Storage Lockers into Hotel Rooms

“In downtown Seattle, they’re turning storage lockers into hotel rooms”
Feb 4, 2016, 6:48am PST

Marc Stiles
Staff Writer
Puget Sound Business Journal

“Downtown Seattle’s hotel development boom isn’t over yet, with the next project coming to an unexpected location.
Ariel Development is teaming up with the owners of Urban Self Storage in Belltown into a mixed-use project with a hotel and apartments. The project entails adding eight floors to the narrow six-story building that opened in 1928 as a garage with car elevators. The art-deco building’s facade will be retained. A photo of the building today is in the view photos section of this post. Continue reading

Economic News Release



All employees

Real average hourly earnings for all employees increased 0.4 percent from December to January, seasonally adjusted, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. This result stems from a 0.5-percent increase in average hourly earnings combined with no change in the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U).

Real average weekly earnings increased 0.7 percent over the month due to the increase in real average hourly earnings combined with a 0.3-percent increase in the average workweek.
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Financial Problems in China Lead to Strong Real Estate Activity in the States

There’s trouble brewing in China.

The nation’s stock market is floundering and the currency has been devalued, bringing about halts in trading and concerns among investors regarding the effect that this major world economy will have on the global economy.

However, amid this bad news, there is a silver lining for the domestic real estate world. Wealthy Chinese investors have viewed American real estate as a safe investment for a long time, and even more Chinese money is flooding into the States in the form of home and commercial real estate purchases. The National Association of Realtors tells us that, for the first time, buyers from China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan are representing the largest group of foreign purchasers of homes in the United States.

This activity has been particularly strong in the Seattle area. For the year that ended in March of 2015, fully eight percent of residences purchased by Chinese buyers were in Washington State, making the area second only to California, which made up thirty-five percent. Further, Chinese investors played a key role in about $2 billion in commercial projects throughout the Puget Sound area.

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Mortgage Rates Defy Strong Jobs Data

The December jobs report is in, and the outlook is good. Unseasonably warm weather apparently boosted hiring last month, sending nonfarm payrolls up by 292,000. Unemployment has maintained steady at an over seven-year low of five percent. Meanwhile, the job count has been revised for the past two months, showing an even stronger job count than was previously thought. In total, it is clear at this point that 2015 has been the strongest year for job growth since 1999. This is showing healthy confidence in the job market, and serving to allay concerns about the economy.

Generally, such news is bad for the real estate market. A jobs report this robust has historically sent mortgage rates skyrocketing. However, immediately following the release of the report, rates were actually easing downward. For the second month in a row, rates have defied expectations in light of a positive jobs report. Much of this could be attributed to economic concerns abroad, as well as a lack of growth in wages. Investors are still inclined to move away from risky stocks and into bonds, keeping rates at current lows.