It only takes one word to summarize the luxury condo market in Downtown Seattle – STRONG.
There have been 87 condo sales over a $1M year to date. In 2015 there were 115 which was up from 63 sales over a $1M in 2014. Given the current rate of sales, we should easily exceed last years sale count. What’s driving the uptick in luxury condo sales?
We see a number of factors contributing to the demand for the luxury space:
Seattle continues to grow. Some estimates suggest that we added as much as 70,000 new residents since 2010. According to Geekwire, Seattle is now the 18th most populated city in the US. The US Census estimates a Seattle population of 684,451 in 2015.
Many consider the life experience of selling a larger home and moving to a more reasonable space “downsizing”. We like to refer to process as right-sizing. Regardless of the terminology, in time, a house becomes too much to manage. Many of the new buyers in Downtown Seattle were once empty nesters. Moms and Dads (often Baby Boomers) sell their family homes (sometimes after multiple decades of ownship) in order to join the thousands of others living in a highly walkable and accessible urban environment. This isn’t just a common occurance in Seattle or Bellevue. We are seeing buyers come from just about everywhere. Both in-state, out of state buyers and international buyers as well.
One factor contributing to Seattle’s luxury condo sales is speculation and international buying. The recent news out of Vancouver is a 15% luxury transfer tax that is levied on Interantional buyers purchasing in the popular Canadian city. This should influence even more buyers to travel just 2.5 hours south to the Emerald City.
Wages and Job Growth
One of the biggest contributors to a strong housing market is always job growth and wage exansion. Seattle has 10 or more Fortune 500 companies including, Boeing, Nordstrom, Microsoft, Amazon, Starbucks and others. In addition to that Facebook, Google and other tech giants continue to look at Seattle as an opportunity for growth. Seattle has one of the best and brightest employee pools in the world. This fact contributes to expansion and major advances in technology as local employers fight over the same prospective workforce. Seattle wages continue to grow – as they continue, expect more and more affluent employees to put their money to work in this dynamic economy.
Expect another update towards the end of the year.