Seattle Rents Rise, But East Side Is Pricier

It’s not a news flash that the real estate scene in Seattle has exploded in recent years. The Emerald City has gone from a town most people outside the state only associated with coffee and flannel, to the tech capital of the US (save for our friends in Silicon Valley). As home to some of the biggest tech names in the world and a booming job market to match, it’s fair to say there’s might not be enough housing to meet demand. Or, at least to meet demand AND your budget.

High rises, apartment buildings and condos are going up all over the city, and soon, our beloved skyline will be dotted with more and more buildings and towers, making the Seattle of just 10 years-ago look almost unfamiliar.

Seattle has recently made headlines as one of the most expensive places to live, get this, in the world. That’s right, recent data has placed Seattle’s rent rates at 5th highest in the nation and, supposedly 9th highest in the world! However, San Francisco and New York still dwarf us, tying for number one most expensive, world-wide.

Those of us who are Seattle Natives know that the average rental rate in Seattle has increased fairly dramatically in the last few years, but it’s interesting to note that, while Seattle’s rents have been on the rise, they don’t quite top the list of highest rents in the state.

According to recent data from Apartment List, Seattle ranks at number 5 in the state for highest rents, with the average monthly rent for a one-bedroom apartment at about $1,650.

Surprisingly, Mercer Island tops the list of cities in Washington for highest rents. A one-bedroom on Mercer Island goes for an average of a whopping $1,890 per month. No one said Island living was cheap, I suppose.

Filling in the gaps between number 1 and number 5 on the list are Bellevue at number 2 with an average of $1,860 per month for a one-bedroom (not a whole lot lower than their neighboring Island), Redmond at number 3 with an average of about $1,690 monthly rent for a one bedroom and Kirkland at number 4 with an average monthly rent of $1,660 for a one-bedroom.

Seattle and the Eastside are not the only places in Washington with rising rent rates. Tacoma tops the list nation-wide for fastest growing rent with a year-over-year growth rate of 7.7 percent. Seattle comes close, but not close enough to that figure with year-over-year rental rate growth at 5.3 percent.

Staggering growth aside, Tacoma is still a bargain in the rental market compared to Seattle, with a one-bedroom in Tacoma going for an average of $1,000 per month. For those of you keeping score, that’s a savings of $650 compared to Seattle.

But, proving that some things really don’t change, the cheapest places to live in the Evergreen State are still East of the Cascade Mountains. You can get a one-bedroom for only $600 per month in Walla Walla and it’s not much pricier in the State’s second largest city, Spokane, at around $630 per month.

What a difference a mountain range makes…

Bellevue To Get First Condo Project In Nearly A Decade

Over the last decade or so, Bellevue has really been coming up in the world. What was once known primarily as Seattle’s sister city on the East Side is rapidly becoming a full-fledged metropolis in its own right, and the skyline is expanding daily.
While apartments, office buildings and town-homes have been popping up all over the East Side for the last several years, there (surprisingly) has not been a condominium development in Bellevue in almost a decade.
With condo sales reaching new highs in the greater Seattle area of late, it’s surprising that Bellevue hasn’t seen any new condo complexes dotting its skyline, that is until plans for One88 were recently announced.

Bosa Development, the Vancouver B.C. based company and the folks behind Seattle’s already successful Insignia condo towers, has set their sights on Bellevue to build a 21-story condo development, dubbed One88.

One88 is slated to open in 2019 and will feature 143 condominiums. Units will range from 1-bedroom to penthouse units. The luxury condo project will break ground next year at Bellevue Way Northeast and Northeast Second Street, putting it in a prime location near Bellevue Square and Downtown Park.

The announcement of the One88 project is a big deal for Bellevue, as there has not been a new condo development in the city since 2008. After the housing market crashed, condo sales were severely down. So much so in fact that many condo developments were turned into apartments with developers finding renters easier to acquire than buyers.

But, times have changed. Condominiums sales have been on the rise in recent years all over the greater Seattle area. Home-buyers are turning their heads in this direction more and more as single family home prices continue to soar throughout the city, and nationwide as well. And while condos may prove to be a more affordable option there are not enough available to keep up with demand. You may remember the group of people camped out over night to buy condo units in a building that has yet to break ground. If that’s any indication, condo sales are poised to explode even further in the coming years.

One88 is touted as a luxury development which suggests that the units will be on the pricey side, and, as it is a Bosa Development project, is sure to have a host of outstanding amenities and a stylized aesthetic to boot.

Information about the project is limited at the moment, but more will become available as the project progresses. If you’re looking for your piece of the Bellevue skyline, stay tuned.

Amazon (Possibly) Journeys Eastward

Bellevue Skyline and Lake Washington

Bellevue Skyline and Lake Washington

 

By now, everyone in Downtown Seattle has seen the construction of Amazons’ new headquarters in the South Lake Union neighborhood. With 11 buildings and interesting architecture to boot, it would be hard to miss. But the local tech powerhouse is thinking bigger and it seems, they’re thinking Bellevue may be in their future.

Rumor has it that Amazon has recently finalized negotiations and leased a whopping 354,000 square feet in the heart of Downtown Bellevue at the brand-spanking-new 425 Centre.

 

Amazon's new SLU HQ

Amazon’s new SLU HQ

Set at the corner of NE 4th St and 106th Ave NE, the 425 Centre makes a great location for a tech company that has broken from tech tradition by settling in heavily urban areas before. It seems Amazonia, as it is fondly referred to, and its inhabitants prefer being in the midst of the city’s hustle and bustle than the more remote areas other tech giants tend to call home.

 

While Amazon has not officially announced anything regarding the potential journey Eastward, this is not the first bout of rumors surrounding Bellevue and tech giants. Just a few months ago there was much talk of Apple possibly moving into (would you believe it) the 425 Centre.

 

425 Centre

425 Centre

Projects like the 425 Centre have been great for boosting Bellevue and its reputation. While often viewed as a (albeit, very large) suburb of Seattle, over the course of the last several years, it has grown considerably and undergone a rather impressive face-lift. Additions like renovations to Bellevue Square, Lincoln Square and The Bravern have added considerable appeal to the city. Appeal which has not gone unnoticed by businesses and residents alike.  Much like it’s sister city across the lake, Bellevue has become home to a laundry list of high end retailers, restaurants and even cooperate mammoths such as T-Mobile (HQ), Expedia (HQ) and Microsoft, giving her a run for her money.

All in all, Amazon would (and likely will) make a fabulous addition to the Eastside. Bringing with it the fun, friendly and environmentally conscious attitude that Amazon prides itself on, as well as plenty of opportunity, both for jobs and for the city to receive a wealth of vibrant new residents.

Not to mention, Bellevue was Amazons’ very first home, when it was merely the brain child of it’s founder, Jeff Bezos. So, perhaps this would be more homecoming than journey.