Permanently inhabited for over 4,000 years now, Seattle is home to an eclectic variety of residents, a charmingly unique kind of local history & culture, and a wealth of thriving local brands and businesses. From the stalls of historic Pike Place market to the halls of the century old Seattle Symphony Orchestra, the local culture is as proud and rich as you’ll find anywhere else—come rain or shine.
But the city is also a busy Urban Center.
From its historic association with Boeing and the aircraft industry to more modern businesses like Microsoft and Amazon, Seattle has always had a knack for breeding successful and innovative new businesses. And the same goes for the local culture; with famous musicians from Jimi Hendrix all the way up to Soundgarden & Nirvana all hailing from Seattle.
Through ups and downs, booms and bust, Seattle’s residents have repeatedly proven their will to succeed and have a great time doing so … to excel and be one’s own person. It’s something that just comes naturally to area residents …
A History of Self-Reliance
Named for a benevolent Chief of the local tribe, Seattle was originally incorporated as a city in the 1860’s—shortly before playing a major role in the Klondike Gold Rush; which saw tens of thousands of prospectors using the city as a jumping-off point on the long road to Alaska.
Where prospectors trudged through wilderness and awful weather in hopes of fortune, Seattle’s residents pinned their hopes on something much more consistent—their thriving lumber industry. With the American West outgrowing its bounds everywhere, Seattle’s conveniently-located lumber mills helped to feed expansion for decades. By 1910, Seattle had become one of the 25 largest cities in the world.
But the Great Depression dealt a crushing blow to the city’s economy—one that would set the city back for the better part of a century, until the tech revolution of the 80’s and 90’s brought material prosperity back to the shores of Puget Sound.
It’s important to remember, though, that Seattle didn’t just stagnate there year after year, waiting for its fortune to return. Instead, the city’s local culture took over, with a thriving jazz music scene that helped to develop the early careers of people like Ray Charles and Quincy Jones.
And the city’s rich musical history is just the beginning—
A Cornucopia of Culture on Puget Sound
It’s the birthplace of Grunge Music … the birthplace of Jimi Hendrix and even some of the coolest Jazz music you’ve ever heard—but Seattle’s also home to some more conventional but equally stunning local culture and entertainment.
Take the 5th Avenue Theater; built back in 1926, where acts both local and international take to the stage. All told, the city has an immense number of theaters—some 100 altogether—making it second only to New York as one of the country’s liveliest theater communities.
Or what about the iconic Pike Place market, where vendors and producers are encouraged to meet face-to-face with their consumers … a practice that paved the way for modern farmer’s markets seen in every major American city.
The city draws a wealth of tourism for major events like the Seattle International Film Festival, the Penny Arcade Expo, and much more. Countless more film & entertainment festivals choose Seattle’s friendly urban center as the perfect place to for their events; meaning there’s rarely any shortage of exciting activities.
Seattle’s also home to a professional team in four of the big five sports—from the Seahawks in Football and the Mariners in Baseball to the Seattle Sounders in Major League Soccer. And from hosting the first American team to win the Stanley Cup to the Seahawks’ recent Super Bowl win, Seattle’s teams are no strangers to excellence.
You can check out the live sports action at the impressive SafeCo Field or CenturyLink Field … or if that’s not your cup of tea, don’t forget about the Henry Art Gallery, or The Seattle Art Museum. Rest assured; there’s always a little bit of something for everyone in downtown Seattle …
A Patchwork of Downtown Success
Over the long years of success and consolidation, Seattle’s downtown sector has become a patchwork of companies old and new … the kind of place where a century-old logging or logistics company might have its headquarters across the street from a five-year old tech startup that’s worth a billion dollars.
In total, 4 major Fortune 500 companies call Seattle their home; from the obvious Starbucks and Amazon to the slightly more surprising Costco and Nordstrom, and several more are located just outside the city. These companies contribute a large share of the area’s $231 Billion annual GDP—a rate that made Seattle the country’s 11th most-successful metro area as of 2010.
Home to the revolutionary new $15 minimum wage, Seattle’s local government has always applied creative new plans to help the city’s local businesses succeed and flourish—as evidenced by the city’s winning the accolade of “America’s #1 Smarter City” in a recent study.
A Condo Market with Overwhelming Demand
With all the city’s proud culture and heritage … with the thriving local economy and uniquely friendly downtown area, it’s easy to see why people would want to live in downtown Seattle. But lately—as the economy has grown post-recession—the city has been overrun by eager new condo buyers.
With month after month of double-digit growth in price averages, Seattle’s condo sale prices are just shy of their all-time peak back in 2009.
But unfortunately, despite all this demand, the city just doesn’t have enough new condos to keep up. There aren’t enough new projects developing, and the few that are in the works are also booked solid … so estimates are saying that the market has a rolling inventory of just 45 days left—meaning that the slightest hiccup in production could put the market on tilt.
As a potential condo buyer in Seattle, it’s important to be patient since you might have to wait for what you want … but also being ready to pay (and sometimes pay a premium) when you do strike it rich …