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Monday, November 14, 2005

Seattle "Under-Condo'ed" - Not For Long

Clearly if you are able to read a local paper, you are aware of Seattle's amazing immunity to real estate woes past, present, and future. Logically then, Seattle would be a great place to build more condos, which historically are the most in danger of losing value in a falling market. Lucky for us, more condos is exactly what's in store:

"Seattle is a somewhat under-condo'ed city, I think. As a growing city, I think it's an indicator of maturity in an urban city like Seattle that we're now capable of supporting a number of condominium developments. And I think when you compare us to a lot of the other major cities around the country, we have a lot of room to grow in this area," says David Thyer, president, R.C. Hedreen Co.

Take a look at a city like Vancouver, B.C.

It’s very similar to Seattle in many ways, except downtown domiciles.

About 22,000 people live in downtown Seattle. In Vancouver, it's about 73,000.
If you want to talk Vancouver, B.C. comparisons, I think it's only fair to consider the thoughts of someone actually from Vancouver:
Downtown Vancouver appears to prosper, but in the complex world of city building, appearances can be deceiving. I am not for a moment questioning the prospering part — the whole world is scrambling to live and play on our downtown peninsula, with its paradisiacal combination of mountain and ocean vistas, parks and urbanity.

[Vancouver director of central area planning Larry] Beasley and his senior staff recently confirmed to me that in the nearly five years of the new century, development applications have been made for only 700,000 square feet of new office towers in downtown Vancouver.

In this same period since Jan. 1, 2001, they have approved 7 million square feet of new condos. Many of us wonder if a 10-to-1 ratio in favor of condos is in our city's best long-term interest. While all three of our municipal political parties are maintained by donations from downtown condo developers, even our politicians are getting worried about this extreme skew.
The office-development market in downtown Vancouver — for all intents and purposes — is dead, even while it is reviving strongly in Toronto, Calgary, Ottawa and, yes, Seattle. Your city has hung on to a large number of its banks and corporate head offices, while Vancouver never had them in the first place, or they have headed to the suburbs and Alberta in the face of a severe and mounting anti-business ethos from our governing, extreme-left "Coalition of Progressive Electors" municipal party.

Downtown Vancouver faces the dismal prospect of fewer and fewer sites having the proper size and location for office towers. This will fix our destiny as a shortsighted residential resort, not the diverse and lively mixture of living and work that is a real downtown.
Let's hear it for condos!

(Tim Robinson, King 5, 11.14.2005)
(Trevor Boddy, Seattle Times, 10.23.2005)


Anonymous said...

I'd just like to say, "Finally! A Bubble Blog about Seattle".

Along with all of the younger workers relocating here to work in the tech industry is an unbelievable amount of naivite and denial. Of the 45 guys I work with at a local game company, 10 now own two homes in the Redmond area strictly as investment properties. All of them purchased these homes in the past 6 to 9 months. None of them are making as much as I am, and none of them could afford them without ARMs. Youth may bring opportunity but it also brings foolishness. This is going to be ugly

meshugy said...

It's bound to happen...when I first moved to Seattle I noticed that it had pretty low density for a major city. As the city grows that has to change, or everyone will be commuting from N.Bend!

Ballard is also getting tons of condos...three major developments under way...must be 500 or more units!

I'm glad I got a house....


Anonymous said...

10 now own two homes in the Redmond area strictly as investment properties

So...Seattle is just like everywhere else on the Pacific coast! For every home "investment", there's one less home for a family. But, nothing to bubble here!