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Why Seattle Multifamily Keeps on Giving

Seattle Multifamily

Three quarters down, one to go, says Colliers International research whiz Dylan Simon. Today we look at some of the ways the Seattle apartment market continues to amaze, as a young, mobile workforce pours into the city (and sales of tight jeans continue to skyrocket), and the trend to build Downtown and in urban neighborhoods keeps picking up steam.


King County is on track to absorb more than 7,500 apartment units in 2014, with more than 33,000 planned from 2015-2017, Dylan notes. Snohomish County has less than 3,000 units planned for this entire time period. (Dylan's snapped with local sports broadcaster—and his cousin—Aaron Levine.) San Francisco may have just outpaced New York City as the most expensive rental market in the nation, but Seattle isn’t far behind. In urban markets, rents rose 10.8% since this time last year—and a one bedroom will set you back an average of $1,514 (a two bedroom a whopping $2,455). If you’re looking for rent growth outside of Seattle, go north. Snohomish County rents have increased 8.1% over the last year, yet vacancy has ticked up to 4.5%.


On the market trends side, pets continue to reign supreme, Dylan tells us. Several projects have ‘pet occupancy’ nearing that of renters, and new pet amenities include sprinklered pee patches, doggie washing and drying stations, and valet pet-walking services. In the urban Seattle market, vacancy is still a ridiculously low 3%, but if you add buildings in lease up, vacancy more than doubles to 6.6%. So far this year, we have seen high-watermark pricing for apartments, with some sales over $700/SF and $500k/unit. As of the end of Q3, we are on track for about the same volume as 2013, but far off of the 2005 and 2012 peaks in sales volume.