Monthly Housing Price Growth Continues To Slow, Still Rising Annually

Though housing prices in the Seattle area continue to rise on a yearly basis (up 8.6 percent over this time last year), the market saw a continued slowdown in monthly price gains for single-family homes in June, similar to the trend in May. Prices in King, Pierce, and Snohomish counties rose by just 1.1 percent in June, a slightly lower rate than the 1.4 percent price growth in May, according to the S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Index released Tuesday. The Seattle market is still outperforming the 20-city Index by a small margin, with those prices having grown by 1 percent in June, and 8 percent over the year.

Case-Shiller is calling the numbers part of a “widespread slowdown” in home-price growth nationwide that began last fall. They say that despite the slowdown in growth, other positive factors such as builders’ sentiment and existing home sales point to a normalizing housing market. If you are interested in buying or selling a home in the Seattle area, contact your local real estate agent today.

Apartment Developer Takes Over Central District Park Space

Yet another Seattle apartment building is in development, and this time it is taking over what could have been a small neighborhood park in the Central District. According to the Puget Sound Business Journal, Spectrum Development Solutions bought the property located at 1023 E Alder Street for just over $2.2 million, and plans to build an 84 unit apartment building on the land. The City Parks department had attempted to absolve the property for a pocket park, in a neighborhood which currently only has one small open space, Horiuchi Park. central district park

Spectrum has since received the nod of approval from Ed Murray to move forward with the building development, squashing further disputes between Spectrum and the City Parks Department. In an area that could use more open spaces, the Central District currently has 3 apartment projects planned by Spectrum in various phases of development, but this is certainly becoming commonplace around other urban areas of the city. More people are moving in, and new housing options are needed to accommodate population growth. One of the goals presented by the City is to have two acres of parks in this area by 2024, stay tuned for further updates. For more information on Seattle real estate, contact your local real estate agent today.

Number Of Single-Family Homes Declining In Many Neighborhoods

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The single-family house is still at the top of many home buyers’ lists when searching for a property to buy, but the influx of condominiums and townhouses in many of Seattle’s most popular neighborhoods is further decreasing the supply of stand-alone homes in a market where inventory is already tight.

According to a Seattle Times analysis of census data from 2000-2012, the number of single-family homes has decreased most significantly in North Seattle neighborhoods such as Wallingford, Green Lake, Maple Leaf, and Northgate, as well as in the area surrounding Dexter Avenue North on the east side of Queen Anne above South Lake Union. However, South End neighborhoods such as Jefferson Park on Beacon Hill, Mount Baker, and South Park all saw increases in single-family homes in the same time span.

In a market that has seen prices soaring and bidding wars erupting over the small supply of single-family homes that are available, this is not encouraging news for buyers looking to live in neighborhoods where many multifamily developments are in the works. The city has added 5,000 net single-family homes since 2000, but with 80,000 new residents having moved to Seattle since then, that barely makes a dent in terms of demand. To see the Times’ detailed map of single-family home inventory, click here.

If you would like more information about buying a home in the Seattle area, contact your local real estate agent today.

Monthly Condo Market Recap: Activity is Strong

The first half of 2014 has proven to be very active in the condo market.  The stats for the first 6 months reflect a very active time with successful closings. The number of active listings in the Downtown and Belltown neighborhoods rose each month.  There were 91 active listings in these neighborhoods in January.  It rose to 107 in February, 113 in March, 116 for the months of April & May and has increased to 130 active listings in June.  This shows that Spring is definitely the most popular time to put a home on the market. The number of sales per month also steadily rose over the past 6 months.  Downtown condo

There were 23 closed sales in January, 38 in February, 43 in March, 54 in April, 59 in May and then dropped slightly back down to 49 in June. The median sales price in these neighborhoods ranged from $405,000 to $549,500 per month.  The highest median sales prices were in February at $549,500. Some would say it is definitely a seller’s market right now.  Homes in good condition and priced to sell are going fast!  Many units are seeing bidding wars and selling within days of being listed.  The comparison of the list price to the sell price was 98.3% in January and was 99% from February thru April. It is important for condo sales to be successful that their HOA is managed well and they are properly funded. For more information on condo sales or condo management please contact your local condo management team today.

Median Home Price In Seattle Surpasses 2007 Peak

housing marketIt has finally happened – Seattle’s median home price has officially topped its 2007 peak, the Northwest Multiple Listing Service is reporting. The median price now stands at $543,500, significantly more than the $501,000 peak of 2007, and nearly $80,000 higher than the median in July 2013 of $465,000.

Seattle’s market appears to be recovering by leaps and bounds compared to the national market, where the median price for homes in the top 20 markets is still 18 percent below the the peak set in 2006. J. Lennox Scott, the CEO of John L. Scott Real Estate told The Seattle Times that the major factors boosting our housing market are jobs – Seattle’s unemployment rate is down to 5.8 percent – and interest rates, which are historically low.

Another factor likely playing a part is that inventory remains very limited, and prices are responding in classic supply-and-demand fashion. Bidding wars are erupting for the few homes that are available, pushing prices upward. According to The Seattle Times article, some neighborhoods in Seattle such as Ballard and Green Lake only have a one-month supply of homes listed for sale, in a market where a 4-6-month supply is considered “balanced.” According to data from Redfin, 39 percent of homes in the Seattle Metro area sold for more than the listing price in the second quarter of 2014.

If you are interested in buying or selling a home in the Seattle area, contact your local real estate agent today.

