Ballard apartment boom could hold risks down the road

The apartment construction boom in Ballard could hold some risks for the neighborhood, according to a business report from our news partners, The Seattle Times. Our neighborhood is seeing a historic rise in apartment construction, which should bring thousands of new renters to Ballard by the end of 2014. “They’re doubling the inventory in that market,” researcher Tom Cain of Apartment Insights Washington told the Times. “That’s just unbelievable.”

Three large developments along NW Market St. are set to be renting/selling by the end of next year: the former Sunset Bowl development is nearing completion, and the apartments springing up at the old Denny’s location are growing taller by the minute. Another large apartment complex is being slowly built near the corner of 24th Ave NW on NW Market St.

What will likely be a boon for renters could be devastating for landlords, as vacancies are expected to rise while rents stabilize or drop, say industry analysts from Cain and Dupre + Scott, according to the Times. They forecast that the construction will “tip the balance between demand and supply,” meaning landlords could end up offering tenants concessions like free rent.

The business report touches on the fact that other neighborhoods closer to downtown, such as Belltown and South Lake Union, are also seeing booming apartment construction. But the difference is in that Ballard doesn’t have many employment opportunities, which could mean difficulties in renting out the Ballard apartments. But Matt Griffin, a developer with Pine Street Group (completing a large high-rise in the Denny Triangle), told the Times that while Ballard could get overbuilt in the next few years, demand will catch up, saying the walkability and transit options for Ballard could be its saving grace.

To read the Times’ business report in full, click here.

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