Two Seattle High Rise Buildings Under Design Review

 

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Photo Courtesy of the Daily Journal of Commerce

Two new proposals for towers under review in Seattle’s downtown core. According to the Daily Journal of Commerce, design review meetings have been set for the towers, the first a 39 story residential tower located at 1613 2nd Avenue, and the second a 40 story mixed-use building at 970 Denny Way. The Wood Partners are interested in building the 39 story tower on 2nd Ave, and have listed 1,000 planned sq ft of street level retail space, as well as parking designated for 140 stalls, four levels below ground, and 6 levels above ground. An early review meeting is scheduled for this project on January 20th at 7pm, in Seattle City Hall.

Holland Partner Group is also planning a 400 ft building at the intersection of Denny Way and Terry Avenue North. The design plans include 500 residential units, 17,000 sf of retail space and 450 parking stalls. For more information on Seattle Real Estate, contact your local real estate agent today.

Want To Sell For More Than Asking? List In The Winter

broadview homewwDespite the long-held idea that winter is the slow season for residential real estate, new data based on a two-year study by Redfin shows that December through March could actually be the prime window for selling your home – and selling it quickly for more than your asking price. Surprisingly, Redfin says that February is the month to list if you’re looking to sell fast, as 66 percent of homes listed in February have historically sold in 90 days or fewer. Hoping for a multiple-offer situation that nets you more than your listing price? Try December. In 2012, the month of December saw the highest percentage of sales fetching prices over asking for the whole year. Redfin found that in many cities, including Seattle, sellers are most likely to sell their homes within 180 days if they list in the winter.

So, why, after years of preaching spring and summer as home-run months for sellers, has the tide turned toward winter? Nela Richardson, chief economist for Redfin, lists a couple of reasons why listing in the winter can work to your advantage. She stated in an article that while there may be fewer people overall shopping for homes in the winter, the ones who are out there looking are serious buyers. People who are casually searching for a home are most likely not going to brave the cold weather or disrupt busy holiday schedules to attend multiple open houses, so sellers are left with only the most motivated buyers.

Similarly, since summer has historically been considered the blockbuster season for selling, winter sellers generally have less competition. Those who are nervous about letting their home sit on the market all winter may pull it off the market, leaving one less home to compete with yours. So, if you’re planning on selling your home but were holding off on listing it until warmer months, it could be worth moving up your timeline to get it on the market sooner. If you are interested in selling your home in the Seattle area, contact your local real estate agent today!

60 Percent Fewer Underwater Mortgages In Seattle Than In 2012

Photo Courtesy of Istock Photo

Photo Courtesy of Istock Photo

Over the past two years, 7 million homeowners in the U.S. have come back above water on their mortgages, finally gaining positive equity in their homes after the recession left many owing more than their home was worth.Though there are more than 100,000 people who remain underwater on their mortgages in Seattle, the current negative equity rate of 16.2 percent is down from its peak of nearly 40 percent, and is projected to fall to 13.3 percent in 2015. This should mean that the market sees an increase in available homes for sale, as more owners who were previously sitting on inventory waiting to build their equity back up are now in a position to sell. If you are interested in buying or selling a home in the Seattle area, contact your local real estate agent today.

 

Chinese Buyers Big Players In Seattle Real Estate – And Getting Bigger

bellevue homePeople from China bought more than $2 billion in residential real estate in the Puget Sound area in 2013, and it doesn’t appear that that number will be decreasing anytime soon, according to a new report by the Puget Sound Business Journal. Chinese buyers are lured here by our clean air and good schools, and by the fact that they are able to buy a large home here for the same price that a small condo would cost in Beijing or Shanghai.

Tere Foster, a residential agent with Windermere, told the PSBJ that while many Chinese buyers buy homes here to use as their residence, many also buy them simply as part of an investment portfolio and let them sit vacant. Chinese investor groups have also been getting in on the commercial market in the past several years, having bought the First Congregational Church property in Bellevue for $30 million, and another Bellevue development site for $31 million. Many transactions, for sales of both residential and commercial properties, are being conducted in all cash, making closings much quicker than those involving financing, an obvious incentive for sellers.

Local brokerages are fully embracing the influx from East Asia, hiring Mandarin-speaking agents and forming divisions specifically to serve Chinese buyers. PSBJ cites a statistic from the National Association of Realtors that says there are more than 2 million millionaires in China, 47 percent of whom plan to move out of China within the next five years, meaning that the flow from China to Seattle has most likely just begun.

Insurance Tips For First TIme Home Buyers

Searching for a home can be a job in and of itself, and home insurance often gets lost in translation of the to-do list for first time home buyers. There are so many factors to consider in the home search,  such as choosing the right mortgage company, and real estate agent. Finding the right home insurance, and factoring it into your home buying budget should also be a top priority. Our friends over at Zillow have put together great guidelines and insider insurance tips for first time home buyers. Here are some of the key take-aways: 1910 NW 100th St-6

Do your research, and shop around for the best rate between insurance carriers. You might be able to save yourself hundreds of dollars just by comparing a few different companies.

