The newest trend in the Seattle Real Estate Market isn’t adding another story, or buying a summer home on the Eastside; its all up in the air. According to King 5, The growing hype over “air rights” has homeowners in neighborhoods like Magnolia, Blue Ridge and Somerset in Bellevue scrambling to own the air above their homes. It is becoming more popular as our population density increases, and homeowners can’t spread out and extend their homes, so as the population increases, we build up. To prevent a neighbor from building upwards and blocking the view, many homeowners are will to pay a hefty price to protect their views.
According to King 5, two homeowners in Magnolia purchased the home next to theirs for $600,000 because they were worried about the damage a new neighbor could do to their waterfront view. They rented out the home for 9 years, and then finally sold it, but still retain the air rights above the property. They ended up asking for $100,000 less than the average asking price, and as a result the new homeowners aren’t legally allowed to build up or add a second story to the home. Generally these are rights can be anywhere between $50,000 to $250,000, but every home is different. Bill Gate’s air rights are in the upward millions. But homeowners that do own their air rights agree it’s money well spent to protect their views.
Almost all the condos in Bellevue Towers have been sold. A sign posted in the lobby announced that 95 percent of the 539 condos had been sold. In reality, less than 19 are left available. By now, it’s most likely that there are even fewer available. There are several orders pending. 16 condos sold in May and 21 closed in April.
The towers were completed and ready for occupants in 2009. 230 future owners had put down a deposit but soon after the stock market lost half its value, only 35 units closed. In January of 2011 prices were lowered by around 30 percent and units began to slowly sell. Units have been selling quickly the past 3 months. Why? With home prices on the rise, a decision was made not to raise unit prices to meet the rest of the housing market.
It is expected that the Bellevue Towers will completely sell out within the next month or two. A few larger units with at least 1,900 sf remain and range in price from $895,000 to $6.5 million. The towers offer more than a few amenities such as a 24/7 concierge, entertaining/board room, half acre garden, work out rooms, spa areas and a theater room with big cushy chairs to relax in.
Father’s Day is Sunday, June 16th and there are many things that kids of all ages can do with Dad on Father’s Day around the Seattle area. Spend the day at the Children’s Museum located at the Seattle Center. Dad’s and father figures are admitted free when accompanied by a child 10 years old or younger with a paid full price admission. Adults and children are $8.25 each while grandparents are $7.25 each.
If your dad loves cars he might enjoy attending one of a few car shows taking place on Father’s Day. Father’s Day Car Show in downtown Burien is from 10:00am to 4:00pm and will feature over 200 cars. Fenders on Front Street will be happening from 7:00am to 3:30pm in Issaquah.
The Museum of Flight is a great idea for the whole family to enjoy Father’s Day with dad. It is open from 10:00am to 5:00pm and offers fun and activities for all ages to enjoy. Kids can enjoy an Interactive Play Zone and in the afternoon Dad can meet famous NASA astronaut, Michael Foreman, and get his autograph.
The Washington Brewer’s Festival is Father’s Day weekend (June 14-16) at Marymoore Park in Redmond and the perfect place to take the dad who loves beer! It is open to all ages accept Friday night which is a 21+ event. Go online to purchase the best ticket prices. A three day pass costs $40 which gets you admission for all three days, a tasting cup and beer sampling tokens.
There are many things to do with Dad on Father’s Day……..Visit one of the many Seattle parks and recreational areas such as Discovery Park, take Dad to brunch at one of the many neighborhood restaurants, or a stroll downtown and a ride on the Great Wheel are great ideas as well.
Based on King and Snohomish County public records, foreclosures are slowly decreasing to normal levels while inventory rose for the second month in a row. Measured by the number of “Warranty Deeds” filed with King County, sales rose 15% from March to April and were up 28% year-over-year. In Snohomish County, sales rose 8% month-over-month and 26% from May of last year.
Foreclosures in King County fell again but were just above last year’s level. Although Snohomish County increased in foreclosures, they are still at their second-lowest level in the last 11 months.
Buyers will be happy to hear that inventory in King County rose 15.6% this year compared to 2.3% between April and May of last year. Listing fell 3.1% last year in Snohomish County. This year they were up 6.0%.
The DEA has issued a series of letters to shop owners in Washington state warning them to stop any activity involving marijuana or risk forfeiting their property and being prosecuted for illegal distribution and drug trafficking. Any one involved, business owner, property owner, property management, who is aware of activities related to distribution of an illegal substance risks being prosecuted. As of last August, 41 storefronts in the Seattle area have received letters notifying them of violations. Recreational use of marijuana is legal in Washington state as well as medicinal use but is still illegal according to federal law.
Many being affected by the letters are frustrated because the DEA can use pretty much any excuse or no excuse at all besides the fact that it is illegal to shut down a business such as being too close to a school or park. If a shop is within the allowed 1,000 feet of protected areas and if a park, school or building providing subsidized housing is built too close to a shop with marijuana, the shop is then in violation and would have to shut down. It doesn’t seem fair at all for storefront owners who, by state law, are there and operating legally but there isn’t much one can do to fight the feds and not end up in jail.
