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Runstad students invited to tour the Cedar River watershed

Northwest Natural Resource Group is hosting a tour of the City of Seattle’s Cedar River watershed for a group of architects, developers, and builders on 11th of September. The purpose is to showcase Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified forestry in action and then engage participants in a discussion about improving the flow of FSC wood into local building projects and integrating the story of local wood and forests into each project.

Runstad Center students, alumni and friends are invited to participate.  More information about the tour is available at the event page: or in the attached flyer.

Husky Stadium Is As Green As It Is Purple and Gold


UW Athletics reported good news today:  newly renovated Husky Stadium is expected to be recognized with a LEED medal from the United States Green Building council.  Developers Wright Runstad & Co., along with general contractor Turner Construction, were able to meet the needs of the university and achieve the desired space and functionality within constraints that were quite complex with regards to budget, timeframe, and location.  (Sound Transit is in the midst of underground light rail station construction on the adjacent site, with service expected to begin in 2016.)   Adding national recognition in sustainability to this list is quite an impressive achievement.  The new stadium will be officially opened and dedicated when Washington Husky Football returns to its real home and hosts Boise State on August 31, 2013.

Jon Runstad and Greg Johnson of Wright Runstad & Co. and Tom Gerlach of Turner Construction are active members of the Runstad Center Advisory Board.  We wish to congratulate them on the completion of this signature project, not only for this campus but for Husky fans everywhere!   As part of our new student orientation in September 2013, incoming MSRE students will have an opportunity to visit the finished project and hear stories about its development and construction.  We look forward to the tour!

WCRER releases Q2 2013 Housing Market snapshot

The Washington Center for Real Estate Research, housed at the Runstad Center, has just released the snapshot of the Washington State Housing Market report for 2nd quarter 2013: WSHM Snapshot, Q2 2013.

Washington state’s housing market continued to advance in the April-June quarter, with four consecutive monthly improvements in home sales activity. Median home prices rose statewide, while home affordability dipped a bit.  The report has garnered considerable media attention, with recent mentions in Business Week, the DJC, the Seattle P-I, the San Luis Obisbo Tribune, Yahoo News, and UW Today, among others.

The full report is expected to be released to subscribers in the next couple of weeks.  If you’d like to subscribe, please contact the WCRER at, or visit the website:

Glenn Crellin talks to KUOW about rising rents in Seattle

Glenn Crellin, the Runstad Center’s Associate Director for Research, talked with KUOW last week about rising rents in Seattle and what they say about the economic health of our city.  Seattle has added nearly 2,000 apartments this year, but rents have gone up. The average renter in King and Snohomish counties now pays $1,190 dollars a month, a 5.8 percent increase over the past year. So what’s driving the skyrocketing rent prices? Click here to listen to Glenn’s conversation with KUOW’s Marcie Sillman:

Chris Bitter awarded 2013 Lionel H. Pries Teaching Award

The Runstad Center for Real Estate Studies is pleased to announce that Prof. Chris Bitter was named as the 2013 recipient of the Lionel H. Pries Teaching Award, selected by the students of the College of Built Environments.

Prof. Bitter’s background combines academic training in urban and economic geography with ten years of applied real estate research experience.   Prior to joining the University of Washington, he was a faculty member in the Department of Geography at the University of Arizona.  His research focuses on market dynamics, urban economics, and sustainable development.  At the Runstad Center, he teaches three core courses in Real Estate Appraisal, Market Analysis, and Urban Land Economics.

“Chris Bitter always shows up prepared to deliver an effective lesson plan. Through his consistent teaching methodology Chris clearly articulates the essential real estate fundamentals that influence all aspects of the built environment.  For his dedication to providing students with a solid foundation in real estate economics, market analysis and valuation, Chris was selected as the 2013 recipient of the Lionel Pries award,” says Dave Knight, MSRE class of 2013 and former president of the MSRE Student Council.

