The Condo Conundrum: 10 Reasons Why There's a 'For Sale' Shortage in Seattle

December 20, 2017
Dave Suggs - CDJ STAFF

Seattle Washington is experiencing a shortage of in-city condos. Of the 27,000 units of new housing being built in downtown Seattle, 94 percent will be rentals. As housing prices are rising in the US’s fastest-growing large city, the median home price is $660,000. Dean Jones of the Seattle Magazine reports on why consumers consider condos, but home developers don’t in his article “The Condo Conundrum: 10 Reasons Why There's a 'For Sale' Shortage in Seattle.”

Reason 1, condominiums don’t always offer high returns and can be riskier for the home developer. Reason 2, the Washington State Condo Act “overprotects” buyers of condos with over-the-top warranties that makes everyone in the industry afraid to work with condos. Reason 3, the cost of condo building is increased because of the risk of defect litigation. Reason 4, condo presale buyers are not required to deposit a percentage to invest in a new development and before closing could decide to walk away. Reason 5, there is a lot of interest in apartment buildings from investment groups.

Reason 6, investors whose goal is to own “trophy” assets in rising markets can’t wait the years it takes developers to plan and construct a new multistory community. Reason 7, since rent prices have risen 50 percent on average in the last 7 years, it’s profitable to be a landlord. Reason 8, the millennials who live and work in this tech oriented region prefer to rent because of living through the rise and fall of the housing market. Reason 9, the costs is rising each year to deliver new projects. Reason 10, high-rise zoning was adopted 2 years before the recession, so just as condo development was gearing up, apartment building took over.


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