Washington state ranks among u-haul's top 10 growth destinations for 2023


Washington State secured a spot in the top 10 of the U-Haul 2023 Growth Index, highlighting its appeal as a destination for movers utilizing one-way U-Haul equipment. This ranking underscores Washington's growing attractiveness, alongside other leading states like Texas and Florida, which respectively held the first and second positions for the third consecutive year.

In addition to Washington, the top growth states included North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee. Idaho, Arizona, Colorado, and Virginia also featured prominently in the top 10. This achievement for Washington reflects a broader trend of migration to the Southeast and Southwest, as observed by John Taylor, President of U-Haul International.

California, in contrast, recorded the largest net loss of one-way movers for the fourth year in a row, joined by Michigan, New Jersey, Illinois, and Massachusetts among the states with the lowest growth. The U-Haul Growth Index, based on over 2.5 million annual transactions across the U.S. and Canada, provides insights into nationwide migration patterns.

Washington's position in the index is particularly noteworthy, given the significant year-over-year changes observed in some states. Arkansas, Wyoming, Vermont, Delaware, and South Dakota experienced notable increases in their rankings, while Oregon, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Missouri, and Indiana saw major declines.

The U-Haul Growth Index serves as an effective gauge of a state’s or city's ability to attract and maintain residents. While not directly correlating with population or economic growth, the index, derived from U-Haul's extensive network across all 50 states and 10 Canadian provinces, offers a unique perspective on migration trends, with Washington State's top 10 ranking highlighting its growing prominence as a desirable destination.

Commentary from Spencer Esau, SMARTCAP's Acquisitions Manager

Washington is back in the top 10 of the U-Haul Growth Index after a 3-year hiatus. Population growth is notoriously difficult to measure but U-Haul’s internal data is widely regarded as a solid proxy for gauging how well states and cities are attracting residents. With California ranking dead last for four years running, it is clear that Washington is benefiting from California’s outmigration.



BKM capital partners expands portfolio with acquisition of metro portland's 217 distribution center 



BKM Capital Partners has acquired the 217 Distribution Center, a multi-tenant industrial park in Metro Portland. This 451,062 sq ft property offers 13 units and boasts excellent features like dual-dock-high loading capabilities, 24-foot-clear heights, and 14 railway dock doors.

BKM plans to invest $4 million in upgrades, including roofs, parking lots, and more, while increasing the number of units to 15. The property's location along Highway 217 provides easy access to the Pacific Northwest, making it ideal for logistics-focused tenants. Currently, it's fully leased to credit tenants like Nike, Rexel, and the Beaverton Police Department.

This acquisition is part of BKM's successful year, during which they acquired 14 properties totaling 2.2 million sq ft in various states. Their strategic vision positions them as industry leaders, with plans to deploy $200 million in Q1 2024.

Commentary from Dominic Vinti, SMARTCAP's Senior Acquisitions Analyst

BKM Capital Partners finished up an acquisition in the Portland submarket of Beaverton. The 5 building, light industrial park consists of 13 units and is anchored by high credit tenants such as Nike, Rexel, Blue Ocean Logistics, and others. The park was acquired for $67 million, or $148 per square foot. Per a press release from BKM, they plan to pour about $4 million in capital expenditures into the park along with adding 2 additional unit spaces. 

With BKM's disposition of the Beaverton Industrial Center in Q3 '23, among other recent light industrial trades in the greater Seattle area, light industrial parks have been the bulk of recent value add transaction volume in the Pacific NW. Light industrial parks have provided strong fundamental outlooks as supply is shrinking, recently giving way to big box industrial centers, leaving fewer and fewer options for tenants that call these parts home. Most light industrial parks can be acquired at less than replacement cost and have below-market rents, providing valuable upside when current leases expire. 


paine field airport takes off: 14.3 acres transferred to snohomish county, fueling aviation industry growth 

paine field

Exciting news for Everett's Paine Field Airport! The Washington Air National Guard is transferring 14.3 acres of land to Snohomish County, a major boost for the region's aviation industry. This move, part of the National Defense Authorization Act, is set to create jobs, boost the economy, and improve infrastructure at Paine Field.

Paine Field Airport has a rich history and currently houses Boeing's massive aircraft assembly plant, contributing over $60 billion annually to the economy and supporting 125,000 jobs. The transferred land, strategically located near the Boeing plant, will support aerospace manufacturing and foster the region's aerospace sector growth.

Rep. Rick Larsen played a key role in securing this transfer, emphasizing its potential for job creation and economic opportunities. With limited space for expansion, these 14.3 acres offer a precious opportunity for development and improvement.

