Urban Growth in Seattle

As we bid farewell to 2014, we can look forward to a continued strong real estate market in Seattle in 2015, driven by not only our strong economy, but also the influx of people wanting to live in the city.

In terms of the job market, Seattle Bellevue Everett Metropolitan Statistical Area unemployment rate is currently at 4.5%, below our ten-year average of 6.1%. In addition to growth in the number of jobs in our area, we are also seeing growth in wages due to the types of jobs we have been adding at companies such as Microsoft, Amazon, and Boeing.  However, retail and construction also had positive growth in the past year.

These companies are attracting young, skilled Millennial workers to our city’s core where companies like Amazon have set up shop. In an interview with Jeff Bezos, he indicated that an urban setting set the stage for the type of culture he sought for the company. NBBJ chairman (an architecture firm), Scott Wyatt, pointed to several reasons why this model works: Urban Seattle is growing faster than the suburbs, people want activities close by and don’t necessarily want to own a vehicle, companies want to foster a collaborative environment with not only employees from their own company, but other companies as well, and an urban setting allows for more physical movement. It is clear that if the Amazon model works, we will continue to see growth in the tech sector in the urban core.

We don’t currently have enough housing to keep up with the housing demand in the urban core, which is why rent rates are increasing at the pace they are as well as median home prices. I expect this will continue to be an issue in 2015 as our city amplifies its efforts to keep up with demand.

For example, according to the Seattle Times, there is a new skyscraper coming to town – a tower to replace the current Rainier Square shopping mall which will include eight stories of luxury apartments as well as 35 floors of offices and ground-floor retail. It sits between Fourth and Fifth avenues and Union and University streets on the site of the original University of Washington. This will be the second-highest skyscraper in the city, behind the Columbia Tower. However, this is still in the planning stages and will not be completed for several years.

These factors point to investment appreciation if you own real estate in Seattle. Our market is strong and all signs point to a robust 2015. Give me a call to learn more: Steve Laevastu: 206-226-5300 or sold@windermere.com.