The high life

The Pacific Northwest magazine had a length article about downtown living this Sunday, Uptown Downtown: Close to everything and luxe, too, it’s the new condo life. Interestingly they take a look at who these urbanites are:

Of those purchasing high-rise condos for more than $500,000, half list themselves as professionals, while nearly 60 percent earn incomes of $250,000 or more, according to Williams Marketing, which markets and sells many of the high-profile downtown projects on behalf of developers.

The biggest number — 38 percent — moved from another downtown location, while 18 percent moved here from another state.

Surprisingly, baby boomers make up just a third of the downtown market, while the rest is everyone from 20-something tech workers to single, married and divorced professionals. Buyers include TV producers, Microsofties, doctors, dentists, attorneys, restaurateurs, CPAs, brokers and Starbucks executives.

Another new niche: Younger buyers who get help from their parents, whether it’s through a down payment or an outright buy, says president Leslie Williams of Williams Marketing.

With 6,700 units scheduled to be built before 2010 just how many people in Seattle are making the $250,000+ a year in order to be able to afford all these $750,000+ condos?

There’s another interesting quote in the article about the rising cost of construction:

THE QUESTION today is how many more people can afford to live in this increasingly exclusive backyard?

Builders say prices have risen because of strong demand for steel from China and drywall from the areas affected by Hurricane Katrina. Rising oil prices have shoved up the costs to transport materials and power construction equipment.

At Fifteen Twenty-One Second Avenue, project costs have risen roughly 40 percent since April 2005, says William Justen, who manages the Samis real-estate portfolio, which includes the historical Washington Shoe and Collins Buildings in Pioneer Square. “When construction costs go up, you test what the market will bear,” he says. “Fortunately, the market has been good. The selling prices have protected us from escalating construction costs.”

The second much shorter article looks at the downsizing trend and one couple who moved into Harvard and Highland, Room For What Matters: In a Capitol Hill condo, downsizing offers freedom to play:

WHERE DO THEY come from — all the people moving to new condominiums and the many refurbished older apartment buildings where rentals have morphed into owner-purchased units? The sale of single-family residences all over town offers a clue. And Ken and Alberta Weinberg are one couple whose experience “downsizing” from 3,000 to 1,600 square feet reflects the trend.

Trust the Seattle Times to be bullish on real estate :).

About Matt

Matt , Urbnlivn's publisher, has a love for lofts with industrial features and new construction condos that is only eclipsed by his passion for outdoor sports and urban living. Phrases such as “polished concrete” and “exposed brick” are music to his ears. You can also find Matt on Twitter or skiing.

  • jo

    My favorite quote:

    To be sure, that still averages out to $500 per square foot. (They could have picked up a new townhome near Green Lake for half that.)

    Where can I buy a 1000 sq ft townhouse near Green Lake for 250k?

  • jo

    My favorite quote:

    To be sure, that still averages out to $500 per square foot. (They could have picked up a new townhome near Green Lake for half that.)

    Where can I buy a 1000 sq ft townhouse near Green Lake for 250k?

  • Ben

    Don’t forget, real estate terminology is very generous. It could be a mile away and it’ll still be marketed as Green Lake.

  • Ben

    Don’t forget, real estate terminology is very generous. It could be a mile away and it’ll still be marketed as Green Lake.

  • Pingback: Seattle Condos And Lofts » Blog Archive » The downtown high life

  • Roger

    I’ve been house hunting in downtown for the last few months and everything I’ve seen is still in the 375K+ for a decent sized 1-bedroom large enough to fit a couple. I have no idea where these 250K+/year tech people are coming from because I’m a 20-something mid-level ad agency person and I make FAR less than that. If anyone knows a 250K job for a 20-something year old, let me know.

  • Roger

    I’ve been house hunting in downtown for the last few months and everything I’ve seen is still in the 375K+ for a decent sized 1-bedroom large enough to fit a couple. I have no idea where these 250K+/year tech people are coming from because I’m a 20-something mid-level ad agency person and I make FAR less than that. If anyone knows a 250K job for a 20-something year old, let me know.

  • Dan

    Roger, a lot of SAP/CRM/BI developers & architects have long term contracts/consulting gigs @ >$90/hour. A good amount of these guys are in their late 20s-mid 30s.

  • Dan

    Roger, a lot of SAP/CRM/BI developers & architects have long term contracts/consulting gigs @ >$90/hour. A good amount of these guys are in their late 20s-mid 30s.