Northgate tops the list of Seattle neighborhoods poised for growing and adding density, according to local startup CityBldr.
CityBldr said it used machine learning to show what current homes are worth and compare it with how much developers would pay.
“You think that the property is worth ‘X’ because a homebuyer would pay ‘X’ amount,” said CityBldr CEO and co-founder Bryan Copley. “But the machine learning algorithm might say you’re calculating this the wrong way because the predictive best use of that building or that space or your property, is to sell it to a builder or a developer for them to build 25 apartments.”
Copley said homeowners in single-family homes that are now zoned for higher-density are who stand to gain the most if they sell.
The top 10 list includes:
2. Central District
3. South Lake Union
4. Beacon Hill
5. Queen Anne
6. Central Business District
7. Rainier Valley
8. Capitol Hill
Copley said the main reason Northgate tops the list is because of the upcoming link light rail station coming near the mall. It’s expected to open in 2021.
“The common thread if you look through that list, besides Queen Anne, is the availability of light rail,” he said.
Jeff Laru lives within walking distance from the future station, located near the current bus transit station and park and ride. He said developers contact him two to three times a month seeing if he wants to sell his property or if he knows a neighbor who does.
Laru said even though they promise offers well above market value, he’s not interested in selling.
“Where am I going to find a 10,000 square foot lot with a house like this?” Laru asked thetorically, glancing at the house he bought in 2001. “I can’t. I’d have to go north. I don’t want to go north.”
Copley said he knows some locals will not like the possibility of adding density, but he argues that’s necessary to keep housing affordable.
“In a city changing as fast as Seattle, I think it’s important for people to look at what a builder or developer might pay for their property because the likelihood is, at this point, if you live in a neighborhood like (South Lake Union), the most interested buyer is a builder or developer,” he said.
Copley said Queen Anne making the list surprised him.
"It's really a bastion of the single family residence in Seattle," he said. "For the algorithm to find all that opportunity means that there'd have to be some allowance by neighbors in Queen Anne and people that govern those jurisdictions to allow more building."
Copley went on to explain the algorithm drew off thousands of past examples similar to Queen Anne, which led it to predict the neighborhood would be likely to change.
Last year five Shoreline neighbors banded together to sell their collective lots to developers.