Apartment Developer Takes Over Central District Park Space

Yet another Seattle apartment building is in development, and this time it is taking over what could have been a small neighborhood park in the Central District. According to the Puget Sound Business Journal, Spectrum Development Solutions bought the property located at 1023 E Alder Street for just over $2.2 million, and plans to build an 84 unit apartment building on the land. The City Parks department had attempted to absolve the property for a pocket park, in a neighborhood which currently only has one small open space, Horiuchi Park. central district park

Spectrum has since received the nod of approval from Ed Murray to move forward with the building development, squashing further disputes between Spectrum and the City Parks Department. In an area that could use more open spaces, the Central District currently has 3 apartment projects planned by Spectrum in various phases of development, but this is certainly becoming commonplace around other urban areas of the city. More people are moving in, and new housing options are needed to accommodate population growth. One of the goals presented by the City is to have two acres of parks in this area by 2024, stay tuned for further updates. For more information on Seattle real estate, contact your local real estate agent today.

Number Of Single-Family Homes Declining In Many Neighborhoods

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The single-family house is still at the top of many home buyers’ lists when searching for a property to buy, but the influx of condominiums and townhouses in many of Seattle’s most popular neighborhoods is further decreasing the supply of stand-alone homes in a market where inventory is already tight.

According to a Seattle Times analysis of census data from 2000-2012, the number of single-family homes has decreased most significantly in North Seattle neighborhoods such as Wallingford, Green Lake, Maple Leaf, and Northgate, as well as in the area surrounding Dexter Avenue North on the east side of Queen Anne above South Lake Union. However, South End neighborhoods such as Jefferson Park on Beacon Hill, Mount Baker, and South Park all saw increases in single-family homes in the same time span.

In a market that has seen prices soaring and bidding wars erupting over the small supply of single-family homes that are available, this is not encouraging news for buyers looking to live in neighborhoods where many multifamily developments are in the works. The city has added 5,000 net single-family homes since 2000, but with 80,000 new residents having moved to Seattle since then, that barely makes a dent in terms of demand. To see the Times’ detailed map of single-family home inventory, click here.

If you would like more information about buying a home in the Seattle area, contact your local real estate agent today.

Monthly Condo Market Recap: Activity is Strong

The first half of 2014 has proven to be very active in the condo market.  The stats for the first 6 months reflect a very active time with successful closings. The number of active listings in the Downtown and Belltown neighborhoods rose each month.  There were 91 active listings in these neighborhoods in January.  It rose to 107 in February, 113 in March, 116 for the months of April & May and has increased to 130 active listings in June.  This shows that Spring is definitely the most popular time to put a home on the market. The number of sales per month also steadily rose over the past 6 months.  Downtown condo

There were 23 closed sales in January, 38 in February, 43 in March, 54 in April, 59 in May and then dropped slightly back down to 49 in June. The median sales price in these neighborhoods ranged from $405,000 to $549,500 per month.  The highest median sales prices were in February at $549,500. Some would say it is definitely a seller’s market right now.  Homes in good condition and priced to sell are going fast!  Many units are seeing bidding wars and selling within days of being listed.  The comparison of the list price to the sell price was 98.3% in January and was 99% from February thru April. It is important for condo sales to be successful that their HOA is managed well and they are properly funded. For more information on condo sales or condo management please contact your local condo management team today.

Median Home Price In Seattle Surpasses 2007 Peak

housing marketIt has finally happened – Seattle’s median home price has officially topped its 2007 peak, the Northwest Multiple Listing Service is reporting. The median price now stands at $543,500, significantly more than the $501,000 peak of 2007, and nearly $80,000 higher than the median in July 2013 of $465,000.

Seattle’s market appears to be recovering by leaps and bounds compared to the national market, where the median price for homes in the top 20 markets is still 18 percent below the the peak set in 2006. J. Lennox Scott, the CEO of John L. Scott Real Estate told The Seattle Times that the major factors boosting our housing market are jobs – Seattle’s unemployment rate is down to 5.8 percent – and interest rates, which are historically low.

