Seattle Home-Price Growth Slowed In January

1910 NW 100th St-6S&P/Case-Shiller released its housing numbers for January on Tuesday, and while Seattle’s home-price index is up 6.8 percent over the year, it saw a slight drop of 0.5 percent over the month. By comparison, both 10-city and 20-city indexes grew by slower yearly rates of 4.4 percent and 4.6 percent respectively, but decreased by only 0.1 percent over the month. Of all the cities in the index, San Francisco saw the largest monthly decrease of 0.9 percent.

Prices are still rising, but are rising at a slower rate. According to The Seattle Times, the average price for a single-family home in King, Snohomish, and Pierce counties was up 0.7 percent from December, whereas prices grew by 1.4 percent from November to December 2014. David Blitzer, managing director and chairman of the S&P/Dow Jones index committee stated in a press release that the housing market is currently relatively strong due to low interest rates, strong job growth, and low oil prices, but that stagnant wage growth could lead to an eventual downturn.

“Home prices are rising roughly twice as fast as wages, putting pressure on potential homebuyers and heightening the risk that any uptick in interest rates could be a major setback,” Blitzer said in the release. He also noted that new home starts are at rates normally seen during a recession.

While the median home price in Seattle is still 12 percent below its 2007 peak, prices have bounced back to spring 2006 levels, according to the Times, and they reported that Zillow records the median home value for all three counties at $358,200.

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

The Seattle Times To Host Forum On Affordable Housing

seattle nowWith home prices and rents in Seattle continually rising, housing affordability has been a hot topic among residents, city council members, and the media alike. On March 31, The Seattle Times’ business reporter Sanjay Bhatt will host a forum addressing how wages, policy, and costs intersect to create Seattle’s complex and ever-changing housing landscape. The event, titled “Priced Out: The Struggle for an Affordable Seattle”, is free, but space is limited, so make sure to register in advance if you’d like to attend.

The event’s featured speakers include Skylar Olsen, chief economist at Zillow; David Rolf, president of Service Employees International Union 775; Jake McKinstry, principal at Spectrum Development Solutions; and Nela Richardson, chief economist at Redfin.

Event Details: “Priced Out: The Struggle for an Affordable Seattle”

Location: Kane Hall at the University of Washington, 4069 Spokane Ln.

Date: Tuesday, March 31

Time 6:30-8:00 p.m.

Register here: http://livewire.seattletimes.com/

No Horsing Around – Union Stables Restored

TUNE, architecture firm Weinstein A+U, and joint owner of the building, general contractor Lease Crutcher Lewis will take up the ole’ nine to five in arguably one of the coolest workspaces in Seattle. Once housing over 300 horses, employees of TUNE, Weinstein A+U, and Lewis will be the first human tenants to move into the building.

An ode to Seattle’s pioneering days, the landmark building was used as a livery stable, housing horses used for deliveries and to pull streetcars. Once considered the most modern building west of the Mississippi, the building has seen fires, earthquakes and was the scene of a major Prohibition raid back in 1923.

Paying respects to the building’s rich history, Lewis persevered and reused 127,000 board feet of lumber and milled old beams from the original building turning them into flooring and other materials. Additionally he reused every single road brick, as road brick is no longer available. Timber chewed and rubbed on by the horses can be seen throughout the build, as well as a large V-shaped hay cart which will be hung in the lobby of the building as “a nice little reminder of what the building was like..,” Dave Rauma, Lewis senior project manager said, according to the Puget Sound Business Journal.

Offering exposed beams, bike storage, and a green roof on part of the building, the renovation hits a sweet balance in paying homage to the past while setting an energy conscious precedent for the future. Going beyond the boundaries of the building, thinking of our carbon footprint, Lewis anticipates the green roof to be certified LEED gold, and hopes to outfit his office at the highest LEED certification, LEED platinum. It seems this waterfront building has jumped leaps and bounds ahead of its time and is quickly becoming more legendary than its historic past. With the tone set, let’s hope to see some legendary business for the companies settling in.

