In multi-family, the buzzword is “Affordable”. The problem is that this is often confused with homelessness, transitional housing and market rate housing when talking about Seattle commercial real estate. There is a big push to create taxes to contribute money towards affordable housing and major local employers like Microsoft and Amazon are stepping in with contributions, so let’s define these terms.

The statistics say that for the entire population of King County, thirty per cent of homeless people are homeless due to crime and drug related issues. Section 8 and other vouchers and charitable organizations can and do address part of the problem, but the gap is for those gainfully employed who can’t afford to live where they work. The median income in Seattle is now $110,000. The crisis is with those earning 60 per cent or less. The depth of the problem is illustrated in a new 110-unit project that had 300 applications for units in the first 10 minutes and a total of 1300 applications and that was weeks before scheduled completion. Another 74-unit project only drew 830 applications. In the alternative a penthouse is currently available for about $23,000 a month. A true bargain.

The solution is not simple when viewed in the context of job locations, downtown crime, rising tourism, and the costs, delays, and impounds associated with commercial real estate development in a burgeoning city. This is a pivotal point in Seattle commercial real estate and where there is a problem, there is opportunity. Seattle Commercial Real Estate professionals are looking for the “overlooked” opportunities, be they in industrial, retail, or office real estate in addition to the multi-family market.