The Buzz: Amazon’s Towers Come to Life while the Rental Market Softens Slightly–But the Renter Nation Lives On

Shiny: Amazon releases depictions of its proposed downtown campus.

News of Amazon’s proposed Denny Triangle towers has been flying about now for more than six months now, and now we’ve got visuals! The packet of artists’ depictions includes a bird’s-eye view of the campus, as well as plenty of close-ups on the impact of the office towers rising from downtown Seattle. The towers would each rise up to 37 stories, and include one million square feet over three blocks, on Westlake Ave. between Lenora St. and Virginia St. It’s not a done deal yet, though; the Downtown Design Review Board is currently looking over the design, and will meet on Tuesday. Check out more info in the Seattle PI.

According to Axiometrics Inc., rent growth softened in June–but only a bit.

According to the rental data firm, rent growth (that’s national sequential effective rent growth to you) between May and June 2012 was 0.52%; that’s down from 0.76% during the same portion of last year. The shift is subtle, however, and Axiometrics says that it may not stop 2012 from being the third year in a row in which the apartment market grows 4% or more nationally. “We will soon know if this is just a one-month blip or if it looks like there will be further softening in the second half of the year, though by historical standards we are still in a strong effective rent growth market,” Jay Denton of Axiometrics explains. For more, check out the full article at Mortgage Orb.

Echoes of the Great Recession inform the decisions of Generation Rent.

“As the Great Depression shaped the attitudes of a generation from 1929 until the early years of World War II, so have the financial crisis and its aftermath affected the outlook of young consumers,” says Cliff Zukin, a professor of public policy, as quoted in a new article from Bloomberg News. According to Bloomberg, we now prefer our living quarters like we like our music–available when we need it, without the permanence that buying affords. For music we turn to subscription-based cloud services, and for housing, we’re finding anything more than renting to be just a little more permanence than we’re comfortable with. Do you agree? Check out the article here.

Multifamily housing, the golden child of Generation Rent, is making gains–and friends–where it was previously banned.

In California, Alameda County–home to Hayward, Emeryville, and other Bay Area cities–has voted to approve the development of multifamily housing for the first time in four decades, in an effort to provide more affordable housing in the county (San Francisco Chronicle). Meanwhile in Enfield, Connecticut, the Planning Commission has just voted to allow new multifamily housing in residential zones for the first time in over ten years; the new regulations are being characterized as “fairly strict,” but are being hailed as a good start in the road to increased allowances for denser rental housing (Hartford Courant). No wonder the Atlanta Business Chronicle is reporting that multifamily is inspiring particular confidence with investors; some argue it’s one of the strongest spokes in the wheel that is the housing market. Click the links above to read more.


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