Union Stables Building

2200 Western Ave.

Seattle, WA 98121

Tips to Help You Save For a Down Payment

Cutting back on that daily latte, or happy hour with coworkers might help you save a few bucks, but if you’re saving for a down payment, you’ll need to make some larger lifestyle changes in order to help you save the fund you need. The market is improving, and with fixed mortgage payments, buying a home is slowing becoming even more affordable than renting in some area of the US. Here are a few tips you can implement to help you successfully save for your new home.  Renter Postcard 6 mo

Automate your savings contributions. Contact your bank and auto-deposit a fixed amount into your savings every month. Most people can deposit 2% of their income without even noticing a significant difference, and it can accumulate a significant amount over time. Reduce your large expenses month to month. If you live in a two bedroom apartment, consider getting a roommate to cut your costs in half, or move to a cheaper area to reduce your monthly rent. Consider saving a large portion of your tax return. The average tax refund in 2014 was $3,116, and while it might be tempting to splurge and treat yourself, it might be beneficial to deposit a large chunk of that directly into your down payment savings. Making at least one or two of these changes could help you reach your savings goal, and for more information on the Seattle real estate market, contact your local real estate agent today!

Seattle Home Prices Up 6 Percent Over The Year

housing statsThe local housing market continues to grow on a yearly basis, with prices for single-family homes in November 2014 having risen by 6 percent over November 2013, but the market also saw slowing monthly growth for the third month in a row, according to the S&P/Case-Shiller home price index released Tuesday. Despite the slowdown, Zillow’s Chief Economist Stan Humphries told The Seattle Times that the Seattle area’s housing prospects for 2015 are still strong, and the slowdown represents merely the market settling back in to normal levels. The Seattle market continues to outperform both the 20-city index and the national market, which saw annual growth rates of 4.3 percent and 4.7 percent respectively. Rates for 30-year fixed mortgages have held steady over the past week at 3.58 percent.

Lake Union Floating Home Available For $1.7M

houseboat

This houseboat on Lake Union in the Eastlake marina has off street parking and is now listed for $1,795,000! With a scenic setting, this home offers fine design, amenities, convenience & a  once in a lifetime unique lifestyle opportunity. Solarium with garden space, dining room, living room and sauna. Features include a King size master bedroom with a five piece master bath that is finished with Carrera marble. Rooftop deck & largest floating deck in the complex, with city and Gas Works views, moorage, storage, air conditioning, 1 garage stall,  and one uncovered parking stall. For more information on this or other Seattle real estate listings, contact your local real estate agent today.

Status: For Sale
Bed//Bath: 3/1.75
Price: $1,795,000

Tips For Purchasing a Home in 2015

Many homeowners will tell you that they entered and exited the real estate market several times before making the final offer and closing on their home. As a buyer, you’re not always tied down to a time frame, priorities might shift and unexpected things happen that could delay purchasing a home. The beginning of a new year is a great time to review your goals and resolutions for the year ahead, so if you’ve been thinking about buying a home, and want 2015 to be the year you take the plunge, here are a few tips to help you stay afloat in today’s marketplace. 1910 NW 100th St-6

Prospective buyers are usually shopping online, and reviewing several of their dream listings at home, researching the mortgage process, and trying to grasp the local market. Serious buyers partner up with a real estate agent well versed in the neighborhoods, and can walk them through the home buying process. Agents have completed many transactions, and will have the knowledge and experience to put you one step ahead. It also helps to stop thinking that you’re going to get a great deal on your dream home. The great Seattle marketplace is competitive, with low inventory and a growing number of serious buyers, so if you’re truly interested in buying you might want to stop hunting for a bargain. Making a low ball offer on a home when you’re first entering the buying process might seem ideal to test the waters, but it might also sabotage your offer, and lose you a home. Your agent can help you determine a fair offer, and ultimately help you find listings that match your criteria. Every buyer has a unique set of goals and needs, so contact your local real estate agent today to get started on the home buying process.

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.

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.