Been thinking about how much the construction cranes tell us about housing inventory in Seattle. The red and white cranes to the right are building Insignia; the only significant condo project coming out of the ground. The rest of the cranes represent new jobs (commercial office) and non-owner occupied housing units (apartment buildings) in South Lake Union. Through this lens, the strong seller's market makes more sense.
Interesting article from GeekWire regarding residential rents in Seattle (my nowtown) as compared to SF (my hometown). It makes me wonder: Without SF-like rent control laws, do Seattle renters actually have more to fear than SF renters over the long term? Is the incentive to buy more significant here than there? If it is, at least the purchase prices are lower. And the competition, while fierce, may not be as ruthless as it is on that peninsula.
Interesting chatter about the proposed zoning changes in South Lake Union. While some will argue this point, I'll say that the Seattle area is _relatively_ rich in open space. The human population is growing and many of them are moving to Seattle to enjoy this amazing natural setting, a healthy culture, business opportunities, etc. While I don't love it when my view is blocked (it has been and will be again soon) I think it is important that we consider that we can't have both an unchanging skyline and urban growth rules that limit sprawl into the mountains. The people need to go somewhere. This plan has developers trading development rights in outlying areas for in-city rights. Here's something to consider from Mayor McGinn's press release: "This proposal will help that growth continue in ways that bring significant public benefits. Along with new jobs and new homes, we can build a mixed use community that leverages growth to create affordable housing and finance the improvements needed to streets and public spaces." http://seattle.gov/mayor/press/newsdetail.asp?ID=12881
There are many opinions bantered about on the impact of Amazon in Seattle. It often comes up in the context of the developer community justifying the price of new construction condos, or the thousands of close-in new apartment units under construction. Residential neighborhoods, from Queen Anne to Cap Hill to Ballard, are also abuzz with the subject of rising prices/values due to the Amazon effect. This doesn’t deal as much with the value equation as I’d like, but is a good article: http://www.xconomy.com/seattle/2012/05/09/amazon-takes-over-seattle/. What do you think?
Some renderings of Amazon’s office plans: http://www.bizjournals.com/seattle/blog/2012/05/new-renderings-showcase-amazon-campus.html?s=image_gallery