Downtown Seattle New Condo Prices Down 8% Since May

Downtown condoOne look at the glut of new towers rising in downtown Seattle and one could think condos are having their heyday. But it turns out most of those cranes on the horizon are giving rise to office towers and apartment buildings, with only one condo tower, Insignia, currently under construction downtown. Among new (never before sold) condo units that are on the market, prices have also fallen 8 percent from their peak in May, according to the Daily Journal of Commerce.

Prices did rise slightly from August to September (2 percent), and year over year (up 3 percent from September 2013), but are still falling short of the May peak, when the average price per square foot was $775. In September, the average sold price per square foot for a new condo was $716.

According to the Puget Sound Business Journal, condo construction is expected to pick up in 2015, in part due to the fact that 170 of the first 350 units at Insignia have already sold, giving condo developers confidence that the demand will keep up with supply. It remains to be seen what effect an increased number of units will have on prices.

If you are interested in purchasing a condo 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.

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.

SDOT Program To Address Construction ‘Hubs’

constructionThese days in Seattle it seems like there’s a construction project on every other block, and it’s not far from the truth. In June alone, there were 100 projects either under construction, permitted or recently completed in downtown Seattle, and the city has identified seven other hubs in Ballard, Capitol Hill, West Seattle, South Lake Union, the central Waterfront, Denny Triangle, and the north end of the Alaskan Way viaduct where there are large concentrations of construction projects in the works.

With construction come the inevitable road and sidewalk closures, and without adequate coordination among projects these areas can become a nightmare to navigate for pedestrians, cyclists and drivers. The Seattle Department of Transportation has formed the Construction Hub Coordination Program in order to do just that – act as the coordinator between these projects and everyone who is affected by them. According to the Daily Journal of Commerce, SDOT will be identifying scheduling conflicts between projects, creating a mapping system, responding to complaints and other issues in real time, providing on-site enforcement, and generally opening lines of communication between all parties involved.

The goal of the program is to proactively address problems related to this high rate of growth and to lessen impact on commuters and businesses in these hubs. If you would like more information on real estate in Seattle, contact your local real estate agent today.

UW Planning 50-Story Tower In Prime Downtown Location

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The Columbia Center tower could have some competition as the dominating presence in Seattle’s skyline in near future, as the University of Washington’s Board of Regents has approved plans for a 50-story office/apartment/retail/hotel complex that would share a block with the iconic Rainier Tower on the UW-owned Metropolitan Tract of land downtown, according to The Seattle Times.

UW is working with developer Wright Runstad & Co. to develop the complex, which would rise to 795 feet, making it the second tallest tower in the city behind the Columbia Center tower at 937 feet. The tower will house 30,000 square feet of street-level retail, 750,000 square feet of office space and at least 182 apartments, while a 15-story luxury hotel will sit beside it in a separate building. The unique shape of the tower, which consists of a wide base of 33,000 square feet and tapers to just 15,000 square feet at the top, was conceived so it wouldn’t block views of and from the Rainier Tower, which has occupied its precarious-looking pedestal since 1978. The complex will replace the Rainier Square retail mall.

The university has owned the 10.7-acre Metropolitan Tract, which comprises most of the blocks bordered by Union and Seneca streets and 3rd and 5th avenues (where its original campus was located before moving to its current location in 1895) for more than a century, and is hoping a new 80-year ground lease will increase its earnings from the tract to about $4 million per year, up from the $1.5 million it’s making from the current lease on the Rainier Square property.

While the university’s deadline for beginning construction on the complex is 2021, Wright Runstad is hoping to begin as soon as the second half of 2015.

 

Site Near Pike Place Sells For $16 Million, 400-ft Tower Planned

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The Seattle skyline is about to welcome its newest addition – a 400-foot residential tower that is planned for the development site at 2nd Avenue and Virginia Street that Bellevue’s Continental Properties bought for $16 million on Thursday.

According to an article in the Puget Sound Business Journal, it is unknown whether the 324 residential units will be condos or apartments, and there is no definite timeline for construction, yet. Continental Properties also built the Metropolitan Tower Apartments at Seventh and Westlake, and the Cosmopolitan Tower Condominiums at Ninth Avenue and Virginia. According to the PSBJ article, the site, which is one block east of Pike Place Market and is at the highest point in Belltown, is one of the last prime development sites downtown.

Breaking It Down: How Much Are Real Estate Transaction Fees?

While beginning the home search, many prospective buyers believe that real estate transaction costs are only the 3-6% commission, but the actual cost of selling a home are much higher. To avoid recurring transaction costs, here is a comprehensive estimate of this breakdown: bellevue home

If you bought a home for $200,000 five years ago, let’s say you put 10% ($20,000) down, and you’re left with a $180,000 mortgage. Now you plan on selling the property for $235,000. Agent commission will likely be 5-6% and cost about $13,000, Escrow costs will be roughly $1,000, title insurance will run $600, and you might want to allot $2,500 for repairs to the home before putting it on the market. The total transaction cost will likely be around 10% of the sale price, and it’s also important to consider the current equity you have on your home which is the difference between $235,000 and your mortgage balance of $180,000. If you take into account what you’re paying in transaction fees, you are eliminating nearly 30% of the equity you had accumulated, which is why ideally it makes sense to hold onto real estate for longer periods of time. If you are interested in selling your Seattle home, contact your local real estate agent for more information today.

Seattle Approves 30 Story Tower Downtown

8th and columbia tower

Last week, the City of Seattle approved plans to build a 30 story residential tower on the corner of 8th & Columbia Street. The proposal includes a tower with 287 studio, 1 and 2 bedroom units, 234 parking stalls and a lobby. According to the Seattle Pi, Seattle architecture firm Weber Thompson designed the building for the developer Alecta. For more information on the building, find the building proposal submission to the City of Seattle here.

UW Plans for Redeveloping Rainier Square

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Some may not know that the University of Washington is one of Seattle’s largest land owners in the city. UW owns Rainier Square and plans to make changes soon. They have reached out to at least four developers, 2 local and 2 national, and have asked them to come up with ideas to redesign the properties. The developers have until the end of the month to submit their proposals, UW will then choose one in November. UW hopes to begin the redevelopments in a year.

Stanford Hotels Bought Downtown Lot for $16.75M

1903 5th ave

San Francisco’s Stanford Hotels Corp. is buying a downtown Seattle development site for a whopping $16.75 million dollars! According to the Puget Sound Business Journal, the price that the Hotel folks are forking over is significantly less than the $30 million that the previous New York Group had paid for it back in 2007 (and has since lost in foreclosure) but is also almost twice the offer another company previously offered for the lot. The lot is located at 1903 Fifth Avenue, across from the Westin Seattle, and Stanford has declined to comment on any future plans for the lot at this time. According to the PSBJ, Stanford is also planning a 15 story hotel at 300 Terry Ave N in South Lake Union. There were a number of offers for the property which was originally listed in 2012 at $7.5M, but the finally selling price clearly indicated that Seattle is a highly sought after marketplace for development sites.