Buoyed by its technology sector and the metro’s appeal as a live-work-play environment, Seattle’s economy and multifamily market continue to break new ground. Job growth and demand for housing are among the highest in the nation, leading to a surge in rents that is not expected to abate anytime soon.
Despite Seattle’s reputation as a tech hub, job gains have been broad-based, led by professional business services and trade, transportation and utilities. Infrastructure projects are also supporting new development. This spring will mark the opening of the $1.9 billion University Link light-rail extension, while the city’s first streetcar line opened to the public this January.
Technology research is another flourishing sector. The University of Washington joined forces with Tsinghua University to create a Global Innovation Exchange (GIX), an initiative that is supported by companies such as Microsoft Corp., which donated $40 million toward the project.
As more and more professionals and companies flock to the metro, developers are struggling to keep up with the rising demand for housing. In an eort to relieve the pressure, some 65,000 units are in various stages of development. The surge in demand helped push rents up nearly 10 percent in 2015. We expect Seattle to remain hot in 2016, but rent growth should moderate slightly this year, to 7.2 percent.