Why Aren’t They Building Condos in Seattle?


Kyoko Matsumoto Wright is a real estate agent who dreams of being able to buy a new condo in Mountlake Terrace. She fears she’ll be waiting a long time. In downtown Seattle there are new condos for sale, but there aren’t many and soon there could be none. “We think it is a real possibility,” real estate broker Jeff Reynolds of Windermere wrote in a recent blog post.

There are various reasons for the lack of new condos. The 2008 implosion of the condo market left both builders and lenders leery of a repeat. Building anything is now more expensive due to the crush of new apartment and office buildings.

Then there’s the Washington Condominium Act, which has “remarkably onerous construction defect laws,” said Windermere Real Estate Chief Economist Matthew Gardner. It allows homeowners’ associations to sue over construction problems. This is causing many developers to not build condos.

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Authored By Marc Stiles
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