With iconic imagery all around, and the best that modern cuisine and culture have to offer, downtown Seattle real estate has exploded in desirability in recent years. This is due to its incredible summers, walkable size, strong tech presence and quickly appreciating property values. It’s also an iconic musical and arts city — its history heavily intertwined with seminal music trends, such as jazz between 1920 and 1950 and the grunge movement of the nineties — and is the birthplace of Jimi Hendrix, Brandi Carlile, Macklemore and the Foo Fighters, to name a few.
As the largest city in the Pacific Northwest, Seattle is home to almost four million people, but only a select few live in the center of it all. While outlying suburbs allow for large homes on acreage for the most part, downtown Seattle lofts, if you manage to find one for sale, are unique and inspiring. In addition, the market is starting to open up a bit after years of low inventory. Prices are also moving, so it’s a good time to get into the market. The Emerald is the first high-rise to jump into this growing market full-force, as we have move-ins starting in July of 2020. But if you’re not yet convinced, here’s why downtown Seattle is where you should be looking to make your next big luxury loft purchase.
Home to the iconic Space Needle, Pike Place Market and, more recently, the Seattle Great Wheel, which opened in 2012, Seattle has countless attractions to entice, inspire and titillate, complete with a breathtaking skyline that is always flanked by Mount Rainier, Elliott Bay and the Port of Seattle on Puget Sound. Lesser known Seattle staples such as the Seattle Center Monorail, Olympic Sculpture Park and the Central Public Library by architect Rem Koolhaas are all worthy destinations in their own right, and there’s always the Seattle Aquarium and the Washington State Ferries for when the water calls. The development along the waterfront is also coming along, and this is going to bring the Bay back to the people, so to speak. A new Seattle Aquarium is being built as part of this massive project, and there will be green space for families to enjoy. That’s quite a step up from what used to be an area solely for vehicles.
We’re all familiar with the idea that it rains a lot in Seattle, but we’re not talking about something out of the ordinary. In fact, Seattle gets about 38 inches of rain per year, which is equal to the U.S. average, and less than New York City or Chicago. Furthermore, Seattle gets about 150 days of sun a year, so it’s not as if every day is a gloomy experience. Also, because the cool Pacific keeps the Emerald City temperate, a July high around 76 degrees Fahrenheit and a January low around 37 means you’ll spend most of the year in comfortable, cool weather, not burning up or freezing like you would in countless other major cities across the U.S. Seattle summers – for those who have the pleasure of experiencing them – are considered the best in the country; sun, cool air, no humidity – all framed by endless water (the Sound, Lake Union and Lake Washington) and epic mountain ranges (Rainier to the south, Cascades to the east, Olympics to the west). There’s really nothing like day after day of warm sun, when it’s not too hot and the views are truly spectacular as far as the eye can see. Seattle residents and visitors make the most of this time of year because it’s a glorious time to be outside.
Seattle is also a huge sports town, home to the championship Seattle Seahawks NFL team, where (super)fans are routinely called the 12th man — a reference to the NFL rule that allows only 11 members of each team on the field at any time. The Seattle Mariners, who play at T-Mobile Park, also call this city home. Even ice hockey is coming to Seattle for the 2021-22 NHL season. If that weren’t enough, there’s also the Seattle Sounders FC (MLS), Seattle Dragons (XFL), Seattle Storm (WNBA), Seattle Reign FC (NWSL) and the Seattle Seawolves (MLR) — enough to keep any sports fan engaged all year round. You don’t even have to be a fan to know that a game is happening on a particular day. You’ll see Sounders fans marching to the pitch, Seahawks fans reveling near the stadium in their jerseys and an entire community coming together to root for their team. It’s as if the entire town becomes a giant tailgate party.
Industry and Big Tech
In 2010, Seattle’s gross metropolitan product was over $230 billion, making it the 11th largest metro economy in the U.S. Before moving their operations to Chicago, Boeing was, for many years, the largest company headquartered in Seattle. Today, behemoths such as Amazon, Starbucks and Nordstrom are run from Seattle. Other companies such as Costco, REI, Microsoft, Nintendo of America, T-Mobile US and Expedia are headquartered in nearby areas. Google and Facebook are also putting roots down here, and several other companies including Expedia are either already or soon to call the area home. This has led to a constant pull of highly educated workers from elsewhere in the U.S. and internationally to become Seattleites, further bolstering the local economy and driving Seattle’s real estate.
Walkability / Connectivity
Unlike many sprawling metropolises that struggle to efficiently transport their populations on aging or expensive public transport systems, straining resources with an overreliance on cars and other inefficient forms of transportation, Seattle’s a big city that you can actually get around by walking. Indeed, most of Seattle’s streets are laid out in optimized grids that primarily run in cardinal directions, meaning that you’re never more than a few blocks from essential amenities, no matter where you are in the city proper. And because of the efficient road system, Seattle’s buses are actually effective, and the Link light rail system picks up the rest of the slack, improving traffic congestion and commute times for all. The rail system investment was approved by voters in 2016, and it’s coming along nicely. See here for updates, but it’s going to help with some of those walks downtown that can be hilly for some. For others, electric assist bicycles are nearly ubiquitous and a less challenging form of transportation than walking up inclines.
Seattle’s long-standing cultural traditions are evident across the city and include the Seattle Symphony Orchestra, the Seattle Opera and Pacific Northwest Ballet, and various chamber music festivals. There’s also the 5th Avenue Theater, the Paramount Theatre and the Romanesque Revival Town Hall, which hold numerous performances and cultural events. Furthermore, there’s the musical history of Jackson Street, which was home to dozens of jazz clubs that helped nurture the early careers of luminaries such as Ray Charles and Quincy Jones. And who can forget the whirlwind of grunge in the nineties that saw the ascendance of Nirvana, Soundgarden and Pearl Jam, among others, who would go on to export the “Seattle sound” worldwide.
Since 2015, Seattle-area property values, which usually peak in the summer, have outpaced the national average. By about mid-2018, prices were 50 percent higher than June 2014, and today they sit somewhere between 40 and 50 percent. And while it’s true that Seattle home prices have fallen in 2019 compared to 2018, the same is true for San Francisco, San Diego and other desirable West Coast cities that have experienced large booms over the last decade. But most experts agree that recent growth was unsustainable, and the slight pullback this year is more of a market correction than an indictment of Seattle real estate. That said, this temporary depression in prices means it’s a great time to buy, especially on the higher end of the market.
While most downtown Seattle lofts for sale are few and far between, every once in a blue moon an opportunity to snatch up prime real estate in Seattle’s urban center presents itself. With The Emerald, that time is now. Boasting 40 stories of luxury condos and 262 signature residences on the coveted corner of Second and Stewart, The Emerald is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to own a piece of the iconic Seattle skyline. Complete with views of the Olympic Mountains, the iconic Space Needle and the famous Pike Place Market, these modern high-rise condos are sure to go quick. Call or click to schedule a tour of what many are calling the most desirable building in Seattle.