July showed a glimmer hope for most major U.S. cities as Standard & Poor’s/Case-Shiller index revealed home prices were up in the month of July from the previous month. The median increase was 0.9 percent, how Seattle prices rose a more meager 0.1 percent. However, statistics were down in comparison to those from the same time last year. Despite slow growth, any increase is a good one. For more information, please refer to this article from The Seattle Times.
The PacMad building on Beacon Hill (the one that looks like it’s straight out of a haunted hospital horror film) is known to most as the former Amazon headquarters. Since Amazon left in May of this year, the building has remained mostly vacant, leaving the developer without income and facing foreclosure. The Developer Wright Runstad, defaulted in August on the loan the $23 million loan from Credit Suisse, and now the lender is taking steps to foreclose. Wright Runstad began hunting for an Amazon.com replacement when they learned the company would be moving to South Lake Union back in 2007, but are still searching for prospective tenants. The building was recently appraised for $11.3 million, about a third of what the appraisal was back in 2000 when the loan was issued. Wright Runstad still owes $20.5 million on the building. For more information, please see the full article at The Seattle Times website.
The foreclosure listing firm, RealtyTrac Inc. reported this month that the number of homeowners receiving default notices increased by 33% in August from the month before. The increase was the biggest monthly jump RealtyTrac has seen in the past four years. RealtyTrac Inc. reported that banks are beginning to speed up the process, which could mean that the housing market is turning around. Experts believe this turn-around won’t happen until foreclosure processes finish and the number of foreclosed homes begin to drop. For more information, please refer to this Seattle Times article.
Construction is set to begin on a new residential/retail complex in the CenturyLink Field parking lot, reported the Seattle Times this week. The developer, Daniels Real Estate and partner R.D. Merrill plan for 700 apartments and over 400,000 sf of retail space. The first phase is building 444 apartments in two buildings will displace almost 500 parking spots used by CenturyLink Field visitors. The project was initially halted due to issues over how to replace the parking spots, but an agreement was reached this week pushing the project into the initial steps of the first phase. The displaced parking will now be in Metro transit employee parking garage on 6th and South Royal Brougham Way, which the developer will pay $10 million for. Check out the full Seattle Times article for more information on the North Lot project.
The long unfinished condominium project, Volta, on 1st and Bell Street in Belltown, was resold to Connell Real Estate & Development of New Jersey this month. The Volta complex was repossessed after the developer defaulted on a construction loan. Lender East West Bank put the property on the market for sale earlier this year. The 34-unit building sold for $8 million. See the full Seattle Times report here.
Construction for the new apartment complex Cooper at Youngstown in West Seattle is set to begin in a couple of weeks. The developer, Legacy Partners Residential, plans for a 5-story building with 182 bigger-than-average units. Legacy Partners Residential hopes to accommodate the many couples looking to rent in West Seattle. The building, at 4040 Twenty-Sixth will fill a once vacant and abandoned parking lot. An estimated completion date is set for spring of 2013. Please visit the official Facebook page for more information.
A Seattle Times article published this week revealed that 2011 home sales are picking up in comparison to data from last year. The Northwest Multiple Listing Service released statistics on Tuesday showing a 35 percent increase in August home sales from the same time last year. However, prices remain relatively flat with a median price $350,000. The statistics were limited to King County. For more information, please view the full article.
Residential sales are hot in Seattle. For example, this King 5 article says this about the increase for multiple offers on Seattle homes:
According to Redfin’s data, multiple offer situations grew from 23.6 percent in the second quarter to 27.4 so far in the third quarter. In the hottest Seattle neighborhoods – Northeast Seattle, Capitol Hill-Montlake and Ballard-Green Lake – multiple offers jumped from between 30 and 35 percent to 45 and 50 percent. In Ballard, it jumped 51.4 percent.
This article from Komo News mentions low interest rates as one of the reasons the Seattle real estate market is so hot.
This articles seems to indicate that buyers have the upper hand based on a study. The article is not totally contradictory to the previous two articles, but it does take a different spin.
A lot of major Seattle commercial real estate is changing hands in the last month. A good thing for a lot of people, but one that often gets forgotten is the local government which raise a lot of tax dollars when real estate changes hands.
Starbucks recently sold two office building in Pioneer Square for a combine $124.8 million. The properties were acquired by Spear Street Capitol based in San Francisco.
As I blogged this past May, Seattle’s Schnitzer West had two of their office buildings in the Denny Triangle for sale. Schnitzer recently sold the two Seattle office towers, 1918 Eight Ave and 818 Stewart St, for $480 million. JP Morgan Asset Management acquired the property. The deal was the biggest office transaction on the West Coast in 2011.
Westlake Center office tower in Downtown Seattle recently sold to the Teachers Insurance Annuity Association of America for $119.4 million. The sale was for the 21-story office tower and did not include the four story Westlake mall in which the tower is connected.