Seattle perspective: How does Amazon change a city's real estate market?

Amazon Effect: Housing market concerns

If anyone knows what it's like to have Amazon open a headquarters in their city, it's the people of Seattle.

Amazon is the largest private employer in the city, according to its web site. It's home to 40,000 jobs right in its downtown.

"Amazon brings with it a lot of vibrancy, a lot of younger positions," said Jake Whittenberg, an anchor/reporter for our Seattle sister station, KING5. "The average salary is $100,000."

If Amazon's HQ2 came to Dallas/Fort Worth, as the Wall Street Journal predicts is possible, it would bring 50,000 jobs, according to the Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce. That's tens of thousands of people who would also need housing.

We called up Eric Shull, who is a long-time realtor in the Seattle area, and asked if he thinks there's an "Amazon effect" to a city's real estate market.    

"Without a doubt," Shull said. He told us how Amazon's HQ has impacted the Seattle housing market.

"It's definitely helped sales, that’s for sure," Shull said. "It's made things harder for other buyers in our market because of the supply and demand is so great."

It's not just that, but also supply is low, only a two-week inventory, Shull also said that it's expensive. Shull said homes are $400 per square foot, double the cost from 2010.

Whittenberg, who covers real estate for KING5, said the average home price in Seattle is $475,000.

"So real estate issues are truly a dominating headline and a dominating story in your community?" WFAA asked. 

"Most definitely," he said.

Whittenberg said it's not just Amazon. It's the tech companies that follow Amazon and set up shop, too.

"There’s a real lack of affordable housing in the community," Whittenberg said. "The mayor's race was just won on two issues—affordable housing and homelessness."

DFW-area realtors said they're not worried. "We are very excited," said Elizabeth McCoy, a realtor with Williams Trew in Fort Worth.

McCoy said DFW is not the same as Seattle. We have six weeks of inventory, lots of land and lower prices.

"I think we’re ready," McCoy said. "I think we’ve got enough areas. We have enough variety of inventory."

And in the end, everyone we spoke to said there are so many positives to an Amazon presence in a community.

"They should expect good things because they are great neighbors," Shull said of the community that lands HQ2.

They are neighbors that DFW leaders want to have.

© 2017 WFAA-TV


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