Ten Days of Buzz: July 21-30, 2013

Ten Days of Buzz - Rental Market News from SeattleRentals.com


“Coming out of the recession, investors who were burned in the past were looking for safety. Office real estate was reeling, retail was still trying to get its footing. Multifamily is a very safe investment and returns are very good.”

Jose Cruz of HFF. Commercial real estate’s safe harbor in a storm: Multifamilies, NJ.com, 7/21/13.

Nationally, the overall urban multifamily rental market is 3.2% above any prior cycle peak and still growing. As younger Americans return to the work force, demand for rental housing is expected to continue increasing over the next five years.”

Real Estate invstor Brian Kline. The Real Money is in Multifamily Development, RealtyBizNews.com, 7/22/13.

“Multifamily renovations will become increasingly popular as the market fundamentals remain or improve.”

Paul Daneshrad of StarPoint Properties. Multifamily Market: Making ‘Cents’ of Renovations, GlobeSt.com, 7/23/13.

“As of 2013, there are more mobile devices than people. 98% of renters surveyed used their mobile device at least once a week in their home search.”

Pierre Calzadilla of Trulia Rentals. Understanding the Modern Renter (webinar), Appfolio.com, 7/24/13.

“Missing households are the pent-up demand for housing that we’ve been talking about throughout the recession.”

Jed Kolko, Trulia Chief Economist. ‘Missing households’ represent big source of pent-up demand, Inman News, 7/25/13.

“Vacancy rates continue to edge down and rental rates are moving up, providing no suggestion that supply has begun to outstrip demand.”

Harvard University, in a recent study. Rents not easing despite rise in rates; owners are benefiting, Los Angeles Times, 7/26/13.

“In King County, Wash., the Right Size Parking project visited more than 200 buildings and found one parked car per occupied dwelling, on average. It also found an extra 0.4 empty stalls per occupied housing unit: almost one-third of parking was idle.”

Alan Durning of Sighline Daily. How Unused Parking Adds Up, Grist.org, 7/28/13.

“Pending home sales dropped in June thanks to rising mortgage rates, according to the National Association of Realtors. The organization’s Pending Home Sales Index, which is based on contract signings, dipped 0.4 points to 110.9 in June.”

Kent Hoover, Washington Bureau Chief for the Puget Sound Business Journal. Rising mortgage rates lead to drop in pending home sales, BizJournals.com, 7/29/13.

“This has got to be the single most high-profile IPO in the sector, and everything else that’s priced going forward is going to be priced off of this one. It’s going to be the communicator for the whole industry.”

Jim Wilson of JMP Securities. Single-Family Rental Firm’s IPO to Test Market, the Wall Street Journal, 7/30/13.


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

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

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.

The Green Report: Off-Grid Apartments, Urban Chickens, & Eco-Smarthomes

Seattle Rentals presents The Green Report: Sustainable apartment livingFrom London, Ontario: Apartment dwellers go off the grid

Usually, when you hear of someone living off the grid, it’s a homeowner in a cabin in the woods. But two renters in Ontario are decided to try an experiment–going off the grid in their apartment for three summer months. So just what does “going off the grid” in an apartment even entail? The roommates canceled their electricity and turned off their hot water heater, and are relying on portable solar panels to charge cell phones and a few lights. In addition, they’ve put a solar oven into work on the balcony, and do laundry in the tub with a bar of soap. Looks like going off the grid still isn’t for the faint of heart–but there are things to be learned from their experiment.  Read more.

From Davis, CA: Solar energy included in affordable housing developments

Solar panels are usually spotted on public projects (like schools) and upscale houses, due to the investment required at the outset–but in Davis, CA, a program is putting solar onto affordable housing, in light of the money it will save tenants over time. The entire complex, dubbed New Harmony, will utilize green building techniques and materials, including a sustainable water filtration system–but the big news are the solar arrays that will cover the building rooftops. The installation will allow residents to have a fixed-rate utility bill for the next thirty years, instead of an expensive, unpredictable one–and that will help these tenants immensely. Read more.

