Eastside Real Estate Symposium Highlights Housing Crisis

Posted By: Ryan Makinster Advocacy News,

Eastside Real Estate Symposium

The WMFHA advocacy team recently attended the 2024 Eastside Real Estate Symposium hosted by the Bellevue Chamber of Commerce. The annual event highlights commercial real estate trends, housing supply and affordability and broader economic market signals.

The event featured two panels of experts before keynote speaker Jon Woloshin, executive director and head of real estate research at UBS Financial Services who provided a local and regional forecast. The first, “The Pipeline Problem: Making Housing Pencil,” featured Matthew Gardner, a real estate economist with Gardner Economics and WMFHA's annual Washington Apartment Outlook presenter; Meredith Holzemer, managing director of Mill Creek Residential; Alexandra Reese, chief operating officer of Up for Growth; and Mark Washington, executive vice president with CBRE. It was moderated by Abigail DeWeese, a land use attorney with Hillis Clark Martin & Peterson PS.

The panel highlighted the supply crisis the state is facing with Washington and Gardner stressing the importance of reducing regulatory burdens and streamlining processes at the local level to address the problem. According to Washington, “If you can figure out ways to balance that cost on their behalf, you can accelerate and get more products.”

Th second panel featured Murray Crampton, director of commercial real estate for Vulcan Real Estate; Alex Wheatley, director at Newmark Knight Frank; and Zach Zaborowski, senior vice president-market lead for the Pacific Northwest for EQ Office. It was titled “The Office: Bears, Beets, Battling Vacancy Rates” and was moderated by Reza Marashi, Director of Government Affairs for Kilroy Realty.

While Woloshin gave a broad overview of economic realities now and in the short-term facing both residential and commercial markets, a few of his comments stand out. Woloshin cautioned against rent control and stressed the importance of decreasing regulatory burdens, citing an earlier speaker who pegged regulatory policies accounting for about 40% of development cost. “Time is part of that cost,” he said.

He also reiterated a point often made by the WMFHA advocacy team and our members. “What I like to say about capital is capital has no friends, has no memory, it's globally fungible, and seeks its highest risk-adjusted return — and so policy does matter,” Woloshin said. “If you keep throwing roadblocks, whether they be permitting, anything that requires more money and almost more importantly more time, capital's going to go elsewhere. It's not a complicated equation.”

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