The West Coast Tech Effect: From the Shores of Silicon Beach to the Emerald City's Silicon Forest

The technology industry continues to assert its dominance on the West Coast.

In a visit to Seattle over the summer, Shen Schulz, a Malibu-based real estate broker with the Sotheby’s International Realty Malibu Point Dume Brokerage, proclaimed that “the expansion of the tech scene and increase of foreign investment in Southern California real estate have exacerbated a series of price rises that are transforming life” in Malibu. His words echoed familiar to brokers at Realogics Sotheby’s International Realty, given similar market fundamentals felt in the Puget Sound region; tech giants such as Amazon and Microsoft have transformed Seattle’s economy, bringing wealth and top tech talent to the area. As Schulz outlined, both of our cities are home to a number of startups, while major businesses based elsewhere, such as Facebook and Google, have opened up regional offices to leverage local talent.

Recent data reveals that many of the tech companies opening offices in Washington state are engineering centers, as Geekwire’s tech tracker has now surpassed 100 locations in the Puget Sound alone. In establishing these offices, companies are looking to lure up-and-coming talent from top-rated schools such as the University of Washington, and are working to target employees of other notable companies like Microsoft and Amazon. Much is the same in Malibu, whether it’s looking for recent graduates of Pepperdine University or to the over 1,000 tech startups that now dot the region.

Looking at these two locations, it quickly becomes clear that their similarities don’t end in the realm of tech, as both are increasingly popular destinations for foreign investment. As reported by RSIR over the summer, Chinese investment on the West Coast increased while home prices in China grew faster than anywhere else in the world. May Lee of CGTN discussed the most popular destinations for foreign investment, “with Los Angeles ranking as the No. 1 city, followed by Seattle, San Francisco, New York and Canada’s Vancouver,” not to mention the thousands of travelers that recently took advantage of an extended Golden Week holidayby taking trips to explore foreign investment options in the U.S.

So how do these two markets stack up to one another by the numbers?

As is the case in Seattle, demand is outpacing supply in Malibu, which is driving up home prices. The latest data covering the Third Quarter of 2017 reveals similar growth trajectories for median home prices, with a 12.5% increase in Malibu and an 11.4% jump in Seattle. The median home prices in Malibu and Seattle are still quite different from one another, however, at $2.7 million and $881,000 respectively.

Los Angeles Third Quarter Reports   |   Puget Sound Third Quarter Reports

Whether you’re a tech worker, foreign investor or come from far outside the bounds of either realm, both regions offer enviable luxury living opportunities, whether it’s along the shores of Malibu or in the heart of the Pacific Northwest.