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Washington housing market remains strong in 1st quarter of 2015

Washington state’s housing market was strong in the first quarter of 2015, with both sales and new building permits up compared with a year ago and the market remaining largely affordable, according to a new report from the Washington Center for Real Estate Research here at the Runstad Center.  Housing affordability for all buyers statewide continued to rise in the first quarter; however, affordability varied widely across the state.

The Center’s findings were discussed further with UW Today.

Here’s a preview of the data, in our snapshot for Q1 2015.  The full report, now available to subscribers, will be posted online when the third quarter report snapshot is released.  If you’d like to become a subscriber, please contact

AP Hurd to address Carbon Accountability at CoreNet luncheon

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A Runstad Center faculty member and Affiliate Fellow, AP Hurd, is speaking at the monthly CoreNet luncheon.  AP is President and Chief Development Officer of Touchstone as well as the author of The Carbon Efficient City, which shows how regional economies can be aligned with practices that drive carbon efficiency.

Governor Jay Inslee’s recent signature legislation, the Carbon Pollution Accountability Act, is merely one example of state and national legislation aimed at curbing carbon emissions through economic controls.  As concerns about global climate change increase, new policies that put a price on carbon emissions will impact corporate business strategies.  AP Hurd will lead a discussion exploring the implications of new carbon accountability policies on the corporate real estate industry.

Register by clicking here.   We’re proud to have one of our own leading this important conversation!

UW team advances to finals in low-income housing competition!

A team of MSRE, M. Arch, MUP and MPA students from the University of Washington has been advanced to the final round in the Bank of America Merrill Lynch Low Income Housing Challenge 2015.  Their proposal was for an affordable, multifamily housing development in the Wedge neighborhood of Tacoma. The Wedge neighborhood is located at a key intersection with the middle class North End neighborhood to the north and west and the low income Hilltop neighborhood to the south and east.  Lead by interdisciplinary faculty mentors including the Runstad Center’s Al Levine, the team aims to take the first step toward realizing a community-based vision for the new Wedge neighborhood with the development of affordable housing for local households.

Their next steps will be to develop a final written proposal and multimedia presentation, which will be shown at the celebration event next month in San Francisco.

Congratulations to our students for having their thoughtful concept and hard work recognized – and good luck!!

2014 Leadership Dinner – Seattle at the Crossroads


The success of the Runstad Center Leadership Dinner this past October can be measured by more than its 400-person attendance or the monetary proceeds that so benefit our students. The true impact is in building a robust and inclusive dialogue about where we are headed as a community, how we will use the economic engine of our growth to create a vibrant, sustainable and equitable future here in the Pacific Northwest.

The reverberations continue.

The Runstad Center was privileged to honor Glenn Crellin as he retired from his post as Associate Director for Research at the Center. Glenn’s career as an “accidental economist” is most distinguished by his creation of the Housing Affordability Index, which continues to serve the people of Washington and beyond. Expert in summarizing the market, he has been an invaluable resource to the Center as well as to our citizenry.  No wonder the room stood for a long ovation. Glenn is irreplaceable, but we will try. And of course we stand with the room in wishing him great happiness as he sets out on a new adventure!

The substance of the event was a panel discussion on the critical matter of affordable housing. Moderated by Peter Orser, vice-chair of the Runstad Center Advisory Board and recently retired president and CEO of Weyerhaeuser Real Estate, the impressive panel included King County Executive Dow Constantine, Seattle City Councilman Mike O’Brien, who chairs the city council committee on funding affordable housing, real estate developer George Petrie of Goodman Real Estate, Executive Vice President Lisa Picard of Skanska USA, and economist Matthew Gardner, co-chair of the Board of Trustees for the Washington Center for Real Estate Research.

So, of course, the conversation was both lively and profound.

Steve O’Connor, Director of the Runstad Center, set the table for the discussion with an explanation of why housing affordability is a key metric for sustaining regional economic vitality.  Matthew Gardner, President of Gardner Economics, presented facts and figures on how the Pacific Northwest economy and real estate markets are performing.  Peter Orser added “fizz” to the evening by drawing panelists into a discussion of policy options for encouraging the development of affordable housing.  George Petrie and Lisa Picard shared sources of inspiration for taking the risks necessary to lead change.  Petrie recalled the civic dialogues led by Abraham Vereide, founder of Goodwill Industries, in the years before and after World War II.   Picard discussed the power of collaboration and diversity to produce unconventional solutions.   

Lisa Picard summed it up beautifully. “I think, first and foremost, a real estate professional needs to understand that they’re community builders and they’re building probably the largest form of art that people are going to interact with.”

If the substance of the evening was its topic of discussion, the essence of the evening was its eloquence.

We are eagerly looking forward to Leadership Dinner 2015, planned for October 29.
Stay tuned!

