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A Bulletin from Bellevue: The Bravern’s North Tower Goes Rental

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It’s been one of the hottest rumors around and now sources have confirmed that developer Schnitzer West is converting The Bravern’s second tower in downtown Bellevue from condominiums to luxury apartments. Its North Tower is 33 stories high and will have 211 apartments available. Units range from 600 to over 2,000 square feet, and rents will start at $1,550.

Schnitzer acknowledged that while the North Tower received conditional mortgage financing approval through Fannie Mae and FHA, sales demand simply wasn’t there. All purchase agreements have been terminated, and earnest money deposits are being returned. The Bravern’s first residential complex, its South Tower, also started out as luxury condominium building. Lack of demand caused Schnitzer to convert it to apartments in April 2010. Also 33 stories high, 65 percent of its 236 apartments are currently leased.

The Bravern isn’t the only complex experiencing slow sales. Units in two other downtown Bellevue high-rise condo projects aren’t doing big business either. However, the Bellevue apartment scene is a different picture. Demand for in-town living is increasing across the Seattle area, causing rents to rise and vacancies to shrink. In addition to The Bravern, Schnitzer converted its 204-unit Equinox condo complex in Seattle’s Eastlake neighborhood to apartments in 2009. At least four recently built Seattle projects have converted from condominiums to apartments.

Why is this a silver lining for the Bellevue condo community?  Conversions to apartments means more inventory is off the table, further solidifying its condo market. And, Schnitzer sees its actions as a temporary situation. Its press release states that “…a structural shift has occurred in residential demand from owned to rental housing. Over time, we expect the pendulum to shift back to more normalized market conditions and The Bravern Residences will be positioned to capture ownership demand when market conditions warrant.”  

We can’t emphasize enough how good a time it is to buy. With apartments approaching historical highs, plus home pricing and interest rates at historical lows, maybe it’s time to take a second look at sticking your rent money into an investment, and a place, to call your own. Contact us at this link and let’s get you started!