Seattle Centric: Average Rents, Successful Women, and the Governor’s Tour of SLU

Seattle Centric: News about rental real estate in Seattle, Washington, from

Curbed: Just what does Seattle’s average rent get you? 

Seattle’s average rent at the end of June hit $1,190–and Curbed decided to take a look at just what that amount will get you in different neighborhoods across the city. In Ballard, your $1,190 will move you into a two bedroom one-bath ground-floor unit, with 900 square feet of indoor space–as well as a back patio. Meanwhile, over in Eastlake, the same amount will get you a one bedroom, one-bath apartment in a twelve-unit building, with just 595 square feet–but it’s right in the heart of Eastlake. Curious to see what $1,195 gets in your neighborhood? Check out the featured units over at Curbed.

TechFlash: Governor Inslee tours Stack House Apartments in South Lake Union

All eyes have been on South Lake Union lately–and on Tuesday, the focus was even more intense as governor Jay Inslee toured the neighborhood. His stops on the Vulcan-lead tour included Amazon’s headquarters, as well as the Stack House Apartments, a 278-unit Vulcan project that is pursuing a Platinum LEED certification. So what does the governor think of this rising star neighborhood? According to his remarks, he sounds pretty excited, saying that “we are seeing energy innovation in action” in the district. Read more.

RedFin: Seattle a magnet for single, successful women

Did you know that women have surpassed men in the attainment of bachelor’s degrees? With the numbers of single, successful women soaring across the United States, Redfin decided to take a look at the cities that are most popular for these well-educated, unmarried ladies–and Seattle ranked number six! According to the article, Seattle’s “top-tier female employer” is Microsoft; 56% of women are college graduates, 32% earn high incomes, and 18% are single and between the ages of 25 and 39. Bonus: there’s what Redfin calls a “single men surplus” of 16%. Check out the rest of the results to see the other cities successful women love.  

PSBJ: Historic building near Pike Place Market to be renovated

The Wall Street Journal once called it an “eyesore,” and city officials almost condemned the property years ago–but now the 109 year old Eitel Building, located at Second and Pike, is about to get new life courtesy of Seattle firm Urban Visions. The company plans to renovate the property completely; when complete, the building will boast a top-floor restaurant and bar, a rooftop deck, retail space and residential units. They also plan to rehabilitate the building’s historic facade, while replacing structural elements where necessary. Read more here.

Seattle Times: RHAWA gives us the lowdown on rental deposits

Ah, the age-old tradition of the rental deposit.  Almost every landlord requires a security deposit–but do you know the ins and outs of deposits in Landlord Tenant law? In a new article from the Seattle Times, RHAWA External Affairs director Sean Martin tells us all about deposits, explaining just what is legal–and why. Among his talking points: a deposit “can be collected for virtually any purpose, as long as it is specified in name,” and must be fully refundable at the end of a tenancy (as long as the tenants comply with lease agreements, of course). What’s more, in the case of a security or damage deposit, a property condition checklist must be completed–otherwise there is no legal basis for refusing to return the deposit. Check out the rest of the rules and regulations here.


Seattle Centric: Historic Jobless Rate, Urban Gen-Y Renters, & Investing in Multifamily

Happy summer! Now that it’s officially apartment-hunting season, how will you celebrate? With a good power-washing, perhaps? Or maybe something more fun–it’s supposed to get into the eighties this weekend…Seattle CentricIt’s the first day of summer–and Seattle’s is the longest in the contiguous US!

Okay, so this story doesn’t have much to do with the rental market–but we’re just plain excited. Say what you will about Seattle weather, but we can pat ourselves on the back when it comes to the Summer Solstice. According to the Seattle PI, on June 21st, Seattle “has more daylight than any other major metro in the contiguous United States.” 15.59 hours of daylight, in fact. Take that, California! So how will you spend the longest day of the year? Is it time to spruce up the outside of a property, or will you take the day off? Rest assured that whatever you’re up to, you’ll have plenty of daylight to do it in. Read more.