Another factor likely playing a part is that inventory remains very limited, and prices are responding in classic supply-and-demand fashion. Bidding wars are erupting for the few homes that are available, pushing prices upward. According to The Seattle Times article, some neighborhoods in Seattle such as Ballard and Green Lake only have a one-month supply of homes listed for sale, in a market where a 4-6-month supply is considered “balanced.” According to data from Redfin, 39 percent of homes in the Seattle Metro area sold for more than the listing price in the second quarter of 2014.

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

 

Home Price Growth In Seattle Area Appears To Be Slowing

housingThough it may not appear so, considering the seemingly sky-high prices for homes in the Seattle area, the growth in average price for existing single-family homes in King, Snohomish, and Pierce counties seems to have leveled out in late spring. The average price grew by just 1.4 percent from April to May, compared to a 2.3 percent increase from March to April, according to the S&P/Case Shiller 20-City Index released today.

Though price growth is slowing in the short term, average prices in May for single-family homes in the Seattle area were still up 9.3 percent from May 2013, and in many Seattle-area neighborhoods, median prices are nearing their pre-crash highs. In King County as a whole, the median price was $430,000 for the first six months of this year, just 5 percent below the 2007 peak. According to this article in The Seattle Times, the Seattle market is 13 percent below its 2007 peak.

In the same article, Stan Humphries, chief economist at Zillow, says that all of these numbers point to a normalizing housing market, but that there is a wide variation among markets and submarkets, such as lower-priced homes appreciating at a higher rate than more expensive homes.

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

 

 

Pacific Place Sold For $271 Million

pac place1998 was a big year for downtown Seattle. Nordstrom completed its move across Pine Street to its shiny new flagship, and just down the street the Pacific Place shopping center opened, finally giving shoppers an alternative to the then-dingy Westlake Center. Can anyone even remember what occupied that block before Pacific Place rose five stories above Pine and Olive?

It appears that the shopping center still has plenty of earning potential, as it was just sold to D.C.-based real estate management company Madison Marquette (along with other unnamed investors) for $271 million, which is believed to be a record for this type of property in Seattle. Additionally, investors are donating $14 million from the sale to the United Way of King County.

According to an article in the Puget Sound Business Journal, Pacific Place sees 6 million visitors annually and it is 90 percent leased. Many tenants have come and gone over the years, and it now houses such upscale retailers as Barney’s New York, Michael Kors, and Tiffany & Co, along with original tenants Williams Sonoma, Helly Hansen, Il Fornaio and what is now the AMC movie theater.

For more information on Seattle Real Estate, contact your local real estate agent today.

 

 

How to Get the Best Mortgage

If you have determined that you’re at a good point to start looking to buy a home in Seattle, you’ll likely need to begin researching how to get the best deal on your mortgage. While interest rates continue to remain low, finding the best mortgage option can still be cumbersome, but there are a few steps you can take to save you time and money. One of the biggest factors in determining if you will be approved for a loan, and what your interest rate will look like is your credit score. Reviewing your credit score at least once a year is highly recommended, so that you are aware of any issues or errors that could be improved to give you the extra few points you need to qualify for a better interest rate. Another factor that lenders take into account when you apply for a loan is your debt-to-income ratio. This is your income compared to how much money you owe, so if possible it might be a good time to decrease your debt or increase your income. If you can make larger payments on those credit cards, or pay off a loan, it could save you some money down the road.

Photo Courtesy of Istock Photo

Photo Courtesy of Istock Photo

While many real estate agencies can provide you with an affiliated lending bank, it is always wise to shop around for lenders, and ensure you’re getting the best rates available to you. Shopping for lenders can be as simple as requesting a quote online from several local companies, and comparing your findings. If you’re interested in learning more about your mortgage options, and ready to start the home buying process, contact your local real estate agent today.