“I’m deeply honored to be recognized by the students of the College of Built Environments as the top teacher in 2013,” says Prof. Bitter.  “This award attests not only to my dedication to teaching, but also to the quality of my students and their devotion to learning.  Thank you all for your support!”

Lionel H. (“Spike”) Pries (June 1, 1897 – April 7, 1968), was a leading architect, artist, and educator in the Pacific Northwest.  In the mid 1980s, students in the College of Architecture and Urban Planning (now CBE) established this student-selected award in his name to honor excellence in teaching.

MSRE student launches new venture


Students at the Runstad Center are typically very busy with jobs and internships over the summer.  This month, MSRE 2014 candidate Nowelle Knutson launched her own company, Seven Rue, a new residential listing service that aims to help sellers save thousands of dollars on the sale of their home.  The service helps sellers act as their own agent, giving them access to the MLS, photography services, high end signage, and a referral to an attorney to help finalize purchase and sale agreements.   The Runstad Center community wishes Nowelle the best of luck with this new venture!

Congratulations Class of 2013!

On a sunny afternoon in June, sixteen students celebrated MSREGRAD2013months and years of hard work and dedication to making their dreams of becoming qualified and employable real estate industry professionals a reality.

The theme of the day was transformations and transitions. Not only were the students doing a lot of both but it was also recognized that Runstad’s programs are following that trend as well. Only 3 years young officially, the program, thanks to the feedback and collaboration from its students, is transitioning and transforming into something very special, a highly sought-after and critical real estate education.

Runstad benefactors, Jon and Judy Runstad, brought this to light in their speech to graduates. They recognized the power of a high quality education in today’s complex industry and just how valuable each student is to the future of the profession. Their words also included references to Runstad’s incredible Advisory Board, who, they promised, will remain a trusted resource as graduates move forward into their careers.

Steve O’Connor, Runstad’s Director, echoed Jon and Judy’s sentiments, telling students that his job is to ensure the value of their degrees, and that part of that dedication includes creating connections to the professionals in the community like the Board.

goldenhammerThe Class of 2013, in turn, gave Steve a golden hammer as a parting gift. The hammer, they said, represented Steve’s tireless devotion as “the hammer” in helping to transform the program into the exceptional real estate education they have all experienced during their time at Runstad.

Congratulations to each of Runstad’s stellar graduates!


Runstad Fellowship 2013: Berlin, Krakow, and Detroit – Elements of engagement

What is a great space? We all have a couple of examples in our minds, but how are these developments achieved? How can we reach a good equilibrium and mix of human connection and commerce? The end result is most of the time taken for granted, but the process and the necessary elements remain unclear for most of us. In our journey to discover this and other related topics, there are some important preliminary insights from Krakow.

In the very nature of human beings there is the need and desire of attraction to the senses. Spaces need to provide real contact, through elements of engagement such as smell, sound, visuals, light, taste, and touch. These elements provide the space with its own identity and uniqueness and catch people into the context.


Some good examples we have seen are the Krakow markets and plazas, full of people even at 21 degrees Fahrenheit and snow in the streets. What brings people to those spaces even under those unpleasant weather factors? The elements of engagement previously mentioned are clearly an important piece in the puzzle.

One of my favorite plazas had a mixture of local stands that provided traditional street food, hand crafted products, and live music. The combination of the smells coming from cheeses, meats, vegetables, together with the live music, and the traditional design of the stands made up for a great drawing power and engagement. A good market was Hala Targawa, which featured the same elements but in a complete different nature. The stands were some in the open air and some covered, but they were all small and family-owned, with a variety of products that ranged from all kinds of foods and drinks, to underwear. In Hala Targawa we felt the importance of the interaction between people; we saw care and personal belonging emanate from the commercial transactions, in which both buyers and sellers were more than just that, and cared about each other.


This journey of exploration and learning is still at an early stage. But some great powerful ideas are starting to take shape and proving validation through real examples, such as the ones previously exposed.