Revving up for a Recovery: Seattle Market Review, October 2012

Seattle's economy is rife with starts and stops

There is a lot going on in and around the market that theoretically is positioning it to go full throttle once we get a go signal on the recovery. While we wait, the Seattle market continues to sputter along, looking one minute like the lead car and the next as running on fumes.
As noted in our September market review post, the vibrant tech sector continues to mask the high un- and under-employment in the market. While home prices rose in nearly all the rest of nation over the summer, Seattle was the only one among the top 20 markets tracked by the S&P/Case Shiller Home Price Index to dip. Yet, ever optimistic, home prices here are up 3.4% year-over-year! But then so are gas prices….

Media Roadblocks

There are many roadblocks to reaching the promised recovery

From a media perspective, the hot political season has been a boon to the market, but that is about to come to a screeching halt. Superstorm Sandy’s wide swath of destruction will be felt coast to coast, resulting in even more cautionary ad spending. As the political season winds down and the holiday season ramps up, a cascade of reports are expected to be released regarding the impending fiscal cliff that may cause advertisers to retrench further. Even without these major roadblocks, we’re two years into a “recovery” that keeps stalling and advertisers remain wary, at best.

A Respite from Seasonal Doom and Gloom

While there is much temptation (and material) to fuel the economic gloom and doom further on this Halloween night, I’m going to switch gears and focus on some of the bright spots noted in this month’s Seattle Market Review. My personal favorites are the rankings, such as:

#2 Best City – behind San Francisco

#1 Most “App Intense” State

#3 in the U.S. for Internet-supported jobs

In addition, there are lots of new restaurants popping up all over the market – Mosksha, The Wandering Goose, Marination Ma Kai – as well as four new ones announced by Tom Douglas, all residing in one downtown apartment complex. Amazon is leasing yet another building and offering to buy a streetcar and bicycling improvements to make it easier for employees to get to work. The arena is OK’d and investor Chris Hansen is adding to his real estate holdings in SoDo with an eye to making the area a sports and dining destination. Westlake Center is considering more remodeling and new tenants and it looks like a mega hotel may one day occupy the current Greyhound station on Stewart.

There’s lots more in this month’s Seattle Market Review that indicates the local economy may well be on the mend. If not that, the movers and shakers are putting a lot in place to jump-start the market when and if the recovery finally finds Seattle, and we all don’t fall off that looming fiscal cliff.

Get the latest Seattle market and local economic news in the October 2012 Seattle Market Review. Or better yet, sign up for a free subscription by emailing SMR’s master curator, Steve Fuller at

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