From England: “Eco-overhaul” turns ordinary apartment building into paragon of sustainability

Sometimes we forget the sustainable options for apartment buildings that have already been built, focusing on the development of green building practices for new construction. But one apartment building in England has just undergone a major sustainability overhaul–so drastic that the building is now being hailed as “one of the most environmentally friendly high-rise blocks in the UK.” The building was overhauled as part of a government program, and the renovations included a solar-powered heating system, more efficient insulation, brand-new kitchens and bathrooms, and double-paned windows. As a result of the upgrades, residents have found themselves saving over $700 each month on utilities. Read more.

From Seattle: The urban chicken-raising trend comes home to roost

The past few years have seen urban chicken raising go from an unknown to a practically mainstream hobby, especially among homeowners. The chickens–a great source of fresh, local eggs–have caught on in a such a big way that Redfin recently released a list of the top chicken-raising cities in the United States. Seattle ranked fifth, behind Portland, Ventura CA, San Diego and Sacramento. According to Seattle laws, residents can keep up to eight chickens on their property. No word yet on rentals with chicken coop availability, although we have a hunch this trend will mostly stick with the single-family homes. Read more

From GreenerIdeal.com: “Eco smarthomes” are the next big thing

It’s been decades since the “home of the future” first entered our cultural lexicon via Worlds Fairs, Disneyland, and other sources–and while a few technological advancements took place over the 90s and early 2000s, most of the true “smart home” developments have happened over just the past few years. And while homes of the future back in the 1950s mostly had to do with convenience, many of the advancements we have recently made–products like smart thermostats and lighting that can be controlled from elsewhere–have the added bonus of conserving energy and being more sustainable than their earlier counterparts. With that in mind, Greener Ideal thinks ecologically friendly smarthomes could “replace smartphones” as the consumer fad of the future. We won’t hold our breath for smartphones to fall out of favor with the public any time soon; but there’s no question that Nest thermometers are only the beginning, and houses will get “smarter” from here on out. Read more.

Five Ways to…Optimize Curb Appeal

Have you picked up July’s edition of UNITS, from the NAA? This month’s issue is all about the curb appeal, from their annual Curb Appeal Awards to the accompanying Curb Appeal Checklist. In honor of the issue, and the fact that we’re only halfway through summer apartment hunting season, here are our top five tips for optimizing the curb appeal on your units. Enjoy!

Five Ways To Optimize Curb Appeal1. Give your sign some TLC.

Spruce up your apartment signIf your building or complex utilizes a sign, it is essential that your sign be well taken care of. A sign and its surroundings are the most immediate and constant way of showcasing the identity of an apartment community; as such, the sign should be clean and look freshly painted, with well-maintained foliage (including colorful flowers that differ from nearby competition) surrounding it. In Seattle and surrounding areas, mildew can build up during the winter–make sure to pressure wash or clean the sign in the spring or summer.

2. Don’t skimp on the re-painting and landscaping, especially during summer months.

Paint and landscape to keep apartment curb appeal at an all-time highSometimes there’s just no substitute for a fresh coat of paint on a building, especially if it’s been awhile since the building was last painted. Fresh, beautiful paint lets tenants and passers-by alike know that management is invested in the upkeep of the building–it’s unmistakable. Another essential factor during the summer months is landscaping. Don’t let plants die or overgrow in common areas; well-groomed foliage that compliments the apartment’s identity is essential to keeping up the curb appeal. And if you’re going eco-friendly, consider native plants that won’t require extra watering.

3. Light your outdoor spaces well.

 Light your outdoor spaces well to increase curb appealWhat good is a gorgeous building and impeccable grounds if no one can see them (and they look unsafe) after dark? As a landlord or apartment manager, it is essential that you keep outdoor walkways and spaces well-lit. Bright and cheery signs, foliage, and walkways are an instant advertisement for your rental community–it shows potential tenants that the grounds are regularly maintained, and that their safety is important to apartment management. Of course, there’s no need to light up the night like Disneyland; low-wattage lights (solar-powered or with CFL bulbs) will do just fine.

4. In smaller complexes, consider oversized or quirky unit numbers.

Image from BHG.com


This tip is from an Apartments.com blog post–and we love it. If you’re still working to create an identity for your smaller building, unit numbers that are extra-big, placed directly on the unit door, or are slightly unique in some other way, can add just the right amount of quirk to an otherwise ordinary-looking building. Of course, even as you spice things up, remember to keep apartment numbers legible and easy to find–we don’t want new tenants and visitors wandering around in circles.

5. If you have a leasing office, make sure it’s clean, welcoming, and easy to find.

Leasing-Office-Welcome-Sign-K-4974_GrnRevSpeaking of getting lost, have you ever tried to find your way to a leasing office that was a little hard to find–perhaps it wasn’t so well-marked? It happens more often than you’d think–and if your complex has a leasing office, you mustn’t let it happen to you. Leasing offices should be well-marked by way of shiny, well-lit directional signs, painted paths, anything that leads prospective tenants directly to your door–and once they get there, the entrance to the office should be welcoming, with a clean entrance and a cheerful welcome mat. The little touches do matter–and if you do it right, tenants and prospects will feel good about the upkeep and competence of your office before they even walk through your door. 

Ten Days of Buzz: July 1-10, 2013

Ten Days of Buzz“You may see a slowdown in investment grade for a few weeks until both sellers and buyers accept the new world. I think they will come back together.”

Bill Hughes of Marcus and Millichap Capital. As Interest Rates Rise, Net Lease May Slow Down, National Real Estate Investor, 7/1/13.

“There are just so many new employees moving to the area, and condos and homes are being taken off the market for lease.”

Ashley Hayes of Seattle Rental Group. New apartments in Seattle area don’t halt rise in rents, Seattle Times, 7/1/13.

 “The national level annual effective rent growth slowed to 3.2% in the second quarter of 2013. For comparison, annual effective rent growth in the second quarter of 2012 measured 4.0%.”

Press release from MarketWired. National Rent Growth Slows for Eighth Consecutive Quarter, MarketWatch, 7/2/13.

“Given the low permitting levels in 2008 and 2009, the recent outsized increases in top markets put total permitting in the past five years in line with historical averages.”

From the Joint Center for Housing’s State of the Nation’s Housing 2013. Deep Strength for Apartment Fundamentals, National Real Estate Investor, 7/3/13.

“The recovery in the housing market is a threat, and it receives a lot of attention, but I’d place the top two threats as job growth and multifamily supply. Job growth and apartment rent growth have a very strong correlation over time.”

Dave Bragg of Green Street Advisors. Job Growth, Supply Top Concerns in Apartment Sector, Analyst Says, REIT.com, 7/5/13.

“The philosophy is to take the market information that a good operator would use twice a month to adjust rents and use it on a daily basis. The system is able to move rents quicker to where the market is progressing.”

James Flick of Camden Property Trust. Software plays growing role in calculating apartment rents, Tampa Bay Business Journal, 7/5/13.

“For every generation after World War II until now, population flowed from the city to the suburbs. Today, as the book, The End of the Suburbs: Where the American Dream is Moving demonstrates, the tide that long seemed inexorable has begun to reverse.”

Leigh Gallagher, of Fortune Magazine. The end of the suburbs, CNN Money, 7/8/13.

“My friends think I’m crazy. But if it’s something you’re going to live in for the next three years, you don’t mind spending the money. It’s worth it. It’s about lifestyle,” says Daniel de la Vega

Daniel de la Vega, renter. Investing in Expensive Renovations For Rental Apartments, the Wall Street Journal, 7/10/13.

“Showings on Demand solves a major problem in renting – the time it takes to see an apartment. This matters because …the best apartments rent within hours, and wasting time with the back-and-forth of scheduling a showing can make the difference in landing a can’t-miss apartment.”

Joe Charat, CEO of Naked Apartments. Renters Get Immediate Access to Available Apartment Listings, MarketWatch.com, 7/10/13.

Dupre + Scott Video Highlights: Micro-Housing & Washington Immigrants

Dupre + Scott Weekly Video Update from www.duprescott.comHave you been keeping up with Dupre + Scott’s weekly video updates? They’re a great way to quickly access the latest rental market data–and today, we’ve got the most recent two videos, along with a quick summary of their major points. Enjoy!

July 5th: For today’s apartment dwellers, less is more.