 

Why First Time Buyers Should Consider Condo Homeownership

For first time home buyers, saving up for a down payment and getting pre-qualified for a loan can be terrifying, and often stressful. There is a great option for the first time buyer who wants to build equity without the weight of a heavy mortgage, and that is condo ownership. Condo homeownership comes with many of the same perks as single family home ownership, such as benefiting from the tax incentive, and building equity. Condo living is not for everyone, but here are some things you should consider when deciding if buying a condo is the right option for you. There will be noise restrictions in nearly every condo building – first time home buyers are within reach of their party days, and quiet hours will generally be enforced from the hours of 10pm-8am. This should excite buyers who enjoy their quiet time, or are used to living privately. downtown condo1

There are also often pet restrictions, so if you have a large dog, be prepared that your pooch might not be welcome to live in a condo you’ve fallen in love with. Check the building policy prior to viewing a unit so you don’t get your hopes up on a space you won’t be able to bring your whole family. Many condo owners see an opportunity to earn extra income by renting out their condo unit. While this is certainly a great option for many, there are restrictions on the number of rentals that are allowed in many condo buildings, and they may already be at capacity when you close on your condo. Having a higher percentage of rentals than owners in the building can actually make it difficult for new buyers to secure a loan, and some owners believe owners living in their units have a stronger interest in keeping their property nice in comparison to renters who do not have as much invested in building. Check with the building owners before looking into renting out your unit to determine if you’re legally allowed to rent it out. For more information on buying a condo in the Seattle area, contact your local real estate agent today.

Home Price Growth In Seattle Area Appears To Be Slowing

housingThough it may not appear so, considering the seemingly sky-high prices for homes in the Seattle area, the growth in average price for existing single-family homes in King, Snohomish, and Pierce counties seems to have leveled out in late spring. The average price grew by just 1.4 percent from April to May, compared to a 2.3 percent increase from March to April, according to the S&P/Case Shiller 20-City Index released today.

Though price growth is slowing in the short term, average prices in May for single-family homes in the Seattle area were still up 9.3 percent from May 2013, and in many Seattle-area neighborhoods, median prices are nearing their pre-crash highs. In King County as a whole, the median price was $430,000 for the first six months of this year, just 5 percent below the 2007 peak. According to this article in The Seattle Times, the Seattle market is 13 percent below its 2007 peak.

In the same article, Stan Humphries, chief economist at Zillow, says that all of these numbers point to a normalizing housing market, but that there is a wide variation among markets and submarkets, such as lower-priced homes appreciating at a higher rate than more expensive homes.

If you are interested in buying or selling a home in the Seattle area, contact your local real estate agent today.

 

 

Why You Should Consider Getting A Loan PreQualification

If you’re toying with the idea of buying a home, it is generally in your best interest to get pre-qualified for a mortgage. Working with a lender to see if you qualify for a mortgage can be an excellent first step to estimate the amount of money you can borrow, and what price range you can afford in a home. Getting an estimate from a lender is not binding, and does not mean you must use them for representation. If you are not satisfied with the quote you receive, you’re encouraged to move on to another bank and shop around until you have an understanding of the best options for you. Getting an estimate is often free of charge, and will help your real estate agent and lender get a better understanding of a good starting point for your home search. beacon hill home

What is used to determine your mortgage pre-qualification? Your finances, including your assets, income credit report, etc, will all be used to assess your rates. Having your pre-qualification in order before you embark on the home search is great in a hot market like Seattle’s, as this will give you a head start from other applicants, and proves to the seller that you are a serious buyer. If you are interested in search for a Seattle area home, contact your local real estate agent today.

Nine Office Buildings For Sale Around the Sound

This just in: Chicago based private equity real estate firm Walton Street Capital has listed 9 office buildings in the Puget Sound area, according to the Daily Journal of Commerce.Two of the buildings that hit the market are located in downtown Seattle, one at 1111 3rd Ave, and the other (just kitty corner to it), at 2nd & Spring. Six of the other apartmentsbuildings listed are located in Bellevue, and the other is the Island Corporate Center on Mercer Island. The portfolio for sale totals over 2 million sf of office space, a large slice of inventory for the firm to place on the market at one time. Walton Street Capital bought 11 offices in the surrounding Seattle area after a previous owner defaulted on a $900 million dollar loan. Seeing a win-win opportunity, Walton, along with several bankers bought some of that heavily discounted debt, and set themselves up for success to take control of the buildings once the owner defaulted. If you’re in the market to purchase or sell commercial real estate in Seattle, contact your local real estate agent today.

Pacific Place Sold For $271 Million

pac place1998 was a big year for downtown Seattle. Nordstrom completed its move across Pine Street to its shiny new flagship, and just down the street the Pacific Place shopping center opened, finally giving shoppers an alternative to the then-dingy Westlake Center. Can anyone even remember what occupied that block before Pacific Place rose five stories above Pine and Olive?

It appears that the shopping center still has plenty of earning potential, as it was just sold to D.C.-based real estate management company Madison Marquette (along with other unnamed investors) for $271 million, which is believed to be a record for this type of property in Seattle. Additionally, investors are donating $14 million from the sale to the United Way of King County.

According to an article in the Puget Sound Business Journal, Pacific Place sees 6 million visitors annually and it is 90 percent leased. Many tenants have come and gone over the years, and it now houses such upscale retailers as Barney’s New York, Michael Kors, and Tiffany & Co, along with original tenants Williams Sonoma, Helly Hansen, Il Fornaio and what is now the AMC movie theater.

For more information on Seattle Real Estate, contact your local real estate agent today.