Link Light Rail Affects Real Estate Prices

It can be tough to get around in Seattle and on the Eastside. As we add hundreds of people per week to our expanding city, and even more to the whole area, the problem is not going to go away anytime soon. More-flexible work schedules and people working from home will certainly help, but in the coming years, as Link light rail expands, the value of properties around those light rail stops were expected to go up. But now there is a study that substantiates that!

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Amazon Set to Lease More Office Space in Downtown Seattle

According to the Seattle Times, Amazon has leased a full city block in South Lake Union which was originally occupied by Troy Block. This is a two building development with 817,000 total square footage leased. The first of these two buildings will be open in 2016 and the other in 2017. The total square footage occupied by Amazon could accommodate 50,000 employees which would make Amazon the largest employer in Seattle.

While there are some concerns about Amazon occupying 25% of Seattle’s available inventory of premium office space, I would like to focus on what this could mean for our local real estate market.

As you probably are aware, we have a shortage of available homes in our Seattle real estate market. There is a shortage of condos, residences, and rentals causing rental rates to increase excessively. There are some apartment buildings in the area that are renting apartments in excess of $4,000 per month for a two bedroom apartment just over 1,000 square feet. The City of Seattle and King County have turned density and growth into hot, highly debatable, topics. Unless we allow for areas of higher density, house prices are going to continue to rise, causing would-be workers to be priced out of the urban core due to high rents or housing prices.

The second hot topic is transportation. Sound Transit and Light Rail are going to be a part of our long-term solution for dealing with the increase in traffic that more jobs in the Downtown core creates. Although I mentioned Amazon earlier, Facebook is also expanding Downtown according to Geekwire, along with Zillow, Twitter, Tableau, and Google which means more employees at these companies as well.

What do homeowners and would-be homeowners need to know? If you are renting, please talk to a real estate agent about what the next five years could look like for you in terms of rent versus your purchasing a home or a condo. There may be loan programs available that will allow you to purchase property with a lower down payment than you expected.

I will be keeping an eye on what Seattle and King County are doing to handle the density problem which could affect homeowners in our area. In other cities where additional dwellings are allowed on a city lot, the value of those lots have gone up significantly. I will be sure to keep you in the loop if something like that comes to the Seattle real estate market! In the meantime, please contact me with any questions you have about our local housing market: (206) 226-5300 or email

Shopping for a home – and a Parking Spot – in Seattle

Although many homes in Seattle come equipped with a garage and driveway, there are many homes in the older neighborhoods which are not so lucky, leaving neighbors vying for coveted curb space. Additionally, if you are a couple purchasing a condo in the Downtown area, the condo may come with a parking spot in the garage for a single vehicle, but perhaps not two. Therefore if you are buying in Seattle, thinking about what you are going to do about parking if your home or condo doesn’t come with enough spots to park your car is something that should indeed be on your mind.

We have forces working both for the parking-challenged and against them at the moment. With more micro-housing being built in Downtown which attracts Millennials who may be more likely to take advantage of public transportation, the parking problem may be alleviated in some areas. However, with more people moving to Seattle, that is going to make the overall problem a bigger challenge.

In neighborhoods where neighbors vy for street parking in front of their own house, the introduction of a neighbor with yet another car to park can be a challenge. It is important to remember that no one owns the parking spots on the street and while it is courteous to allow people to park in front of their own homes, it is not the law, so don’t assume that if you purchase a home, the spot on the street is yours.

I have seen extra parking spots in condo complexes go for $15,000 and up, making this a large expense in addition to the property you may be purchasing – if there is one available.

My advice? Make sure you don’t overlook this critical component in buying a home or condo in Seattle. Make a plan if the home you are making an offer on doesn’t include parking. Contact me to learn more! Steve Laevastu: or give me a call: (206)-226-5300

Walkability: A New Way To Look At Real Estate

If a move is in your future and you are looking for a location with easy access to mass transit, shopping, services, and bike trails, I use a tool in my business that provides buyers and homeowners with a “Walkability” analysis score. This feature has been very helpful for a number of my clients who want a true urban lifestyle with easy access.

According to the Puget Sound Business Journal, Seattle has ranked as the 6th “high walkable urbanism” area in the US after Washington DC, New York, Boston, San Francisco, and Chicago based on urban development based on a report, Foot Traffic Ahead: Ranking Walkable Urbanism in America’s Largest Metros put out by the Center for Real Estate and Urban Analysis at George Washington University School of Business. measures similar variables such as proximity to grocery stores, transit, and access to bike routes and provides a score for each address. ranks Seattle as a whole as a “71” – meaning that most errands can be accomplished on foot. However, let’s take a closer look at Downtown Seattle, listed as the most walkable neighborhood in Seattle. It has a Walkscore of 98 with a Transit score of 100 and a Bike score of 66.

I have listings in a number of neighborhoods in Seattle. Here is how they measure up on

1606 NE 75th St in Ravenna:

  • Walk Score: 72 – Very Walkable
  • Transit Score: 52 – Good Transit
  • Bike Score: 72 – Very Bikeable

11038 Fremont Ave N in Broadview:

  • Walk Score: 60 – Somewhat Walkable
  • Transit Score: 50 – Good Transit
  • Bike Score: 57 –Bikeable

8008 Meridian Ave N in Greenlake:

  • Walk Score: 58 – Somewhat Walkable
  • Transit Score: 50 – Good Transit
  • Bike Score: 63 – Bikeable

How does your property stack up in terms of walkability? Type in your address at:

If you have questions about how walkability impacts your home value, please contact me: (206) 226-5300 or