Tips For Giving a Dated Room a Fresh Look

If you’re a new home owner looking to make your new home your own, or a longtime homeowner looking to spice up dated decor,  it can be hard to find the time and inspiration to spruce up your living space. You’ve probably created a few pinterest boards chalked full of fun ideas, but check out this list of easy changes you can implement to really update the look and feel of a room. It may seem like an obvious choice, but adding a new shade of paint to your walls can drastically change the appearance of your interiors. If you have outdated furniture, don’t hesitate to add a coat of paint or stain that could liven the otherwise boring end  table. If you don’t like it now, what is the harm in staining it, when the outcome could be something you love? kitchenin

Changing the light fixture in a room can really brighten the space, and create a completely new look and feel. You do not necessarily need to buy one big eccentric fixture, but you do need to make sure that all the fixtures within the same room compliment each other. There is nothing worse than an outdated room, that smells older than the decor within. Keep windows open when weather permits, to keep old odors smelling fresh, and keep your carpets vacuumed and clean. While you’re at it, give the whole room a good cleaning – decluttering can drastically change the look and functionality of a space, and prepare for new decor to enhance the room. Personalizing with small and unique to you touches, like hanging a photograph of a memorable trip, or adding new colorful couch pillows can create just the right amount of change you crave. If you’re interested in learning more about Seattle real estate, contact your local real estate agent today.

Tips For Young First Time Buyers

In many generations past, buying a small home in your 20s-30s was a milestone; people tended to stay put in the city they grew up in, not falling too far from the tree. Today’s generation of 20-30 somethings have certainly evolved, and don’t necessarily want to be tied down to any particular area. They want the freedom to travel for a few months at a time, or take that job across the country at a moment’s notice. They feel the weight of student debt piling up after graduation, and are not thinking about adding to it with a home purchase. Although it may feel like the majority of this group does not want to be tied down, there are many who have an interest in home ownership, and if you or someone you know falls into this category, here are some useful tips if you’re considering buying vs renting. renton home

Don’t assume you cannot afford to buy; many believe that since they likely do not have the funds for a 20% down payment, buying a home is not within reach. In today’s real estate world, there are so many options for financing if you have good credit, such as loan options for qualifying home buyers to put down as little as 5%. In a market like Seattle’s, where renting is likely as expensive (if not more) than buying, so do some research and explore your options before ruling anything out. It’s also important to find a good real estate agent. Times have changed, and while it is very easy to get on your computer and browse for homes online on your own, there are perks to having a professional with their ear to the floor guiding you along your search. Agents know the market better than anyone, and can be an excellent resource should any unforeseen issues arise along the way. Remember that this is not a race, it is a marathon; take your time to find the right home for you, as this is likely going to be one of the biggest purchases of your lifetime. Do your research, and do not feel rushed. Take the time to do your research and determine if and when buying is the right option for you. If you’re interested in learning more about Seattle real estate, contact your local real estate agent today!

Attention Buyers: Tips To Win A Bidding War

Bidding wars are becoming commonplace in popular Seattle neighborhoods on homes that are reasonably priced – so how do you make your offer stand out from the rest? There are a few things you can do, once you’ve figured out with your broker a price that seems appropriate given what other homes have sold for in the area, and the asking price. You’ve likely been checking out listings online, so the price suggested should not come as a surprise. You can ask your agent about an “escalation clause”  with your offer, which is an option for buyers to increase their bid up to a certain defined dollar amount if another offer is on the table. This would then bump up your offer up to however much you’re willing to spend, but would also help cap your overspending, as the last thing any buyer wants to do is overpay for real estate. Wash park home11

The other big problem buyers are running into today is figuring out how to outbid cash buyers. Cash buyers are more attractive to sellers because there are fewer contingency hoops to jump through, and usually means a faster closing window. Cash buyers can close in as little as a week, whereas financing can take 30 days to close. If you know you’ll be financing your home, ask your real estate agent if they work with a mortgage consultant and establish that relationship before you place your offer, that way you’ll have head start on other finance buyers, and might even be able to close in a little over a week if you have a mortgage broker on hand to assist you in a pinch. If you’d like more information on buying a home in Seattle, contact your local real estate agent today!