This past Monday’s video covered the trends that Dupre + Scott have been seeing in apartments lately. Among their findings:

  • After getting bigger and bigger throughout the 1970s, 80s, and 90s, apartments are shrinking again. Innovations from the small apartments of the 1950s, such as Pullman kitchens, are being revived and revamped to fit today’s urban lifestyle.
  • While the driving factor of the trend for smaller apartments is no doubt apartment cost and vacancy, the change is made possible in part by the digital revolution we’ve experienced in the past few years–most of us no longer need lots of space for our televisions, music collections, or libraries.
  • Finally, the addition of communal spaces interspersed with micro-apartments has created vibrant neighborhoods that cater to the needs of young renters, replacing the old standard of larger living spaces to recreate in.

June 28th: For Gen Y-ers, it’s Northwest or Bust!

Did you know that 15,000 people moved into Washington State last month alone? Dupre + Scott’s last video in June investigated migration into the Puget Sound region, to find out who’s moving to our lovely state–and where they come from.

  • First of all, migration to our state, which dropped during the 1990s, is now on an upward trend again. In fact, there has been a 20% increase in the number of people moving to the Puget Sound region since 1999.
  • While more people move to Washington from California than from any other place, the numbers of people coming from the state have dropped, by about 10,000 per year. But immigration from Oregon, Texas, Arizona, Florida, and Nevada have more than filled that gap.
  • So who’s coming to Puget Sound? Of the 15,000 people who moved into the state last month, 9,640 of them moved into King, Pierce, Snohomish, Kitsap, or Thurston counties. Those numbers are courtesy of state driver’s license data.


Happy Fourth of July from SeattleRentals.com!

Guess what? It’s July 3rd…and that means tomorrow’s going to be all about barbecues and fireworks. It’s supposed to be pretty gorgeous out, too–here’s hoping you have time to enjoy it! In the meantime, here’s a special vacation edition of The Buzz to keep you company. Happy Fourth!

The Buzz Independence DayThink your patio is nice? Check out these ten best outdoor dining rooms.

Oceanview Outdoor Dining at Casa velas hotel b...

Seattle is a great place to dine alfresco in the summer–the long days and (normally) moderate temperatures make it perfect for barbecues and outdoor dinner parties. Need inspiration for how to style your outdoor dining rooms? Check out this slideshow from the Huffington Post of ten amazing places to dine outdoors.

Fireworks are awesome. At least when they’re not scaring baby bald eagles.

Bald Eaglet first image 20120202

This news item made NPR’s Morning Edition. What do you get when you put together two strong symbols of our nation’s freedom–bald eaglets, and fireworks? Nothing good, according to the Audubon Society. The eaglets in question, who are between six and eight weeks old, are nesting in Kirkland’s Heritage park; after organizers were warned that fireworks could disrupt the birds, they decided to move the launch site 350 meters farther from the nest. All’s well that ends well–although I know my dog will still be fairly on edge tomorrow night. Read more.

As Seattle endures temps–gasp!–in the eighties, Death Valley attracts “heat tourists” with 129-degree weather


Far be it for us to call anyone crazy…but as the heat wave covers the western states, rumor has it that some people are actually traveling to Death Valley to pose with pictures of thermometers. Yes, the temps are record-breaking…but do you really have to see it to believe it? We’ll take Seattle’s moderate climate any day–and hopefully get out on Lake Union while the weather’s still warm!

Speaking of fireworks, Washington’s going to light up the night tomorrow…and the Seattle PI’s got a guide to all of the sites.

Fireworks #1

Whether you’re new to the area, or you’re just not sure what fireworks you should be watching tomorrow night, the Seattle PI’s got you covered with this comprehensive list of July 4th fireworks shows. They’s got Seattle, Tacoma, Everett, Kent, and just about every other city in Washington listed, along with start times and links to the event pages, so you can plan ahead–and have a very happy, pyrotechnic Fourth of July.

Did you hear the one about the man who painted his house like a flag?

This story started flying around the internet last year, and as more and more people picket it up, it acquired the trappings of an urban legend. Legend says, a homeowner was told by his HOA that he couldn’t fly his American Flag–so he painted his whole house like one. But according to Snopes, that story goes slightly differently in real life. What would we do without you, Snopes? Check the true story out here.

house painted like american flag

That’s all we’ve got for you today. We’ll see you again next week, when we get back to work with all the rental market news and stats you love. Have a safe and happy Fourth of July!