How do 60,000 new employees affect Seattle?

On February 14th, at Downtown Seattle Association’s (DSA) State of Downtown event, several note-worthy stats were brought to light to paint a picture of Downtown Seattle’s story, since 2010. The driving factor behind the city’s transformation is the demand for more employees; it’s clear that housing is the “traffic jam.”

Reported statistics for Downtown Seattle

2010 – present:

  • 60,000 new jobs were added
  • Population has grown 22%
  • Taxable brick-and-mortar retail sales have increased 34%

2016

  • Downtown businesses contributed $3.2 Billion in local, state, and federal taxes

2017

  • From construction, 3.6 million square feet of space was added above street level
  • 5,725 residential units and 637 hotel rooms were added

Present – 2020

  • 3 million square feet of space will be completed
  • More than 8,700 residential units and 2,400 hotel rooms will be developed
  • Public projects, budgeted around $330 Million are planned or underway

The short version

The takeaway is more people are moving to Downtown Seattle than there are places for them to live. For the majority of Downtown Seattle, the only way to accommodate these new residents is to build upward. Two major concerns that the DSA discussed were homelessness and affordable housing, and traffic. They have not developed a solution, however, there is a 20-year plan called One Center City to develop a solution.

The event discussion was focused on Downtown Seattle (Downtown Seattle area defined by the DSA), but the findings reflect the story of all of Metro Seattle. Without an adequate supply of housing for the thousands of new employees hired per month, it’s not difficult to see how problems can arise. Downtown Seattle has its issues of traffic and congestion that other neighborhoods may not have, but the bottleneck in the story is the amount of available housing. Below is a snapshot of statistics for all of Metro Seattle, telling a similar story. The snapshot is taken from our 2017 Annual + Quarterly (Q4) Report.

What do you think?

Click to view the Puget Sound Business Journal article.

Posted on February 16, 2018 at 17:03
Brandon Sturgis | Category: 2017, Annual Report, OWN, Quarterly Report, Report | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

What's in Store for the Seattle Real Estate Market in 2017?

2016 was another stellar year for the Seattle housing market, in which a surplus of buyers and a deficit of sellers drove home prices higher across the board. So, can we expect to see more of the same in 2017? Here are some of my thoughts on the Seattle/King County housing market for the coming year:

1.       Our market has benefited greatly from very healthy job growth, driven in no small part by our thriving technology companies. Economic vitality is the backbone of housing demand, so we should continue to see healthy employment growth in 2017; however, not quite as robust as 2016. Migration to Seattle from other states will also continue in the coming year, putting further pressure on our housing market.

2.       Are we building too many apartments?  The answer to this question is “maybe”. I believe we are fast approaching oversupply of apartments; however, this glut will only be seen in select sub-markets, such as South Lake Union and Capitol Hill. Developers have been adding apartments downtown at frantic rates with many projects garnering very impressive rents. In the coming year, look for rental rate growth to slow and for concessions to come back into play as we add several thousand more apartments to downtown Seattle.

3.       The Millennials are here! And they are ready to buy. 2016 saw a significant increase in the number of Millennial buyers in Seattle, and I expect to see even more in 2017. The only problem will be whether Millennials will be able to find – or afford – anything to buy.

4.       Home prices will continue to rise. But price growth will taper somewhat. The market has been on a tear since bottoming out in 2012, with median home prices up by a remarkable 79% from the 2012 low, and 14% above the pre-recession peak seen in 2007. Given the fact that interest rates are now likely to rise at a faster rate than previously forecasted, I believe price appreciation will slow somewhat, but values will still increase at rates that are well above the national average. Look for home prices to increase by an average of 7.5 – 8.5% in 2017.

5.       More homes for sale? I am optimistic that inventory levels around Seattle will increase, but it still won’t be enough to meet continued high demand.

6.       This is my biggest concern for the Seattle housing market. Home prices – specifically in areas with ready access to our job centers – are pulling way ahead of incomes, placing them out of reach for much of our population. This forces many buyers to move farther away from our job centers, putting additional stress on our limited infrastructure. We need to have an open discussion regarding zoning, as well as whether our state’s Growth Management Act is helping or hindering matters.

7.       New Home Starts/Sales. As much as I would love to say that we can expect a substantial increase in new homes in 2017, I am afraid this is not the case. Historically high land prices, combined with ever increasing construction and labor costs, slow housing development, as the price of the end product is increasingly expensive. This applies to single family development as well as condominiums. We should see a couple of towers break ground in 2017, but that’s about all. Vertical construction is still prohibitively expensive and developers are concerned that there will not be sufficient demand for such an expensive end product.

8.       Are we setting ourselves up for another housing crash? The simple answer to this question is no. While home price appreciation remains above the long-term average, and will continue to be so in 2017, credit requirements, down payments, and a growing economy will all act as protectors from a housing crash in Seattle.

