The market for commercial property and investment sales in Washington state turned white-hot in Q3 2021. The dollar volume of sales more than tripled, and the number of transactions surged 133% from the prior quarter. If this trend continues through Q4, 2021 will set a new annual record for CRE sales, eclipsing the record set in 2019 that was fueled by the rush to close deals prior to the increase in Washington’s Real Estate Excise Tax (REET).



  • Despite the economic difficulties associated with COVID-19, investors’ appetite for commercial properties in Washington remains extremely high given the robust and diverse economy in Washington, especially compared to other parts of the USA.
  • With $8.35B in sales volume, Q3 2021 was the highest of any since the record-breaking Q4 2019.
  • The market had a boom in large transactions with 22 sales exceeding $100 million. During the first and second quarters combined, there had only been eight sales exceeding that amount.
  • Year to date, every county and every asset class have more than doubled sales volumes compared to the same period last year.

CBA's Commercial Market Analysis (CMA) Sales Report analyzes quarterly economic and commercial real estate sales activity and trends at the market and submarket levels. We are pleased to offer this detailed analysis and report for your use and interpretation.



In this report, we compare same-month, total quarterly, and year-to-date sales numbers by asset class and county from 2019, 2020, and 2021.

Through the first half of 2021, there was a sense of cautious optimism among brokers and investors in the commercial property sales markets across the state. The economy was reopening as COVID vaccines were being distributed, the CRE markets had improved, and the general sentiment was that for the year, we should experience a healthy rebound from the COVID-19 induced economic downturn and correction from 2020.


Then Q3 brought the unexpected. Despite the curveball dealt by the COVID Delta variant and another wave of infections across the state, there was a massive, almost unprecedented, wave of transactions valued at over $100 million. This resounding boom of notable sales in Q3 was highlighted by the largest sales happening in Seattle, including West 8th (Office, $490m), Safeco Plaza (Office, $465m), and Ascent/Marlowe (Multifamily, $303m). Over this three-month period in Puget Sound, there were 22 deals researched by CBA with sale prices of more than $100 million. By comparison, there were only 20 of these 9-figure deals researched by CBA during the preceding 18 months, from January 2020 to June 2021. (Note: A full list of these notable sales can be found below and in the downloadable report.)


To understand the magnitude of the uptick in Q3 sales, we need to look back at the record-breaking year of 2019. Q4 2019 is the high-water mark for sales activity since CBA started tracking sales numbers over 20 years ago, with 751 sales valued at $9.8 billion. Building on the positive momentum from the first half of the year, Q3 2021 came the closest of any quarter since, with 707 sales for a total of $8.35 billion. Overall year-to-date, and through the first three quarters, 2021 has a sales volume of $14.66 billion, which is higher than any other full calendar year on record except for 2019, ($22.3b) or 2016, ($15.3b).


Note: In 2019 the market saw a rush of sales, especially late in the year as Sellers wanted to capitalize and take advantage before Washington state’s increased Real Estate Excise Tax (REET) took effect in 2020.


In 2021, sales across all asset classes and counties were dramatically trending up from the same periods in 2020. By asset class, sales velocity was led by Office with a 135% improvement. This was followed by Retail (96%), Industrial/Flex (91%), Multifamily (88%), and Land (49%). Industrial/Flex showed the biggest jump in sales volume (224%), with Multifamily (198%), Retail (196%), Office (186%), and Land (129%) trailing.


By county, Thurston had the biggest increase in the number of sales with 177%, followed by Spokane (135%), Snohomish (122%), Pierce (107%), Kitsap (72%), and King (59%). Snohomish County had the largest increase in sales volume at 313%, followed by Spokane (248%), Pierce (218%), Thurston (187%), King (166%), and Kitsap (139%).


While the first half of 2021 started out optimistically, the flood gates were opened in Q3. If this momentum in the market carries through the end of the year, we will likely see records broken, again. But even if things cool down modestly and to a more normalized pace of sales in Q4, as well as into 2022, the first three quarters of 2021 are already comparable to any of the positive and robust years we experienced over the past decade. So, at a minimum, it appears that 2021 is on pace to be one of the three best years for commercial property sales in our history.







CBA researches office, retail, industrial, and land sales, $250,000 or more, in King, Snohomish, Pierce, Spokane, Kitsap, and Thurston counties. Multi-family sales of $250,000+, and 5-units or more are researched in King, Pierce, and Snohomish counties. All the raw data provided in our reports are pulled directly from the CBAcma database. 


For questions about the reports or to learn how CBA members can request and use this data, please contact Binh Truong, Director of Market and Sales Data, via email or 425-952-2727.