The technology boom is pushing its way north up the Pacific Coast, boosting real-estate prices, sparking neighborhood squabbles and creating new demand for luxury homes asking $1.5 million or more.
Real-estate agents say Seattle, the longtime home of software giant Microsoft and online-retailing behemoth Amazon, is attracting more technology firms because it offers a combination of local talent and lower housing prices than the tech centers of California. In the past year, Best Buy, Alibaba and HBO have announced or opened IT-related operations in the city, according to the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce. Amazon will add to its Seattle footprint with two new buildings, while Google, Facebook,Twitter and Hulu have all expanded their Seattle offices in the past few years.
Luxury homes close to downtown
While the overall market is steady, real-estate prices for luxury properties close to downtown are up. For homes priced above $1.5 million, the average price a square foot was $494 in May, up 10% from the previous May. In 2013, Seattle’s population swelled to 652,405, up from 608,662 in 2010, according to census data.
Seattle neighborhoods with an easy commute to downtown—like Queen Anne, Madison Park, Washington Park and Capitol Hill—are especially popular, say real-estate agents. As these central neighborhoods have lower-density zoning requirements, most luxury properties are single-family homes, restricting supply for top-tier buyers looking for a short commute