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April 28, 2017

Pictured: Underside of Aurora Bridge, Seattle, WA

The development train is full steam ahead in Seattle-Bellevue – quite literally. When King County announced the light rail and train lines would get a $54 billion, seven-station addition, multifamily investors saw a huge opportunity to take advantage of the metro’s need for new units

“The lines are going to be expanded over the next quarter century, but developments funded by institutions are already starting to deliver,” said David Young, JLL Managing Director in Seattle. “Seattle is in a challenging geographic situation where it cannot necessarily expand highways, so the expansion of light rail is a tremendous opportunity to open up investment into new submarkets.”

That geographic constraint has put Seattle on the map as having some of the worst traffic in the U.S., driven largely by a population increase over the last decade directly linked to the city’s tech employment boom.

Younger Gen X’ers and older Millennials who are making larger life decisions (starting a family, buying or renting, etc.) and are looking to avoid the aggressive rent growth in the Central Business District have moved further out to areas like the Spring District, explains Young.

“With all of this expansion, people will need a more convenient way to get to work,” he says. “Following the train lines will show you where development is and will be happening.”

So can this demand continue?

“We see no end in sight for this trend as tech companies continue to covet Seattle,” says Young. “With a very competitive housing market, it still makes sense for people to rent in many cases, even as new supply delivers.”

Take a look at the interactive map below to see which areas are benefiting from light rail, and which areas are poised to do so. View the larger map to explore features like population and future Sounder stations.

David Young
Managing Director, JLL Capital Markets

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