The issue will be handled on a case by case basis. It is believed that the DEA will go after larger groups trying to capitalize on the marijuana industry or people such as Jamen Shively, CEO of Diego Pellicer, Inc., who intends to become a major seller of marijuana. Marijuana is a schedule 1, illegal drug. If charged, a person will not have much of a defense and will likely go to prison.
With the housing market heating up again it has become more competitive and lenders are demanding more documentation regarding the sale process which means that as a first time buyer you want to be prepared and not have anything that can snarl the process. The following 5 steps will help a first time home buyer prepare for their first home purchase.
1. Be sure to check your credit report. Make sure that there isn’t anything that shouldn’t be on there such as paid off balances, fraudulent charges or even family members’ credit. Your credit should be as clean as possible. Pay off any and all debt possible. If you feel the need to cancel any credit cards, do so strategically. If you decide to cancel multiple credit cards in a short time period be aware that can send out red flags to lenders. The best thing to do is to close the newest cards. Lenders like to see that you have a long standing relationship with credit companies as well as have more credit available a month than what you spend. It is also a good idea to have a savings account.
2. Create a monthly budget so that you know what to expect spending wise when you buy a home. Wright down all your finances and as you save money for your first home, live as if you are making a mortgage payment so that you will be prepared spend less money once the home is bought. Be sure to stick to your budget.
3. Be sure to find a good agent to help you in the search and buying process of your first home. Your agent should be showing you homes with in your price range, listen to your wants and needs pertaining to the house, help you become a strategic bidder, guide you through the process and they should be concerned about making you happy and not solely about their commission.
4. Find a good lender. It is important to find a lender that explains all aspects of the loan to you and one that is willing to look over your credit report with you and give advice as to what you can do to improve it. Be sure to interview several lenders before choosing one and wait until you find one you are happy with before having your credit checked. It will be another red flag and bump on your credit report if it shows your credit has been checked several times within a short time period. Do not settle for what may seem like the best deal such as settling with a lending company which you found and signed up with online. You may get a good rate but when the time comes to speak with an agent you may have difficulty getting a hold of one.
5. Keep a look out for properties and be ready to make an offer. The market has become competitive and you want to be quick at making a wise and competitive offer. Don’t make large purchases such as a new car which may lower your housing budget. When you find the house you are interested in, call utility providers and ask for usage history or contact the HOA so that you are aware of the average costs of living at a certain property and you don’t end up going over budget. Remember to continue to live and spend as if you are already making house payments so that you don’t end up under budget.
Compared to cities tracked in a national index, Seattle home prices rose faster between February and March than 18 of the 19 other cities that were tracked. The 12 month rise was still within the national average. According the Standard & Poor’s/Case Shiller home price index, Seattle prices rose 3.0 percent for the month and 10.6 percent for the year.
Compared to a year ago, U.S. home prices jumped 10.9 percent in March which was the most since April 2006. More buyers are bidding on a small supply which is driving prices higher, making the market more competitive as well as improving the housing market. Phoenix had the highest annual gain with 22.5 percent followed by San Francisco with 22.2 percent and Las Vegas with 20.6 percent. New York had the smallest annual increase with only 2.6 percent.
Although the market is seeing higher gains, many home owners are not putting their homes on the market which is contributing to home prices rising and encouraging builders to heighten construction. Applications for building permits rose in April making it the highest level in close to 5 years.
According to the Puget Sound Business Journal, Benaroya Capital Co. sold the Queen Anne Marketplace, a full block retail center for $31.7 Million. Public Records have indicated that the buyer is WRI Western Queen Anne Limited Liability Co.
The Marketplace currently includes a Metropolitan Market grocery, Bartell Drug store, and a Fedex among others along Roy and Mercer Streets. The Marketplace is at the base of Queen Anne Hill, bordered by First and Warren Avenues N. For more information on Commercial Sales & leasing, visit the Puget Sound Business Journal.
According to the April Zillow Real Estate Market Reports, U.S. home value continues to climb. April was the sixth consecutive month that home values exceeded a 5 percent climb. This is the largest streak since 2006. The streak should not be expected to last. As more inventory is offered in the market some home prices will have to fall to level out with the rest. The Zillow Home Value Forecast predicts a 4 percent climb in the next year although most markets have already hit bottom.
National rents declined 2 percent in April compared to March. Demand for rental properties is still strong. Many investors are buying homes, fixing them up and turning them into rental units. Because of this, many markets are seeing less inventory and sharp home value appreciation brought on by the investors. Over the past month there has been a slight increase in inventory in some markets as more housing is constructed as well as more sellers enter the market.
Many people who sold their home in a short sale are having problems getting back in the market due to the fact that their credit reports and scores indicate that they had been foreclosed on. This is preventing many from being able to qualify for a home loan and mortgage even though they may have cleaned up their credit and have twenty percent cash aside for a down payment. How and why is this happening?
The current credit reporting system does not have a code that distinguishes a short sale from a foreclosure. The code only shows that a home was foreclosed on and not sold in a short sale. This doesn’t seem quite fair and is being investigated by the Federal Trade Commission and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla, requested that the FTC and CFPB investigate the issue and penalize any responsible parties if they do not fix the coding issue within 90 days.