Windermere Blog | 2017
Matthew Gardner, Windermere Chief Economist

Posted on January 5, 2017 at 13:25
Brandon Sturgis | Category: OWN | Tagged , , ,

Think All Millennials Live in Their Parent's Basement? Think Again!

According to the Census Bureau, millennials have overtaken baby boomers as the largest generation in U.S. History. Millennials, or America’s youth born between 1982-2000, now represent more than one quarter of the nation’s population, totaling 83.1 million.

There has been a lot of talk about how, as a generation, millennials have ‘failed to launch’ into adulthood and have delayed moving out of their family’s home. Some experts have even questioned whether or not millennials want to move out.

The great news is that not only do millennials want to move out… they are moving out! The National Association of Realtors (NAR) recently released their 2016 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers in which they revealed that 61% of all first-time homebuyers were millennials in 2015!

The median age of all first-time buyers in 2015 was 31 years old.

Here is chart showing the breakdown by age:

percent-first-time-home-buyers

Many social factors have contributed to millennials waiting to buy their first home. The latest Census results show that the median age of Americans at the time of their first marriage has increased significantly over the last 60 years, from 23 for men & 20 for women in 1955, to 29 & 27, respectively, in 2015.

Those who went to college and took out student loans are finally paying them off, as the terms on traditional student loans are 10 years. This means that a large portion of the generation is making its last loan payments and is working toward saving for a first home.

As a whole, the first-time homebuyer share increased to 35% of all buyers, up from 32% in 2014. Not all millennials are first-time buyers, they also made up 12% of all repeat buyers!

Bottom Line

Millennials will continue to drive the housing market next year, as well as in the years to come. As more and more realize that owning a home is within their grasp, they will flock to own their piece of the American Dream. Are you ready to buy your first or even second home?

Source: KeepingCurrentMatters.com

Posted on November 4, 2016 at 17:09
Brandon Sturgis | Category: OWN | Tagged , , ,

First-Time Millennial Buyers Poised to Revolutionize the Real Estate Market in 2017

You want a real estate revolution? We’ve got you covered: Next year, more than half of all homes will be bought by first-time home buyers, according to an exclusive survey of buyers by realtor.com®. It’s a seismic shift from 2016. And here’s the kicker: Most of those newbies will be millennials.

Get ready for a new-look housing market.

Each year, realtor.com® does an annual survey of home shoppers to get to the heart of home-buying trends. And what we found this year is a true sea change in the buying population that will affect which homes and neighborhoods are the most desirable in 2017.

In sharp contrast with 2016, when only 33% of people planning to buy a home were first-time buyers, 52% of buyers with their eye on a home purchase next year will be first-timers. And 61% of those are under age 35.

“This represents an ‘Oh, shift’ moment in housing,” says Jonathan Smoke, chief economist for realtor.com®. Smoke’s team analyzed responses from active shoppers on our site who plan to buy a home in the spring or summer of 2017. “With so many first-time buyers in the market, competition will be even fiercer next year for affordable starter homes in the suburbs. Those looking to buy may want to consider a winter home purchase in order to avoid bidding wars and higher prices spurred by a potential increase in millennial buyers.”

home-buyers-of-2017

What motivates—and scares—millennial buyers

Although a shortage of homes for sale will continue to dog the market, first-time buyers are more worried about financial issues, according to the survey. Topping the list: coming up with a down payment (37%) and finding a home within their budget (30%). With all the emphasis on financial issues, millennial buyers want to make sure that their money is well spent: Making a sound financial investment is a top goal.

This new generation of first-time home buyers is focused on safety, privacy, and more space, indoors and out. That’s because millennials’ top reasons for buying a home are that they’re getting married or moving in with a partner, growing tired of their current living space, or planning a lil’ addition to the family. Or perhaps all three!

So it’s no wonder that millennial buyers prefer single-family homes (39%) or townhomes (34%). Just 15% are interested in multifamily homes, and 10% in condos.

homes-that-will-be-in-demand

Suburbs appeal to millennials and boomers alike

So, let’s see, where can you buy a big house with a yard in a safe neighborhood? You probably guessed it: the suburbs! First-time home buyers identify the suburbs as their No. 1 preferred location (43%). In fact, so do 50% of all respondents.

“The majority of home-owning Americans live in the suburbs, so the popularity of the suburbs isn’t a new phenomenon,” comments Smoke. “But the increasing preference by millennials represents a shift from the more urban locations where many of them have been renting.”

But that doesn’t mean our cities are going to empty out: Those urban areas are the second most popular option among millennials.

Meanwhile, baby boomers are also keen on the suburbs—either because they already live there and want to remain close to friends and family, or because they’re moving to another suburb where their adult children (and probably grandchildren) live.

where-buyers-want-to-live

Source: Realtor.com – Cicely Wedgeworth

Posted on November 4, 2016 at 17:02
Brandon Sturgis | Category: OWN | Tagged , , ,