The rents in multi-family housing in the Seattle and Bellevue commercial real estate markets have enjoyed a steady and spectacular climb. The cry for “affordable housing” reached its peak with the now departed Head Tax proposed by the Seattle City Council which was, fortunately, passed and then repealed. The issue of a housing shortage still is in search of a solution. One of the clear options has always been the construction of condominiums. The issue has to this point been a solution seeking a market. Now the market in Bellevue and Seattle has arrived. Bellevue’s downtown population has jumped 73% to 18,000, just behind Seattle’s South Lake Union market.
Seattle’s over all growth rate since 2010 has been 19% which ranks Number One for all US markets. Redmond’s core has grown by 50%. The wave of growth has crossed the Sound to Kitsap County and Pierce and Snohomish counties, all of which are growing rapidly. The only issue now is price and that does not go to “affordable.” Is there ever a solution? Commercial Real Estate will find a solution, but it will never be enough or timely enough to satisfy the need. Putting more land into the equation under the growth management will help, but even that will not be the answer.