Rental Market May Finally Be Cooling Down in Greater Seattle. Still Hot in Tacoma.

With new units on the market and occupancy down, rents are growing more slowly.
 
 
Rent growth is accelerating in Tacoma while slowing in Seattle

In a sign of what could be the beginning of the end for the hot rental market, average rents are no longer growing at a torrid pace. While average monthly rents increased by 5.6 percent to $1,777 in the Seattle/Bellevue/Everett area in September from the year before, average rents actually declined slightly from the previous month.

“Seattle is still among the top-performing metros in the nation, but deliveries of new units accelerated in the third quarter and the pace is expected to quicken through the second quarter of 2017,” says Jay Denton, senior vice president of analytics for Axiometrics, a market research firm. Denton says the new supply is weakening the ability of landlords to boost rents as much as they have in the past. That's good news for tenants, but landlords may not be as excited.

By contrast, rents in Tacoma continue to soar. Check out the story we published on Tacoma's hot market earlier this year. The average rate of growth for rent in the Tacoma metropolitanTacoma increased for the 11th straight month in September, climbing to $1,266, up 9.6 percent from the year before and far outpacing Seattle. Occupancy is also higher in Tacoma — at 96.7 percent in September compared to 95.4 percent in the Seattle area. 

Rents in both Seattle and Tacoma increased faster than the nation, where they grew by just 2.6 percent to $1,290 in September from the year before.

 

Seattle-Bellevue-Everett                                     Sept 2016                  Aug 2016                  Sept 2015

Average Rent

$1,777

$1,799

$1,683

Annual Effective Rent Growth

5.6%

6.6%

8.0%

Occupancy

95.4%

95.5%

95.3%

Tacoma-Lakewood

Average Rent

$1,266

$1,256

$1,155

Annual Effective Rent Growth

9.6%

9.3%

8.5%

Occupancy

96.7%

96.4%

96.0%

National

Average Rent

$1,290

$1,293

$1,258

Annual Effective Rent Growth

2.6%

2.9%

5.2%

Occupancy

95.1%

95.2%

95.3%

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Seattle-Bellevue office space market remains red hot

Seattle-Bellevue office space market remains red hot

Despite 17-year high in new space coming on the market, more than half has already been leased.
 
 

You’d have to go all the way back to the heady days of the dot-com boom in 2000 to match the amount of new office space coming on to the Seattle-Bellevue market this year. 

It’s been 17 years since this much office space – 4.6 million square feet total –has been set to be delivered, according to a Q4 2016 report from the Chicago-based real estate services firm Jones Lang LaSalle. Just over half of that space, 51.2 percent, has been preleased.

Last year marked the fourth consecutive year that the Seattle-Bellevue office market was able to absorb more than 2 million square feet of additional space. Much of the current leasing activity comes from companies growing rather than relocating their offices, according to JLL research manager Alex Muir. That will soften the impact on vacancy rates. “You could see some second generation space struggle but the bulk of the major deals is expansion,” says Muir.

 Much of the demand for space is coming from tech companies, which accounted for roughly 60 percent of the leasing activity for 2016. The strong demand for office space, said Muir, “is coming from local companies growing and increasingly from Bay Area companies migrating to the region.”

The attraction: The Seattle area offers outsiders a robust cadre of tech workers and rents that are substantially cheaper than office rents in California. New office space in appealing downtown neighborhoods has proven itself a valuable recruiting tool for tech firms such as Amazon, Google and Facebook, which are going toe to toe for local tech workers. (Tech Firms Continue to Establish and Expand Engineering Centers.)

At the end of 2016, total office vacancies stood at 9.2 percent, with average asking rents up 2.7 percent year over year to $34.90 per square foot fully serviced. The downtown Seattle and Bellevue office markets are roughly midway through a peaking real estate market cycle, according to the JLL report.  JLJ senior vice president Daniel Seger describes the market as “still incredibly strong” and anticipates continued rent growth this year.

The continued demand for space is helping transform downtown Seattle and Bellevue. In Seattle, it’s helping revitalize the area around City Hall where two new office developments -- The Mark, a $400 million, 528,000–square-foot office project by Seattle’s Daniels Real Estate and Madison Centre, a $157 million mixed use project with 746,000 square feet of office space and 8,000 square feet of retail space by Bellevue’s Schnitzer West LLC -- will be completed this year.

Meanwhile, recent leasing activity has made Bellevue a more balanced market says JLL managing director Chris Hughes. “Moving forward Bellevue will be a little more broad a marketplace with a better balance of tenants than in the last cycle,” Hughes said. “That will be a benefit moving forward.”