at middle-income earners.” And though Seattle has plenty of high earners eagerly looking for housing, Zahnd says “Demand will likely remain high, as long as Seattle’s biggest employers continue to expand,” and notes that it’s unlikely we’ve reached a point of saturation, particularly on the high end.

Zahnd also points out that while the construction boom has brought many new jobs to the city, it is unlikely that these construction workers are living in the high-end luxury units they’re building. “Sure people are coming for these construction jobs, but are they living in the luxury high rises they’re building?” he said. “Even with no data, I’m almost certain they are not.”

In any case, with all these new jobs, a housing boom and being ranked among the countries ‘Big Boys’ for the first time, it seems Seattle is finally beginning to be taken seriously as one of the major cities in the country, a fact locals have know for quite some time.

Don’t Lose Your Dream Home to Another Buyer

As a renter, it’s possible you’ve toyed with the idea of buying, browsed available homes in your price range, or taken advice from friends and family in Real Estate. A word of advice of you’re ready to take the leap; don’t let your dream home be the one that got away. In your home search, you want to have no regrets and be absolutely certain that you’re the perfect match, and you don’t want to lose the right one to another buyer because you clammed up at the last minute.

Maple Leaf Bungalow

Make sure your financials are in order whether your paying cash or getting a mortgage, and be prepared to provide your real estate agent with your proof of funds right away so they have that information on file when you submit an offer. Be positive this is a home you’ll be happy in for the long haul, and although you’ll likely have to compromise on certain issues, do your homework and make sure it has everything you and your family will need. With low inventory in the Seattle Market and the Puget Sound area, know that you’re not the only one likely interested in your home. There is potential for bidding wars, so if you know the time is right make an offer when you’re ready.

For Rent: Grand Issaquah Retreat

This wonderful Issaquah retreat is now on the market, and sits on 5.6 acres. The initial walk into the home invites visitors with a grand staircase and features an Epicurean style kitchen with top of the line appliances, granite and cherry cabinets. The Master and guest suites are quite expansive, and other amenities include an indoor golf room with a projection simulator, a dance room with stage, and a media and craft rooms. The backyard feels like you’re sitting in your own private park with a wading pool, waterfall, gazebo and play structure perfect for entertaining guests. This home is near Lake Sammamish State Park, and Tiger Mountain State forest.

Status: For Rent
Bed/Bath: 6,8
List Price: $8,000

Downtown Seattle Condos Starting to Fill Up

Downtown Seattle Penthouse Condo Available

The past two years have not been promising for the Seattle Condo Market, and condo developers are finally starting to see a turn around in the Downtown area. According to the Seattle Times, roughly two dozen new projects were at work between 2007-2010 during big the real-estate crash. Many of those who bought the pre-sale backed out and several developers ended up converting their buildings to rental units to cater to the economy. Those who stuck it out had to slash prices, and in many cases had to lower the costs by up to 40 percent.

Today the market is starting to look more appealing and beginning to have the first signs that it will bounce back. A few good indicators include Escala raising  some of their prices; one of the largest downtown projects to date, Escala did so quietly, with the majority of their condo units selling for 99% of the asking price, they’ve begun upping the anty as their inventory gets smaller. Also of the 2,500 condo projects that have been built in downtown and surrounding areas, fewer than 250 units is left unsold. There are currently no new projects in place; most developers and lenders have put condos on hold to allow the market to recuperate. If you’re interested in learning more about finding a condo in the Seattle area, here is a list of available units.

Pioneer Square Board Gives the OK On 25 Story Apartment Building

If you’ve heard, the rumors are true; the city board, who has been in charge of keeping the historic presentation of Pioneer Square alive, cast their votes and approved the modern sleek design of a 25-story apartment high rise just north of the Sodo stadiums. The all glass and steel tower will be sectioned into 2-4 story boxes, that will be positioned at varying angles. The building is part of a larger project named Stadium Place, in what previously was the North Parking Lot of Century Link Field.

Photo Courtesy of the Seattle Times, ZGF Architects

 

The collaborative developers Daniels Real Estate and R.D. Merril presented the design back in December, and were met with mixed reviews, some stating that the design was far too modern to fit in with the historical appeal of Pioneer Square. But most members of the Pioneer Square Preservation Board actually had positive reviews of the design, and were all in agreeance with the new construction. The “South Tower” would be just a little shorter than the stadium, at 240 feet tall, and will have 333 units. Other projects are in the planning stages for the first phase of Stadium Place, such as a 20 story condo tower, and an office and hotel tower as well. For more information on these apartments, visit the Seattle Times.

For Rent: Luxury Belltown Condo With Sweeping Views

Are you looking for a luxury rental in the heart of downtown Seattle?  Perhaps you’d like to live on the Seattle waterfront at Pike Place market?  If so, we have the perfect rental for you.  This two bedroom, one and a half bathroom condo is located in the legendary Pike and Virginia Building offering breathtaking views of Elliot Bay, Mt. Rainier, the Olympic Mountains and downtown Seattle waterfront from the floor to ceiling windows.  The unit features a gorgeous marble bathroom, a French country kitchen and a spiral staircase leading to the loft-style bedroom.  Residents will enjoy superb restaurants, shopping, entertainment and everything downtown Seattle has to offer, all just a short walk away.  This unit is available for rent for $6,700/mo.  Please contact the Ewing & Clark Madison Park office for more information.  To search for more Seattle luxury rentals, please visit our online property search. 

Status: For Rent
Beds/Bath: 2/1.5
List Price: $6,700

Only One Unit Left in the Art Stable!

There is only one unit left for sale in the Tom Kundig designed Art Stable in the South Lake Union neighborhood! Check out this listing, along with others for sale/lease, that the folks over at Urbnlivn have compiled.

US Goverment Proposes New Mortgage Rules

The US government has proposed some new mortgage lending rules that could help many homeowners avoid foreclosure. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau‘s proposed the rules this morning that would require mortgage companies to to offer all borrowers standard monthly statements, and inform customers of any interest rate or insurance changes. Companies would also be responsible for certain “good faith efforts” to inform borrowers at risk of foreclosure, and find options for them to salvage their homes.

An estimated 8 million Americans have faced foreclosure since the housing  market began to sank in 2006. Many homeowners have pledged that mortgage companies failed to inform them of foreclosure threats, or verify information on important foreclosure documents. For more information on the foreclosure proposal, visit the Seattle Times.

Seattle Rental Rates Continue to Rise Through 2012

Are you currently a renter who believes you’re paying too much for your rental house on Queen Anne, your Ballard apartment, or your West Seattle condo? If you are not then consider yourself lucky because the cost of rent continues to rise as vacancies around Seattle continue to shrink. While rates are predicted to continue steadily rising through 2012, next year real estate analysts say the trend may come to a halt. 

Rent is continuing to rise in the King and Snohomish counties and according to the Seattle Times, several experts suggest these rates will continue to rise until next year, when a surge of current projects are scheduled to be completed, creating more vacancies around the city. According to the Apartment Insights Washington, the average monthly cost of rent in Seattle is currently $1,094, up 1.7% from last quarter. Our region is in the largest apartment construction boom we’ve seen in over two decades, and should expect rental rates to drop, or at least begin to rise more modestly after this year. For more information, please visit the Seattle Times.