Richard Walker, Vice President of Investments with Marcus and Millichap gave a State of the Apartment Market Report to the Active Commercial Group of the Real Estate Association of Puget Sound on April 10,2013.
His personal focus is mostly on apartments for King and Snohomish counties. These areas have good growth. Boeing just opened a new delivery center; Google is expanding into Kirkland, and Seattle is ranked as the #1 livable city by Forbes magazine.
Marcus and Millichap also have commercial lenders offering 5yr, 7yr, and 10yr fixed rate commercial loans, amortized over 30 years at 3% currently.
Dupre and Scott say the Puget Sound apartment market is hot, hot, hot. Vacancy rates are below 4% for Puget Sound. Everything for Seattle seems to be going in the right direction for apartment investors. There are lots of tower cranes in Ballard and S Lake Union. There are very few houses to purchase in core Seattle. Permits in Snohomish for new construction are mostly for affordable housing. Thousand of apartment units will be coming on line in Seattle.
Net migration will fill new buildings coming onto the market. Vacancies and concessions are going down in Seattle and area.
Quarterly US GDP is up 3%. US retail sales have recovered. US employment gains have been broad. Seattle employment is higher percentage-wise than the rest of the US.
Higher end apartments are being built in Seattle for future condo conversion.
Annual population growth is higher in Seattle , with greater numbers of 20-34 year olds moving here than elsewhere.
The cap rate on Seattle apartments varied from 5.5% - 6.5% during the bubble and post-bubble economies.
Apartments recover the most quickly from economic challenges, because people have to have a place to live. Industrial, office, then retail fail during recessions...and in reverse order during recovery periods.
The majority of jobs in Tacoma are government-related, lots of vacancy downtown, so cap rates are higher as the Tacoma economy struggles.
For more information on market trends in the Seattle area, please contact Wendy Ceccherelli at HomeLandInvestment@gmail.com or call 425.270.7292.