Seattle Tops the U.S. in Crane Counts for 3 Consecutive Years

As Puget Sound Business Journal reporter Marc Stiles recently tells readers, “if it looks like there are more construction cranes dotting the city of Seattle’s skyline, it’s because there are.” According to a report released in mid-July by Rider Levett Bucknall, “Seattle’s crane count increased from 45 to 65 from December through May,” which means “Seattle has more cranes than any other U.S. city for the third year in a row.”

This marks the first time since the second half of 2016 that there were over 60 cranes in the Emerald City. Looking at the cranes currently dotting the skyline, almost half—27 to be exact—“were for mixed-use projects, with South Lake Union, Capitol Hill and downtown continuing to be prime areas for development.” The report outlines that the outlook for the rest of 2018 can be called “optimistic,” particularly with the repeal of the proposed head tax: “as the city is increasingly reliant on the tech sector as employers,” so “any small change by a major tech tenant could have a ripple effect across the entire construction market.”

Looking across the nation, the Pacific Northwest is by far “the hottest region, with a total of 95 cranes in Seattle and Portland,” well above the 60 counted within Washington, D.C., New York and Boston combined. As was the case in previous years, Seattle led the U.S. in crane counts but fell short of Toronto’s numbers, which settled at just under 100 cranes as of the report.

The data, which was compiled only for areas where RGB operates, “also includes quarterly construction data.” Costs in Seattle from Q1 to Q2 2018 rose by 5 percent, which were topped by San Francisco and Portland, which reported increases of 6.9 percent and 6.3 percent, respectively.