For those looking to purchase or lease commercial real estate in in Washington and the Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue metropolitan area, there is much to be had, but at a premium. Half of the state's population is located in this corridor, and many large businesses make their home here. The area has an established business sector with major Fortune 500 companies such as Amazon and Starbucks choosing Seattle as their headquarters. One of the draws for major companies to make Washington their home is the tax policies that are favorable to business. Washington levies no personal income tax on its residents. It also charges no corporate income tax, making it very profitable for big business to settle there.


The economy in this area is booming, with both employment and wages increasing in this already wealthy, low-unemployment area. The escalating wages and home prices are expected to combine to stimulate demand for apartment and condo units in Seattle. The already low vacancy rates are expected to drop even further, pushing up already high rents. Developers are jumping in the market with new construction apartments, but the new vacancies are not expected to dampen rents.

The robust economic growth is also driving up retail markets in Seattle, and the city has been listed as the top location for retail investment and growth. As big box retailers move into the metro areas, new development is expected to increase, and much of it will pre-leased. Additionally, there is little fear of overbuilding in the retail sector as the cost of land in the area is prohibitively high. Even so, developers are expected to add over 1.2 million square feet of retail space, a 900,000 square foot increase of the past year. The redevelopment market is hot too, particularly for underused properties in the heart of Seattle.

The office space market was at a standstill through 2004 and parts of 2005, but it started making a recovery in 2006 and is expected to be strong throughout 2007 and 2008. Here the market is driven not so much by occupants - indeed occupancy rates are slightly high - but instead by institutional investors who are betting that Seattle's long-term economic forecast will carry them through times of low-occupancy. At this time, given that market is driven by investors not demand, not much new office space is coming online.

Industries that do well throughout the state are electronics, biotechnology, aluminum production, mining, tourism, and computer software. Microsoft makes it home in Washington and has brought millions of dollars of revenue into the state.