Event Recap: Market Fundamentals & New Development Summit

Last month, a collective of brokers came together at the Realogics Sotheby’s International Realty Kirkland office for the Market Fundaments & New Development Summit, which covered the latest market and new development trends in Seattle and the greater Puget Sound region.

Things began with a presentation by Brian O’Connor, of O’Connor Consulting Group, who analyzed the current housing cycle and discussed homeownership and rental demand. According to O’Connor, apartment demand plummeted 50 percent last year with most renters choosing Seattle (60 percent of renters chose the Emerald City.”

He also proclaimed that “Bellevue is open for business,” outlining two Bellevue sites that Vulcan recently purchased, and are rumored to be future Amazon office buildings.

On a national level, O’Connor says single-family home construction is flatlining as consumers prefer urban settings near job centers, retail and entertainment. The Seattle Pivot was a large topic of conversation for all panelists, as they discussed rising demand for condominiums and their potential to yield roughly double that of an apartment building.

Next, William Hillis, Research Editor & Publisher at RSIR, outlined home price trends, discussing the June S&P Case-Shiller Home Price Index. He said that while some have expressed concern over Seattle taking the second spot on the list, there is no cause for worry given that year-over-year growth is still above 12 percent and the same dynamics are in place:

  1. Home prices are rising at high rates

  2. Market times are still historically low

  3. Inventory is growing

Finally, Dean Jones, Owner & CEO of RSIR came to the stage to discuss the range of new condominium projects that are coming onto the market, which may be found at UrbanCondominiums.com.

Jones says he’s excited by recently market activity but added that more inventory is needed because “if just five or six percent of the people that have chosen to rent since 2010 decided to buy, we would be effectively sold out on a unit basis through 2023.”

The above graph illustrates the stark difference between 2011 and 2016, in which there was a dearth of new condominium delivers, and the current “condo comeback” cycle.

The above graph illustrates the stark difference between 2011 and 2016, in which there was a dearth of new condominium delivers, and the current “condo comeback” cycle.

So, what’s on the horizon? According to Jones, multi-family housing will still remain concentrated to urban areas in Seattle and the Eastside, with wood frame condominium buildings making a strong comeback and perhaps even a few more of those pivots, as well.