The Story Behind Seattle's Building Permits Data

We are the nation’s third-fastest growing city. Over the next 20 years, 120,000 more people are going to live here.
-Mayor Ed Murray

Growth in permits issued 

This is a visualization of the growth in permits issued, since October 2010. As you can see the number is somewhat seasonal: it drop in the winter months, and spikes in the summer.


Seattle is a progressive city. While we cherish our history, we have always been unafraid to innovate and experiment with new ideas. We will need that kind of innovation if we are to meet our current challenges. Seattle Mayor Ed Murray, citing record construction boom, says annual revenue is up 4.5 percent in the city, and outlined his plan to use it. Murray says the revenue forecast is now $13 million above the original forecast for 2016 and the general fund forecast is now $1.1 billion. He addressed the Seattle City Council and numerous city employees in his budget address Monday. Murray says sales tax from construction accounts for about a quarter of all new revenue, an all time high in Seattle.He outlined multiple proposals for using that money, which does involve building the Revenue Stabilization Account, better known as Rainy Day fund, to its highest level in recorded history.

Counting Cranes in SLU

There is significant growth in the South Lake Union  (SLU)neighborhood as well as downtown. This video shows how many cranes are being used in July 2014. Lots of construction. South Lake Union is where is headquartered and much of the construction has been fueled by this growth.

The Brothers Olympic Mountains peak serves as a backdrop to 400 Fairview, a mixed-use project in South Lake Union. In the foreground is a capped brick stack, a remnant of the old industrial neighborhood.
(Credit: Ken Lambert)

All Seattle building permits issued in 2015


Budget for neighborhood development in FY 2016. 

Below is a density map of permits, embedded from CartoDB