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A Wave of Condos is Coming to Seattle and Bellevue.

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After a half-decade of building rental apartments, developers are switching gears to construct for-sale condo projects

Seattle’s housing builders are starting to party like it’s 2005: That’s right, condos are back.

Developers who spent the past several years building just about everything except condos are pivoting back to them for the first time since the housing bust last decade.

The result could be a flood of new homeownership options for buyers in coming years, which would be particularly welcome news for young adults and other first-time buyers who can’t afford a single-family house, as well as empty-nesters who want to downsize.

But the new condos still aren’t cheap – usually exceeding a half-million dollars for a small one-bedroom. And they can invite more investors who not only drive up prices for regular buyers but also at times park their money in condos while keeping them empty.

In Seattle and Bellevue, only about 2,000 condos have opened so far this decade. But about 6,000 are in the pipeline for completion in the next few years, according to Polaris Pacific, a marketing and sales firm that tracks condos in the region.

More than two-dozen projects totaling 5,000 units are in the works in Seattle alone, many announced just in the past few months.

In some cases, the condo projects are brand new proposals; in other cases, builders have switched plans to turn what they thought would be apartments into condos (the difference being that you rent apartments, and own condos).

Not since the condo boom in the middle of last decade, which preceded the housing bust, has the Seattle area had a case of condo fever like this

There’s even talk now of some existing, opened apartment buildings that might convert their units to condos, a reversal from the post-bust days, when condos that couldn’t sell were switched to apartments.

Read more at The Seattle Times

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