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Trip to Seattle for Zags Basketball & to Study Local Real Estate Market

Blog by Stu Bell | December 30th, 2010

Trip to Seattle for Zags Basketball & to Study Local Real Estate Market

This past weekend I drove down to Seattle, Washington to watch my Cinderella Zags Basketabll team take on the fighting Illini. I spent the first 2 years of my University life in Spokane, playing golf for the Zags. Gonzaga is a Jesuit University with just 5000 students, an excellent academic and sports tradition, and a sister school located in Bologne, Italy. My love for Vancouver and desire to work in Real Estate brought me back to UBC to graduate from the Urban Land Economics program under Tsur Sommerville and the Commerce department. I feel blessed to have experienced 2 totally different and prestigious Universities.

Seattle is an interesting city as it is very similar to Vancouver with major ports and a very livable city center with state-of-the-art sports facilities and architectural pleasing high rises mixed with charming historical districts. I wanted to see how prices compare to Vancouver, especially after going to Arizona and Nevada where there are thousands of foreclosures and prices have plummeted.

In the attached high end, a 6000 sq ft Penthouse at the new TEN12First hotel in downtown Seattle is asking $15,600,000. In Vancouver the 41st floor of the Shaw Tower is for sale for $12,880,000. Not bad for 7500 sq ft of single level living with 8 parking stalls and jaw-dropping panoramic views!

On the attached low end, a 3 bedroom, 2 bath town-home with private garage, 1200 sq ft short sale (foreclosure) is asking $94,000. Comparatively, a 3 bed 2 bath town-home of the same age in Vancouver would go for $550,000.

For $28,800,000 you can own 14000 sq ft of Mercer Island Waterfront on a 70,000 sq ft property. In West Vancouver a 7000 sq ft Waterfront Home on a 30,000 sq ft Lot if asking $19,800,000.

Needless to say the US recession and housing crisis has affected Seattle, but not to the extremes of Arizona or Nevada. I feel there are great investment opportunities in Seattle, but would probably look to invest in California first, where comparable prices get you sea side homes in desirable communities such as San Diego.

I stayed with my good friend BJ who recently purchase a 5 bedroom, 3 bathroom home in Seattle for $550,000. It is a heritage home that was completely renovated and he picked it up as a foreclosure. He now lives with 4 friends, all GU allumni, and his mortgage is comfortably covered by the house mates. This is very smart money management for a young adult, and the same opportunity exists in Vancouver because our rents are so much higher. If you are in your 20's and have the money for a down-payment, consider this option over a condo or apartment. With the income from housemates, you can afford a house with a yard, a mailbox, a garage, and probably a much better capital gain as the appreciation will be more substantial and you will be paying your principle down faster. A comparable house to BJ's in North Vancouver would be about $700-$800,000.

If you have any questions about Vancouver Real Estate or US Real Estate Investment please feel free to contact me by phone at 604.562.0532 or by email at stu@stubell.com.