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February 27, 2021
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Seattle Industrial Inventory Increases, as Year-to-Date Gain Reaches 3 msf


This report provided by the West Region of real estate services firm Cushman & Wakefield


For the Seattle metropolitan statistical area, at the close of the third quarter of 2020, 165,200 jobs had been shed year-over-year (YOY), with the unemployment rate rising 530 basis points (bps) to 8.5%. That said, these metrics have been improving over the third quarter. Upon the arrival of COVID-19 in the U.S., the economy entered a recession in March 2020, recording the worst decline in post-war history in Q2 2020. Mounting evidence indicates that the recovery began in May or June with Q3 2020 data likely reflecting that. But, until there is a public health resolution to the pandemic, the recovery is likely to remain uncertain and gradual. Only then can households and businesses become more confident.


The Seattle industrial market had its inventory continue to increase in the third quarter of 2020, with over 965k sf added. 3PLs and e-commerce remain the main drivers, for the warehouse and distribution deliveries. The Seattle market has now had 3 msf of inventory delivered year-to-date (YTD). Of the 7.2 msf under construction, over 5.6 msf (78%) is in the South Sound market with the remaining 1.6 msf (22%) under construction in the Kent Valley. On top of these deliveries and construction projects, there is another 17.5 msf of proposed projects in the pipeline, 12.8 msf (73%) in the rapidly growing South Sound where land is cheaper for development and rental rates are lower than Seattle In-City and Kent Valley.

Overall absorption for the third quarter was reported at over 413k sf with the YTD figure at 1.1 msf. This absorption is a slight decrease from the 2 msf reported over the same period in 2019.

Industrial investment in the Seattle region has slowed considerably. Only $365 mil traded in the third quarter of 2020, less than half of the over $1 bil traded in the third quarter of 2019.

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