Seattle jobless rate hits 4.7%

We know, we started out the last edition of Seattle Centric talking about the state jobless rate; but that was a whole month ago, and now we’ve got great news for Seattle unemployment. That’s right–while a year ago, we were looking at 7.3%, now, for the first time since 2008, the Seattle jobless rate has fallen below 5%. So what (or who) is to credit for this recovery? According to economist Paul Turek, it’s “the Boeing factor.” Also noted is the jump in construction. And the cherry on top? According to Maria Ramirez, an economist with MFR, a jobless rate of 5% or less can be defined as “full employment.” Congratulations, Seattle! Read more.

Seattle apartment market shaped by Gen-Y employees

And speaking of jobs, the Puget Sound Business Journal just featured an article about the current demand for smaller, more urban apartments–and how that demand is shaped by the jobs available in our city. Seattle-based companies like Nordstrom, Starbucks,, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation are attracting young professionals who view the city as a land of opportunity; and these Gen-Y employees, who don’t yet have families, prefer smaller, more versatile apartments, located in walkable neighborhoods that are easily accessible from the office. Read more.

In a tough investment market, expert looks to rentals

Yikes: “This year’s stock market surge has stalled and the market is too choppy to provide any sort of reassurance,” journalist Christina Rexrode writes in a new AP article. So what’s a smart investor to do? The article polled five experts in the field to see what their suggestions were, and according to Mickey Segal, a managing partner at an investment firm in LA, the time is ripe for investing in the apartment market. Segal cites conditions which describe the Seattle rental market: the high demand and low supply in the current market, combined with the very tight supply on homes for sale–which, in some areas, is due to investor groups buying houses to turn into rental properties. Finally, development of new apartments in 2013 is scheduled to fall short of 2012 development, meaning multifamily will continue to be strong going into next year. Read more.

Seattle Centric: Employment Numbers, Investment Trends, and Lots of New Development


Happy Friday! It may be raining, but that can’t dampen our spirits–we’ve got all sorts of good Seattle news for you today. Seattle Centric

Washington State employment is down again!

Good news this week from the Seattle Times–Washington State unemployment fell again in April. The new figure, hitting right at 7%, has fallen half a percentage point since 2013 began–and it puts unemployment at the lowest it’s been in over four years. The figure also puts us a little ahead of much of the country–according to Washington State labor economist Scott Bailey, unemployment is “continuing to improve at a moderate but accelerating rate, somewhat faster than the nation.” And the numbers within Seattle are even better; April’s unemployment rate for the city was just 5.1%, down from 7.3% one year ago. Read more.

From Dupre+Scott: Apartment investors are serious about 2013

Have you checked out Dupre+Scott’s new weekly video update? This week’s video is about apartment sales. Last year, investors bought $2.5 billion worth of apartments last year, making it the third-highest volume year in our region ever. So how are sales stacking up this year? Dupre+Scott compared the first four months of this year with the first four months of last year to find out. And the numbers are great–sales for January through April are up 26% over the same period last year, while the dollar amount of those sales is up a whole 32%. The average sale price is up, too; check out the video for all the details.

Big changes ahead for Cap Hill’s Bauhaus block

According to the Puget Sound Business Journal, East Pine Street, on Capitol Hill, is about to get quite the facelift. The block, home of Bauhaus Coffee and Books, is the future site of a mixed-use project by Kirkland-based Madison Development Project. The project will incorporate some currently existing architecture, including the Melrose Building, and will feature 14,000 square fet of retail, as well as 180 apartment units and underground parking. Read more.

Rezone approved–so what’s next for South Lake Union?

The City Council has voted, and the results are in–taller buildings will be allowed in South Lake Union. So what will the changing face of the area look like? According to the Daily Journal of Commerce, nine projects were waiting on the approval–that includes 976 apartment units, 1.98 million square feet of commercial space, and a hotel. Of note are Equity Residential’s planned twin seven-story apartment buildings at 222 Fairview Avenue North, totaling 497 units, and Greystar’s seven-story building that  will house 279 units at 400 Boren Avenue North. Read more.

