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First year students meet with local mentors

While our second-year students were in Chicago for the ULI fall meeting, our first-year students were busy meeting with some heavy hitters in the local real estate community.  Patrick Kassin shares some choice tidbits on his blog about the students’ tour of Stadium Place with Kevin Daniels, and Lei Wu writes in with an account of her conversation with Bob Wallace of Wallace Properties.  Past, present, and future MSRE students would do well to take note of the valuable insights which Lei learned and wishes to share with other young professionals entering the field.

Thank you to all of these talented mentors for so generously sharing their time and wisdom with our students!


A Mentor’s Tips for Real Estate Industry New Professionals

Contributed by Lei Wu, November 10, 2013


Bob Wallace and I met at a NAIOP mentoring event on October 23, 2013. During our brief conversion, I learned that Bob is the CEO of Wallace Properties, which has been an influential real estate company in the Puget Sound region since the 1970s. Its projects are regular features on news media, such as the Puget Sound Business Journal. As successful as he is, Bob seems very down to earth and humble. I yearned to learn about more about him and his recipe for success. Maybe there is an ingredient or two that a newbie like me could borrow right away, which would start me off on the right foot. As swarms of mentees surrounded him at the event, I decided that a separate meeting with Bob later would be the way to go.

Bob generously agreed to meet with me on a sunny Friday morning.  Our one and a half hour conversation was filled with stories of fun and wisdom. The recipe that I was looking for emerged through these stories. The two biggest ingredients that I have heard from these stories are: 1) focusing on your strengths and 2) giving back to the community.

Focus on your strengths. Between two potentially good career options: healthcare management consulting and real estate, Bob made the decision to focus on the latter early on. As Wallace Properties developed into a full-blown commercial real estate company over the years, focusing on strong areas allowed the company’s reputation to develop concurrently with growth. However, the areas that Bob has delegated for outside help are probably as significant as opportunities he has taken on. For example, Wallace Properties does not provide residential property management because this area is not regarded as one of its strengths. What does it do for its own multi-family properties? It hires good residential property management companies.

Give back to the community with what you are good at. “I sort of understand finance and real estate. Those are areas in which I have tried to give back to the community.” Bob’s efforts in a list of diverse community organizations show the point of his words. One example is his involvement as the past chair of the Major League Baseball Public Facilities District, also known as Safeco Field. Another example is Bob’s efforts with Puget Sound Air Transportation Commission as its chair.  A quote that Bob used in emphasizing his point is ”we spend too much talking with ourselves.” You do not have to be a chair in order to get involved meaningfully in a community organization. Bob noted a success story about a young professional, who has been active in community organizations. Apparently, her active community involvement has helped her get to know and work with people. Not surprisingly, she does very well in her professional career.

Now, I have shared my learning from one mentor. I hope you can put it to good use in your future successes.

Maintaining your GRADitude

If you’re considering an advanced degree or are currently in the midst of earning one, you are probably well aware of the sacrifice and hard work it will take to achieve your goals.  How do you keep your eye on the end result of your efforts, while also remaining present in the moment and appreciative of your time as a student? Here is a thoughtful and timely piece with three key suggestions to help you “maintain your GRADitude.”

We at the Runstad Center would like to wish everyone in our community — our students, alumni, board, job and internship sponsors, university network, friends far and wide — a very happy Thanksgiving!


Mark your calendars for 2013 IREM Forecast Breakfast

Runstad Center director Dr. Stephen O’Connor will moderate an all-star panel at the 2013 IREM Forecast breakfast on December 6 at the Bellevue Westin.  The panel includes Dr. Svenja Gudell, (Zillow), Joe McWilliams (Port of Seattle), Dave MaGee (Cushman & Wakefield) and Matt Rosauer (Pine Street Group).  The breakfast will also feature a keynote by Dr. Stan Humphries, chief economist at Zillow.

More information and a registration form may be found here: IREM Brochure_ForReference.


Washington home sales surged, affordability declined in third quarter

Washington state’s housing market continued to strengthen in the July-September quarter, registering the fifth quarterly consecutive improvement in home sales activity, according to Glenn Crellin, director of the Washington Center for Real Estate Research here at the Runstad Center.   Similarly, median home prices throughout the state advanced, while the affordability of homes dropped measurably.

The Q3 snapshot is now available: Snapshot _WSHM Q3 2013

UW Today also has full coverage of the story.  We expect to have the full report available to subscribers in a few weeks.  Interested in subscribing?  Please contact

Wright Runstad’s Spring District project featured in Wall Street Journal

Developers bet big on Seattle

WR Bellevue

photo credit Studio216

The Wall Street Journal recently profiled Wright Runstad & Co.’s exciting new project in Bellevue, The Spring District.  Runstad Center board member Greg Johnson, featured in the article, talks about how the Seattle area is showing dramatic growth in the demand for office development, in contrast to anemic levels of construction in other parts of the country.  More than 3 million square feet of office space is under way in the region, according to real-estate services firm Kidder Mathews.

Johnson further discusses how the Spring District project will break from tradition in car-oriented Bellevue, in a recent article from Geekwire.

Incoming MSRE students are touring the Seattle and Bellevue regional estate market today on day two of their intensive orientation period, before classes begin at the University of Washington on September 25.

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: