Seattle Is Teardown Town

Mansionization, that conspicuous manifestation of the demand for larger homes, is alive and well in Seattle.

1 minute read

December 3, 2015, 12:00 PM PST

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell


Adam Foster / FLickr

Gene Balk reports on the rate at which Seattle landowners are tearing down homes and replacing them with newer, much larger models.

According to data from the King County assessor " from 2012 through 2014, more than 1,500 houses were torn down and replaced with something larger — typically at least twice the size." Moreover, 450 of those homes were replaced with a new home at three times the size of the original home.

Balk credits the wave of mansionization to a lack of "unaffordable" housing in the city. That is, "[i]n our increasingly affluent region, there’s growing demand for spacious, amenity-laden new houses, particularly in prime locations on the Eastside and in parts of Seattle. But the existing housing stock in these established neighborhoods is often characteristic of a more modest era — small prewar cottages and midcentury ramblers."

The article includes some heat maps to show where the teardowns are occurring most frequently around town as well as a samples of comparison photos to show how the houses, and blocks, looked before and after renovations. 

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