Your credit score matters – not just for your mortgage rate, but also for your insurance. Insurance companies utilize your credit report to determine the level of risk you’d be as a new policyholder. If you’re shopping for a home, you’re probably already making moves to improve your credit, but its important to know that your credit is also important in achieving an affordable insurance rate.

Consult with your current auto insurance or boat insurance company to discuss bundling options. You can often save on your premium by utilizing the same company for home and auto insurance.

Invest in substantial coverage plans. While you don’t want to overspend, home owner’s insurance is also something you don’t want to hold back on.  Be sure your policy covers your home from weather risks common to your area, and be sure your dwellings coverage is substantial enough to cover the structure of your home incase of serious damage or destruction. If you’re looking for a new home, and would like some inside knowledge on the Seattle real estate scene, contact your local real estate agent today.

Tips For Keeping Your Home Warm – And Efficient – This Winter

EC3Though truly cold weather is rare in Seattle, the seemingly constant rain and early sunsets of winter often make us Northwest residents want to hibernate inside until the (somewhat) drier, warmer spring months. Although holing up in a cozy, warm house may seem appealing, it can also result in an outsized energy bill. But there are several simple steps you can take to maximize your home’s energy efficiency in the colder months.

According to HouseLogic, the average homeowner wastes nearly $350 per year on heat that escapes through leaks around doors and windows, attics, gaps around recessed lights, and other poorly sealed openings. They suggest caulking and installing weatherstripping around windows and doors, installing “baffles” around recessed lights that are not airtight (look for a label on your light indicating that it is ICAT – Insulation Contact and Airtight), sealing cracks around pull-down attic stairs or hatches, and caulking the area where the framing meets the foundation in your home’s basement.

Though we all love the look and ambiance of a traditional wood-burning fireplace, they tend to let warm air that’s already inside your home out through the chimney. HouseLogic suggests using a gel fireplace insert, which is both eco-friendly, as it produces no smoke, and efficient, as there is no chimney where warm air can escape.

Spending the majority of your time indoors during the winter can also make you feel sluggish, especially if your home has a lack of natural light. Remove screens from your windows to let more light in, make sure lightbulbs are dust-free (cleaning bulbs alone can make homes appear 30 percent brighter), and if you have rooms that are particularly dark, consider painting them a warm orange or yellow to brighten them up. Additionally, indoor plants improve air quality and add a natural element to your home.

If you are interested in real estate in the Seattle area, contact your local real estate agent today.

October Trends: Higher Appreciation, More Homes Sold

broadview homewwAfter months of single-family home prices in the U.S. growing by smaller and smaller percentages on a yearly basis, the market finally looks to be back on the rise. Prices in October grew by 6.1 percent compared to the previous October, whereas year-over-year gains for September were 5.6 percent, according to new data released by CoreLogic. They report that all states in the U.S. saw some percentage of yearly appreciation in October.

But despite this recent uptick, Sam Khater, deputy chief economist at CoreLogic, said in a statement that prices are only growing by half the pace they were in the spring of 2014, when the market was seeing double-digit growth. However, some markets such as Seattle and Denver are seeing higher appreciation than the rest of the country.

Nationally, the number of homes sold in October increased by 2.2 percent from October 2013. Redfin attributes the jump to low mortgage rates that are hovering below 4 percent, a drop in unemployment, slowing home-price growth, and higher median wages. They point out that median incomes increased in all but one (Orlando) of the markets that saw the biggest year-over-year jump in sales. Though Seattle was toward the bottom of the list, with only a 2.6 percent jump in number of homes sold (as a comparison, Tampa, Fla. saw a 19.7 percent increase) and only 1.9 percent more homes newly listed for sale, any increase is welcome in our market, which has seen extremely low inventory over the past year.

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

Tis the Season: Top Reasons to Buy During the Holidays

Although sales are historically down during the last few months of every year, there are certainly some noteworthy perks to the home search during the holiday season. Here are a few reasons a new home should be on your wish list for Santa this year. 812 W Galer

Did you know home prices are generally listed lower in December, than they are throughout the rest of the year? There are several reasons for home affordability increasing this month, and low mortgage rates is another factor in your favor. Mortgage rates are around or just under 4%, and according to Zillow estimates, are expected to jump to 5% by this time next year. If you wait just one more year to purchase the same home, your monthly mortgage payment could increase significantly. This isn’t to say that you should buy a home now if you’re not ready; buying a home is a huge commitment, and  knowing when you’re ready and able to purchase is essential. It is also worth noting that if Seller’s are listing their home during the holidays, they are usually very serious about selling their home. Maybe they recently received a new job and need to relocate before the end of the year. Their lack of time is your gain – and you can also lower your tax bill for the year if you close on your new home by Dec 31st. For more information on homes for sale in the Seattle area, contact your local real estate agent today.