Seattle Centric: Honors for Green Building, Dropping Unemployment, & the Micro-Apartment Debate

Seattle CentricJobless rate down across Puget Sound

ID-100123804Good news for the workforce from the Seattle Times–unemployment rates fell all across the region in March. King County’s jobless rate for the month was just 5.1%, down from February’s 5.6%. Meanwhile, the rate in Snohomish County dropped to 5.7%, down from 6.3% the month before; Pierce County’s numbers, while higher, followed suit at 9.1%, down from 9.5%. Statewide, the unemployment rate droped to 7.5%, down from 8.2% in February. Read more here.

Seattle building scores spot on Top 10 Green Projects list for US

FederalCenterSouthBuilding1202_BenjaminBenschneider_atrium_landscaping1-660x989Green architecture enthusiasts rejoice–the American Institute of Architects has released their annual list of the Top 10 Green Projects in the country, and a Seattle building is on the list! The lucky winner, the Seattle Federal Center South Building 1202, located four miles south of downtown, was built in less than two and a half years by Sellen Construction and ZGF Architects. The design optimizes sunlight, utilizing a glass roof and stainless steel shingles, and its three floors wrap around a central atrium. Check out the photo gallery here.

Rainier Valley apartment project green-lighted

Screen shot 2013-04-26 at 8.22.08 AMA new 307-unit apartment building will soon start to take shape next to the Mount Baker light-rail station. The project, to be built in the place of old single-family homes, was quickly approved by the Seattle City Council on Wednesday. Next up, the Council must vote on the contract rezone. Scott Roberts, of Lake Union Partners, is confident the project will go through; “everybody wants density,” he told the Puget Sound Business Journal. According to the Journal, the property is ripe for development, and its position right along the light rail line makes it appealing for multifamily use. Check out a slideshow of the future building over at

Micro-Apartments: Problem, or solution for Seattle?

Mayor-micro-pod-3-smWe’ve written extensively in The Green Report about the micro-apartments being hailed as the solution to low vacancy and soaring rents in major cities across the US. But here in Seattle, neighborhood activists are calling for a moratorium on the housing, which is gaining popularity on Cap Hill and in the U-District. So what’s the problem? According to the Times, Seattle regulates housing development per kitchen, and not per bedroom–and since many micro-units share one kitchen, some of the new developments are “avoiding design and environmental reviews and notice to neighbors” that are usually required for multifamily projects. Increased density can also pose challenges to growing neighborhoods. Read more here.

Seattle Centric: Job Growth, Vacancy Rates, and…Big Bertha!

Spring is upon us, and changes are afoot in downtown Seattle–in fact, we have a visitor in town to help us with those changes. That’s right, Big Bertha arrived today! She’s a world-record-breaking tunnel drilling machine, sent over from Japan just to help our engineers drill the new Highway 99 tunnels. Want to check it out? The Seattle Times has the lowdown on where you can see the machine for yourself. But for now, enjoy the rental real estate news roundup we’ve put together for you once again–welcome back to Seattle Centric.

Seattle CentricSeattle PI: Job growth strong, vacancies low within the city

Remember back in February of 2010, when the unemployment rate bottomed out? The Seattle PI has the numbers on where we’ve gotten to since then–and the news is good. According to Apartment Insights, over 100,000 jobs have been added within the Seattle area; that’s 82.3% of the jobs lost over the course of the recession.

ID-10037845 (1)Jobs are one piece of the puzzle; vacancies are another. Currently, vacancy is at 3.8% in the Puget Sound area–that’s down from 4.7% last March. And in Seattle, the market is even tighter, with vacancy at just 2.9% (down from 3.1 last year). These numbers don’t include vacant apartments that are in lease-up or under construction; as new units open, we’ll keep an eye on the vacancy numbers and see how they do. Read more.

Bizjounal: Vulcan likely to come up short in South Lake Union re-zoning

South Lake Union SkylineWe’ve been hearing for awhile now about Vulcan’s proposed plans for towers up to 240 feet tall in South Lake Union; on Monday, the Seattle City Council members indicated their votes may not end up allowing that scenario. Instead, the three towers planned for the Mercer blocks would only be allowed to top out at 160 feet.

