Nestled between the beautiful Puget Sound and the rugged Costal Mountain Range, Seattle is the largest city in Washington State in the US. It is often referred to as “The Emerald City” because of its green surroundings. Seattle became a very popular city with Chinese citizens because of its recent fame in Chinese theatres with the movie “Beijing Meets Seattle”(“北京遇上西雅图”). According to the New York Times, the Chinese have purchased a third of all properties worth more than $1 million USD in certain neighborhoods around Seattle. For those who are unfamiliar with “Beijing Meets Seattle”, the movie is about a love story involving a pregnant Chinese woman traveling to Seattle to find love and she ends up falling in love with a doctor.
With a population of 3.6 million, Seattle is the 15th most populous urban area in the US. It is famous for many attractions, such as the Space Needle and Pike Place Market, as well as its recent Super Bowl winning American Football team the Seattle Seahawks. Seattle is home to many famous universities, such as the University of Washington, Seattle Pacific University and Seattle University, as well as a number of art colleges, including Cornish College of Arts and the Art Institute of Seattle. Additionally, it is home to many successful international companies, which include Starbucks, Amazon, Boeing, Big Fish Games as well as Microsoft in nearby Redmond, WA.
Real estate prices peaked in late 2007, before they turned south due to the financial crisis. After a while, prices fell 33% by February of 2012. Since then, prices have stabilized and have experienced an increase of over 14% over the last 12 months. In most areas, prices still remain at approximately 11% below the peak. Meanwhile, the average rent has risen steadily to $1,214 per month. According to Realtytrac, the average rental yield in Seattle sits at 6% in 2014.
Many Chinese investors know about Seattle because of the popular neighbourhood with the name “Bellevue”, which is just across Lake Washington. Bellevue is an upscale neighborhood where most homes sell for at least $1 million USD. The median sale prices in this neighborhood have increased by almost 20% over the last 12 months.
With good potential for appreciation and a strong rental market, Seattle remains as an interesting location for investors. In a recent survey conducted by East-West Property Advisors, Seattle was one of the top cities of interest for Chinese looking to buy property in the US. With six direct flights from Asia to Seattle, its proximity makes it simple and convenient for Asian investors.