Snohomish County Executive Dave Somers praised the transfer, highlighting its significance in enhancing the airport's role as a vital economic engine. The county's decision to rename the airport as Seattle Paine Field International Airport aims to raise its profile among travelers and compete with Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.

In summary, this land transfer is a major milestone for Paine Field Airport, demonstrating collaborative efforts to ensure its long-term growth and prosperity. As the aviation hub evolves, the potential for job creation, economic impact, and infrastructure enhancement is brighter than ever, solidifying Paine Field's position in the Pacific Northwest's aerospace industry.

Commentary from Spencer Esau, SMARTCAP's Acquisitions Manager

 Snohomish County Executive Dave Somers said, “Paine Field Airport is the crown jewel of our region’s economy, generating over $60 billion yearly in economic impact and accounting for over 125,000 jobs”. Unlocking 14 acres of unused real estate is a coupe for Paine Field, which has been attempting to gain control of these properties for over thirty years.  Included in the transfer is a parcel which will allow Paine Field to expand the passenger terminal’s access road from two lanes to three. This will help the airport achieve its goal of expanding from two passenger gates to twenty in the next ten years. The county envisions an aerospace manufacturing facility at another transferred parcel which is near Boeing’s assembly plant.

bellevue's central business district shines in 2024 real estate market amid broader eastside challenges


 In 2024, Bellevue's Central Business District (CBD) shines as a bright spot in the real estate market, despite challenges elsewhere. After a slow start in 2023, the area has seen a resurgence in tenant demand, with about 1 million square feet of pending leases, indicating a potential "soft landing." This stands in contrast to the broader Eastside region, which continues to struggle, according to a Q4 2023 report by Broderick Group.

Bellevue CBD's appeal lies in its high-end Class A office spaces with stunning views, attracting a range of tenants, including renewals, expansions, relocations, and new out-of-state entrants.

The last quarter of 2023 was pivotal, with 1.4 million square feet of new construction fully leased by Amazon and Meta, offsetting potential negative absorption due to Microsoft's exit. While some significant vacancies occurred, major ones are not expected soon.

In contrast, the Eastside market faces challenges, with 25 percent of space available or vacant and a concerning 44.4 percent availability along the I-90 Corridor. Class A property owners have fared better, but recovery depends on sustained demand, a shift to hybrid work models, and broader appeal across submarkets.

Key Eastside Market Stats:

Vacancy Rate: 17.5 percent
Total Square Feet: 41,703,176
Vacant Square Feet: 7,280,497
Asking Rates: $40.62 (Gross)
Q4 2023 Absorption: Negative 70,555 square feet

Despite challenges, there's a positive sign of decreased availability from 24.6 percent in Q3 2023 to 23.9 percent in Q4. However, vacancy increased to 17.5 percent in Q4 from 14.4 percent in Q3.

The market saw modest-sized lease signings, primarily in downtown Bellevue, aligning with the preference for Class A spaces. Around 20 tenants are negotiating for substantial spaces in Bellevue, indicating a brisk market. Notable leases include GoDaddy, Kestra Medical Technologies, Astronics, Robinhood, Lumen, and Zymeworks Biopharmaceuticals.

While Bellevue CBD looks promising with its focus on quality and amenities, full recovery will take time and depend on sustained tenant demand across all submarkets.

Commentary from Dominic Vinti, SMARTCAP's Sr. Acquisitions Analyst 

Despite the doom and gloom in most downtown office markets throughout the United States, the Bellevue CBD has remained fairly resilient. With a strong leasing finish to 2023, Bellevue's CBD could find itself in a soft-landing scenario. Bellevue and the remainder of the Eastside scored several renewals and new leases at the end of 2023, all 10k SF or greater. Bellevue's strength has been high quality assets that comprise the CBD. Class A & A+ spaces with desirable amenities have found themselves insulated from much of the office turmoil as tenants have moved to higher quality space to draw their employees back into the office. 

Even though the Eastside lost some major tenants, optimism remains strong for 2024. With rumored 1 million feet in pending leases, the Eastside Market could see its vacancy drop from 17.5% to 15%. The pandemic ushered in an era of unique working conditions that are still being felt as we navigated 2023. Economic strains and market uncertainties have led to tightened budgets and occasional workforce reductions. In 2023 we began to see employers advocate for return to office spearheaded by Amazon in May of '23 and followed by many other large employers such as Meta and Boeing. As the push for return to work continues in 2024, occupancy patterns will tick up and spur near term positive leasing velocity of quality space with minimal CAPEX requirements. With new leasing comes foot traffic and with foot traffic comes the bounce back in vitality of the urban core, as our CBD's begin to rebound, the snowball effect will hopefully begin taking shape in 2024. 



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SMARTCAP specializes in office/warehouse investment. We are data-driven, value-focused, and put our investors first.

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