Homeowners Might be Sued Over Teen Killing

Outside City Hall in Orlando, FL this weekend, many citizens mourned the death of Trayvon Martin, the 17 year old shot and killed near the Twin Lake’s Retreat. This tragedy has caused a nationwide discussion over race and the laws of self defense. Martin, a young black teenager was shot to death by George Zimmerman, the community’s crime watch program captain, on February 26th while Martin was walking back from a convenience store unarmed.

Photo Courtesy of CNN Opinion

Zimmerman is claiming self defense, saying he shot Martin after he was punched in the face, knocking him on the ground, and claiming he was attacked while on the ground afterwards.

Those who might be charged with the final price of the murder are the homeowners of the retreat at Twin Lakes, as it is highly likely that Martin’s family will sue the community’s Homeowner’s Association and property management company, after the way the watch program has handled and operated the case. This case has been a tragedy for people in the community close to Martin, as well as people all over the nation following the case closely, and has also been an eye opener for those seeking or currently working with a property management company. The importance of finding a well established company, such as Ewing and Clark in Seattle, with an honorary track record for your homeowner’s association has been brought the attention of many, and is now more important than ever. For more information on the case, please visit the Seattle Times.

Martin Selig plans New Office Space by Sculpture Park

Veteran Seattle developer Martin Selig has new plans to build a four story office building near the Olympic Sculpture Park downtown. Selig ditched his original plans to build an 8 story apartment building on the site, due to the influx of apartments being constructed all over town. According to the Seattle Times, Selig said, “When I see this many apartments getting developed, it scares me.” There have been more than 6,000 apartments currently being built in the King & Snohomish counties, with thousands more planned. In the past 20 years, there hasn’t been much multifamily building, and some researchers are starting to think the market for apartments could be overconstructed.

Martin Selig’s property near the sculpture park on 3031 Western Avenue is currently a two story garage. Selig has toyed with several plans for reconstruction for the past 30 years, including a luxury apartment complex, a 7 story office building, and an 8 story apartment building. Selig said his current plans to opt out of the apartment plans were based entirely on the market; and neighboring tenants did not want a high rise blocking their view of the Sculpture Park.

HUD Explains Why the Mortgage Settlement is a Fair Deal

Earlier this month, the $25 Billion  mortgage settlement aiming to aid one million homeowners was announced to the public, addressing the concerns of many homeowners. The settlement will force the banks to reduce principal balances, refinance loans and provide billions of dollars across the states for other forms of relief for consumers. Many have raised the concern that the $2,000 offered to roughly 750,000 homeowners just isn’t enough. But the US Department of Housing and Urban Development has addressed these concerns, by stating: That isn’t what these payments are about. These payments are holding lenders and services accountable for the ill treatment of several homeowners.

When HUD initiated a wide spread review, their results showed that some homeowners who were barely 30 days behind on their mortgage, hadn’t received a call from their lender providing alternative options. Many lenders didn’t offer anything in reciprocation when borrowers lost their jobs, or had a medical crisis. In retrospect, HUD came to find that many borrowers who shouldn’t have ran into trouble, and who should have received help early on in the process to avoid this outcome, did not receive the guidance banks were legally obligated to provide them. The $2,000 payments will be given to those who received this kind of service from their bank, were charged for services they shouldn’t have been, or lost paperwork and didn’t receive help with their mortgage. For those who improperly lost their homes in foreclosure, the settlement could come to their aid in additional forms, if eligible. Up to 4.3 Million homeowners have the chance to request an independent review of their foreclosure. For an extended description of their statement, watch Shaun Donovan’s explanation on CNN Money.

Amazon to Move in on Clise Properties Downtown

There have been rumors circulating that Amazon is looking into purchasing some of the Clise family’s properties in the Denny Way triangle. The deal has been kept very quiet and few knowledgeable Real Estate sources have even heard explicit details on how much they’re planning on sweeping; if they’re planning to purchase at all. Amazon is quickly growing out of their South Lake Union headquarters, and is said to need an additional 2 million square feet over the next five years. With the company expanding in a tight knit area like SLU, moving into a different neighborhood would make sense, as it can be difficult to purchase connecting properties and prices will have skyrocketed because seller’s know they’re in high demand. The Clise properties are near Amazon’s South Lake Union campus, in areas like Queen Anne, Capitol Hill, and Belltown. Sweeping up larger properties in other neighborhoods would certainly gentrify the area; Amazon has totally changed the vibe of South lake Union, with new swanky restaurants, and high end amenities.

Bills, Bills, Bills

King County recently announced that property tax bills are in, and have been sent out for the first half of 2012. Payments are due April 30th and the 2nd half will be due in the fall no later than October 31st.

 The value of homes has dropped in almost every nook of the county, with the exception of the Wallingford & Phinney Ridge areas which actually increased in value. The biggest drops were present in Burien, Redondo, and Algona areas around King County, among others. For information on how the taxes are calculated, and ways to pay your taxes, visit the county website.

Seattle Apartment Rental Market is Hot

Seattle ApartmentsThat’s a good thing if you are landlord and not if you are a Seattle renter.  The article, Hot Apartment Market Settles in For a While, in the Seattle Times gives the details, but basically with less people owning their homes the demand is going up for Seattle apartments.  At the same time, while more apartments are being built it is not as many as were built in the past.  According to the graphs on the article (see picture 3 of 3) vacancy in King county apartments is down to 4.3% from 6.8% two years ago.  In the same time period, average rent has gone from $1,015 to $1,045.

To get more details, read the article by clicking the link above.  It is interesting article if you are looking for a Seattle rental or if you are a landlord.

Seattle + Real Estate News

Downtown Seattle

I noticed a lot of interesting news about the Seattle real estate market.

Seattle Commercial Real Estate News:  Saw this article in the Puget Sound Business Journal.  There is a crunch for lab space in the Seattle real estate market.  This flies in the face of Downtown Seattle having been over built commercially, but as the article explains that Lake Union is really desirable for this type of user, and the renters are looking for smaller spaces (5,000 to 10,000 sq ft) which is hard to find.  One building mentioned is the Gates Foundation building that will be vacated when the Gates Foundation moves into their new buildings across from the Seattle Center.

Residential Real Estate News:  I saw this short article on Business Week about home prices falling in major cities.  The article said the prices dropped from October to November in 19 out of 20 cities in the Standard & Poor’s/Case-Shiller index.  They mentioned Seattle home prices were at a low since the bubble, but I hope to write a blog later about Seattle real estate still being in better shape than most cities.

Federal Way Property Management News:  Interesting story about Wild Waves.  The former owner of Wild Waves and Enchanted Village, Jeff Stock, who sold the parks in 2000 will manage the property and business under his company NorPoint Entertainment for the current owners, CNL Lifestyle Properties.   Mr. Stock sold the property to Six Flags in 2000 who sold the property to CNL Lifestyle Properties in 2007.