Meanwhile, over at 400 Fairview Ave N., Skanska USA would have better luck, due to the Mayor’s proposal to raise height restrictions in that part of the neighborhood to 240 feet. Oh, those South Lake Union politics! Two votes are ahead of the Council on these rezoning issues: The first is on April 22nd, and the next will follow at the beginning of May. Read more.

DJC: For urban living, it’s all about…Bellevue?

If you’re all about Seattle, you may not have noticed the following, but Lisa Picard of Skanska USA certainly did: Between 2008 and 2011, downtown employment in Bellevue jumped more than threefold, from 12,000 to 44,000. This increase, largely driven by Microsoft, has revitalized interest in downtown Bellevue as an urban center–and apartment market vacancies are now at just 3.1%, only a couple of points higher than Seattle’s.

Bellevue, Washington

According to Picard, Bellevue’s reinvention as the area’s “second urban center” is driving a collaborative new economy in the city. “Urban areas have become playgrounds for the human experience…this is not only changing where developers supply housing, but how we do it.” While much of Bellevue’s current apartment stock is comprised of condos for rent, the future will be about flexible spaces that allow renters to “customize their own social experiences.” Read more.

My Northwest: Seattle once again among top cities for college grads

158354481With June just a few months away, it’s time for all those plucky, soon-to-be college graduates to choose their own adventure and decide where they’ll begin life as a true adult. To help them out with that choice, has released their annual list of the 25 top markets for college graduates, factoring in the cost of living, the average annual salary, and the unemployment rate.

Once again, Seattle made the elite top ten with a mean annual income of $54,800 and a median one-bedroom apartment price of $1,300. Other cities keeping us company in the top ten included Atlanta, Boston, Denver, Raleigh, and Washington D.C. Choose wisely, grads! Read more.

Seattle Centric: Solar in Seattle, the Heights of Cascade, and news from Yesler Terrace

The special day is almost here–that holiday everyone loves, or hates, or loves to hate, depending on their relationship status and their tolerance for prix fixe menus. If you haven’t made plans yet, don’t worry: Seattle has something for everyone, and the Seattle PI’s got you covered with their list of cruises, chocolate tastings, and even 5k runs. And now we’ll stop daydreaming about roses and chocolate and get down to the business at hand: Rental market news from all around our great city! That’s right, time once again for Seattle CentricSeattle Centric

Solar…in Seattle?

Did you know that many areas in Seattle can actually support a solar energy installation? We were surprised, but according to Keith Hughes of West Seattle Natural Energy (as quoted in the Seattle Times), “Seattle gets 80 percent as much sun as San Diego.” So is Seattle really primed for a solar revolution? Seattle City Light and Northwest SEED seem to think so; read more here from the Seattle Times.

South Lake Union may be getting taller, but will Cascade follow suit? Probably not.

Hype has abounded about proposed South Lake Union rezoning that would allow taller buildings in the area (spearheaded by Vulcan, of course). But some people have been left wondering if the changes would affect the nearby Cascade neighborhood as well. According to a new article from the Daily Journal of Commerce, that’s unlikely. The City is recommending that the Cascade neighborhood (located between Fairview and Eastlake) retain the current 75-foot housing height limit, which is one of the lowest in the city. Read more in the DJC.

Want to check in on single-family housing? The Seattle Home Show opens Saturday.

If you’ve got a little time this weekend and you’d like a peek into the current state of the single-family home market, you’re in luck–the Seattle Home Show opens this weekend. Among the trends exhibited at this year’s show are very small homes (a mini-cabin by Coast Cabins is on display) as well as more luxurious homes that are starting to regain popularity after the recession. One full-size model home will also be on exhibit at the show–a first since 2007. Read more from the Seattle Times.

