seattle foreign investment

Photo: Mobilus in Mobili/Flickr

International business is booming in Seattle. Recent statistics from the Economic Development Council of Seattle & King County show that foreign investors have spent over $4 billion on King County commercial real estate since 2015, more than triple the amount spent earlier this decade.

What’s driving foreign investment in the region? According to The Seattle Times, usually foreign investors interested in real estate are laser-focused on housing. But big Seattle companies like Amazon, Microsoft, Boeing and Starbucks have drawn attention to commercial real estate in the area.

Prices in the region are also attractive to international developers, brokers and commercial real estate buyers. Overall, commercial real estate in the Seattle area is much cheaper than it is in places like New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Vancouver, BC, which have traditionally been more popular with foreign companies.

The largest recent commercial real estate purchase in Seattle was made last year, when Hong Kong-based Gow Capital Partners bought Columbia Center, the city’s tallest building, for $711 million. Smaller recent sales include Mirae Asset Global Investment’s $247-million purchase of an Amazon office building in Seattle’s South Lake Union neighborhood, as well as the sale of Safeco Plaza in downtown Seattle. It was picked up for $387 million by a partnership between Germany’s GLL Real Estate and South Korea’s Vestas Investment Management.

There’s been some speculation about how Donald Trump’s presidency could alter the real or perceived value of US real estate for foreign investors, but local experts consulted by The Seattle Times say it’s too soon to know what will happen. 

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