Detroit Future City: Design for Rapid Change

Join the UW Department of Landscape Architecture and Professional Advisory CommitteeARCADEUW Runstad Center for Real Estate StudiesUW Department of Urban Design and Planning at the Frye Art Museum for a panel discussion on Detroit with thought leaders who are at the heart of the city’s transformation and revival.  The panel includes past Runstad Affiliate Fellows Lisa Picard and Eric Becker.

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Thursday 22nd Jan 2015, 5-7 pm

at Frye Art Museum Auditorium  704 Terry Ave, Seattle, WA 98104

Please RSVP here by January 15th, 2015 as space is limited.

Detroit provides a means to study fundamental urban transformation and innovation that comes from both the top down and the grassroots level. The renewal happening in the city presents a ripe opportunity to evaluate and test civic strategies with the goal of understanding how to maximize a city’s resiliency in the service of rapid positive change in the future. Indeed, the seeds of what’s happening in Detroit exist in all cities, though to lesser degrees.

About the Panel

-Rainy Hamilton Jr., President and Principal-in-Charge of Architecture, Hamilton Anderson Associates; Detroit Michigan.

-Eric Becker, Founder of We Are Shouting; Fellow, University of Washington Runstad Center.

-Dan Pitera, Associate Professor of Architecture, University of Detroit Mercy; Director, Detroit Collaborative Design Center.

-Panel Moderator:  Lisa Picard, Executive Vice President, Skanska USA Commercial Development Inc.; Fellow, University of Washington Runstad Center.

Seattle: crowdfunding capital?

Key members of the real estate community, including Runstad Center faculty member Ed McGovern and MSRE alum/board member Katlin Jackson, joined a distinguished panel of speakers at the Four Seasons last week for “Seattle Capital Landscape: New Trends and Huge Deals,” hosted by Bisnow.  The morning featured a stimulating discussion on the future of investment and capital markets in Seattle, exploring the question: are we becoming the city for crowdfunding?  The panel focused on new trends in EB5 financing, Crowd Funding, and large acquisitions all around the Puget Sound region.

Couldn’t make the event?  Some observations from the speakers can be found here.



2014 CoreNet Scholarship Recipients


CoreNet recently recognized the 2014 scholarship recipients at their November luncheon.  Congratulations Zac Strode, Ben Lukes, Andrew Hunt, Michael Riha, and Brad Machat.  A sincere thank you to CoreNet Seattle Chapter President Scott Carter & Sponsorship Vice President John Coates III for your continued support of our students.

Past Runstad Board Chair Greg Johnson named Executive of the Year

Leadership always matters.  For many years, the Runstad Center benefitted daily from the leadership of long time Advisory Board Chair Greg Johnson.  Over those same years, Greg accumulated a pile of accomplishments as President of Wright Runstad & Company:  spearheading the redevelopment of a warehouse/industrial area in Bellevue into a mixed use, transit oriented development known as the Spring District; winning the right to develop a signature building for Seattle’s skyline with the planned Rainier Square Tower; and most importantly for Husky fans, overseeing the development and construction of the new Husky Stadium.  These accomplishments and more have now been recognized by the Puget Sound Business Journal which has named Greg 2014 Executive of the Year. 

This is a high honor and puts Greg in the rarified company of our region’s most notable business leaders.  Previous honorees include Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos (2010), former Gates Foundation CEO Jeff Raikes (2011), Restaurateur Tom Douglas (2012), F5 Networks CEO John McAdam (2013) and fellow Runstad Advisory Board Member Kemper Freeman (2007).  Congratulations Greg!


Orientation is underway!

The Runstad Center welcomed its newest class of MSRE candidates this week!  Orientation activities began on Monday, with a full schedule each day until classes begin next week.  Our students were introduced to our dean, faculty members, support staff, mentors, and professional community.  On Tuesday they toured the Seattle regional real estate market with visits to downtown Seattle, South Lake Union, and Bellevue.  Today, they are getting familiarized with our core curriculum and meeting the second year students, who will give them the inside scoop about life in the MSRE program.  Later this afternoon, it’s back downtown for several key meetings in the real estate community before kicking back at an Alumni Happy Hour this evening.  Tomorrow, off on a ferry boat to explore sustainability and innovation on Bainbridge Island.  And that’s just the first few days!  More to come… stay tuned for photos from this week, and news about what’s next.

All of us at the Runstad Center extend a very warm welcome to the class of 2016!

Please join us for the first annual Runstad Center Leadership Dinner!

The first annual Runstad Center Leadership Dinner will be held on October 9, 2014, at the Westin Hotel in downtown Seattle. Together with a distinguished panel of public and private leaders, we invite you to join the conversation on the future of our city, region and state.

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Special Presentation: Announcing the Glenn Crellin Research Scholarship in honor of Glenn’s twenty-two years of outstanding public service to the state of Washington.

Please visit our event page for more information.  Click here to buy a ticket or a table.  (RSVP deadline is October 5.) If you are unable to attend but would like to make a contribution, please visit this page.

We look forward to seeing you on October 9!