Seattle rental market beats the South Sound by a longshot in Q4 of 2012

This important bit of news comes from the Puget Sound Business Journal and Tom Caine’s Apartment Insights. According to research from the firm, the rental market in Seattle at the end of last year was booming…while things in the South Sound didn’t go quite as well. The South Sound counties in question, Kitsap, Pierce and Thurston, had an average rent of $852 in the fourth quarter–far below that of urban Seattle. Check out the full numbers from the Business Journal here.

Yesler Terrace: A vision takes shape

New renderings of the Yesler Terrace redevelopment planned for 12th Ave. & Yesler have been released by Spectrum Development Solutions. As it stands currently, the plans are for a six-story, 120-unit apartment with retail space and parking included. While the majority of the apartments will cater to “nurses, teachers, emergency responders, and others employed downtown,” according to Jane McKinstry of Spectrum, 25% of the units will be reserved for those earning less than 80% of the area median income. Interested in the happenings over at Yesler Terrace? There’s a public meeting scheduled for this evening at 8pm, at Seattle University. Find out more from

…And that’s it for today. Oh yeah, one last thing: from all of us at Seattle Rentals, Happy Valentine’s Day!

free hugs

Seattle Centric: 2012 a Banner Year for Multifamily in Puget Sound

Oh, Seattle, how we love thee! It’s a new year for our fair city–let’s see what 2013 brings in the way of apartment market news.
Seattle Centric

Wall Street Journal: Seattle lead the nation in rent increases last year

spaceneedle_seattle_seaplane_511671_hNow that 2012 has come to a close, experts are crunching the final numbers as we reflect on the year. We all know that last year was great for rents; according to the Wall Street Journal, Seattle actually lead the pack when it came to increased rent amounts. The average monthly rent in Seattle was $1,060 last year–that’s up 5.8% from the previous year. While rents rose in other cities, none had quite such a high percentage of growth; San Francisco came in second, with a 5.7% increase (to $1,970), while Houston trailed with a 5.5% (putting rents at just $787). Check out the full article in the WSJ here.

Net Zero apartments now leasing in Queen Anne

Screen shot 2013-01-10 at 8.21.26 PMWorried about your carbon footprint? Maybe it’s time for a move to Lower Queen Anne. Stream Uptown, with 118 units starting at $1,132/month, is billing itself as Seattle’s first net zero apartment community–that’s a building where, as the Seattle PI put it, the developers have “fully mitigated its carbon footprint for construction and ongoing operation.” So just how will they pull that off? The PI reports that the building will utilize green building materials, install solar panels on the roof, and utilize a reverse-cycle chiller; in addition, the carbon footprint of construction will be mitigated by the developer’s planting of 60 trees in Magnuson Park. Check out the story in the Seattle PI. 

Dupre+Scott: 2012 apartment sales “well above average”

Screen shot 2013-01-10 at 8.27.58 PMSo we know that rents were up, vacancies down in 2012–but just how well did apartment sales do? Patty and Mike over at Dupre+Scott have the answers for us, as they so often do, in their Apartment Sales Volume Trends recap, released on their website last week. Highlights include the following: Investors purchased nearly $2.7 billion in apartments over the course of 2012; as Dupre+Scott put it, “that’s the third highest volume year ever.” When we compare 2012  to the other high-volume years–2005 and 2006–we see that while the dollar amount kept pace with those years nicely, the number of units sold was actually just average. In 2012, buyers paid an average of $138,000 per unit–that’s up from $96,000 in 2005. Check out those highlights and more here.

Available for rent: Unit in Queen Anne High School

Some say there are two kinds of people in this world: those who hated high school, and those who would go back to high school in a flash because it was the time of their lives. Now, the latter–at least those who live in Seattle–are in luck. A one-bed, 1.5-bath unit is now renting in historic Queen Anne High. The unit is gorgeous (nothing like the high school classrooms we spent four years in), with vaulted ceilings and painted brick interior accents. Check it out over at

201-galer-st-300x225That’s all we’ve got for you today. Is there Seattle-centric news you think we should cover? Let us know in the comments! In the meantime, have a great weekend…and stay warm out there!