Affordable Downtown Seattle condos are getting competitive
The units going the most above asking in 2017 were listed at below $400K
As Seattle residents are scrambling for more affordable housing options, more affordable condos could be at the forefront of that demand.
Data compiled by Urban Condo Spaces (UCS) found that in 2017 so far, the five condos in the greater downtown area driven the most above asking were all listed at below $400,000. Most of them were listed at below $300,000.
The condo driven most above asking listed at $299,900, sold for $370,000—a full 23 percent above asking.
“The story that seems to developing is not just an inventory issue but an affordability issue,” Jeff J. Reynolds of Urban Condo Spaces tells us. “These are all small units with very affordable price points, which has more buyers driving the prices up.”
He notes that there are only two available units downtown under $400,000 right now, plus four in Queen Anne and seven in Capitol Hill.
The inventory problem isn’t isolated to affordable units, though. At the time that the last unit in the Insignia sold earlier this month, Downtown condos were experiencing a 57 percent decline year over year.
Join Us for a FREE Shredding, Electronics Recycling, and Clothing Donation BBQ!
Reduce * Recycle * Re-Use
Saturday, April 15th
from 11 am to 2 pm
Windermere Greenwood will have three trucks on site to shred your paper material, recycle obsolete electronics and donate clothing.
Paper Shredding: Shredding sensitive documents is one way to reduce your risk of becoming an identity theft victim. Bring your sensitive papers, bank and credit card statements and personal documents to be destroyed by a professional document destruction service with a mobile shredding unit on-site.
*10 box/bag limit per person
Items Accepted: DVD players, VCRs, stereo equipment, desktop & laptop computers, monitors, cell phones, iPods, keyboards, mice, cables, scanners, copiers, and TVs under 40″.
Not Accepted: Microwaves, kitchen or other appliances, TVs over 48″, styrofoam or cardboard.
Big Brothers Big Sisters: This year, we will also be accepting used, worn & damaged* clothing donations! Big Brothers Big Sisters accepts donations for all of your clothes, shoes, and linens. Even items that are ripped, torn, have holes are acceptable! Even single shoes, socks, gloves, and other items that are normally paired-up.
* Please do NOT donate are items that are wet, mildewed, or contaminated with hazardous material.
Have Lunch on Us! We will be serving grilled brats, veggie & hot dogs, soda, chips, coffee, cookies, and a smile to thank you for your support!
Spring is Here: Get Your Home Ready!
Now that the days are a little longer, the sun a little warmer, and blossoms are starting to pop, you may suddenly have the urge to do some spring cleaning. Spring cleaning is a time-honored tradition; an opportunity to sweep the cobwebs from your home, clear out the dust that accumulated during the winter, and let the sunshine in.
For many people spring cleaning may seem tedious but it doesn’t have to be! Crank some tunes, get some room decor inspiration from Pinterest, and get out the garbage bags because it’s time to get cleaning.
- Make a list of what needs to be cleaned in each room.
Lists can help you stay organized — especially if you have a huge project on your plate. Walk through each room and write down what needs to get done. Writing a list will ensure you have all the cleaning materials you’ll need before getting started.
- Make your playlist.
Listening to music while cleaning can make things go by faster. Of course, you don’t have to make a playlist; you could always just turn the radio on to your favorite station.
- Get three bins and label them: trash, recycle and donate.
As you go through each room, make sure to declutter. Recycle old magazines and papers from the previous year. Put items you no longer use or need, like that book you bought 10 years ago but never read, in the donate box. Itemize your donate pile when finished because you may be able to deduct those donations on your taxes.
- Work on one room at a time.
It’s easy to get overwhelmed when you want to clean your entire home all at once. Refer to your list in step 1 and check each one off as you go. Tracking your progress will keep you working in an organized fashion and keep you going when you start to get tired.
- Set an amount of time to work on each room.
It’s easy to get distracted, looking at items you’ve forgotten or old photographs, and before you know it you’ve spent the entire day cleaning just one single room. Set a timer so you don’t fall into this trap and to give yourself small breaks throughout the process.
- Get some help.
Don’t do all the cleaning yourself! Recruit your kids, significant other or roommates to help out. Anyone who contributes to the mess should also help clean it.
- Start from the top and work your way down.
Use the law of gravity and clean from the top of the ceiling to the floor. Knock all the dusty cobwebs from the corner, wash the curtains, clean the windows, dust/vacuum the furniture, and finally vacuum the floor.
- Consider using natural cleaners.
Many chemical-based cleaners emit hazardous fumes. Some cleaners when mixed together can even emit toxic fumes that can seriously hurt you. Vinegar is a great substitute to use as a general household cleaning solution, and it is not nearly as expensive as packaged cleaning solutions.
- Be patient.
Take your time and let grimy surfaces, like the ones in your bathroom and kitchen, soak in your cleaning solution. Work on something else on your list while your cleaner does the hard work.
- Reward yourself at the end.
Having something to look forward to at the end of a long day of cleaning sure makes things go a lot faster. Plus, you worked hard and deserve it. Treat yourself.
Saint Patrick’s Day in Seattle
It’s Saint Patrick’s Day which means Corned beef and cabbage, green beer, and people dressed like deranged Leprechauns are everywhere. Despite the lack of a large population of Irish descendants in Seattle, we still have several great Irish Pubs that share the food, music and merriment of a pub you might find in our Sister City; Galway, Ireland. So if you can’t celebrate Saint Patrick’s Day on the Emerald Isle – then do it in the Emerald City.
Family friendly until 9pm, Murphy’s offers a seat to your whole family – but your dog is welcome to stay there with you until closing time. The oldest Irish Pub in Seattle, Murphy’s was also the first to offer local microbrews when Redhook Brewery opened in 1982.
TRY: Black and Tan
Being a restaurant with food that is much better than the usual pub fare, Mulleady’s will be serving a five-course St. Patrick’s Day dinner tonight. Calling ahead to see what the lines are like might be prudent.
TRY: Red Breast Collection Spirit Flight
A tried and true Irish Pub, the doors open today at noon and the live music starts at 1pm. Skillet Street Foodwill have a food truck parked outside all day – no word on what their menu might be.
TRY: Jameson and ginger cocktail
Located on Post Alley in an old red brick building, on a rainy Seattle day, all you need to do is close your eyes to make believe you’re in Ireland. The doors open at 11am today with live music starting at 1pm. Post Alley is closed off in this small section so revelers can also hang outside.
TRY: Irish coffee
Arguably the most well-known Irish restaurant and bar in Seattle, so naturally their Saint Patrick’s Day event is huge. In fact, their festival is a three-day event from Thursday, March 16 through Sunday, March 19. The doors open at 9am and music starts at noon.
TRY: Guinness or Harp lager
Beautiful cathedral-turned-home overlooks Green Lake
The home is listed for $2.8 million
Many homes in Seattle have unique stories and long histories, but this home in Green Lake is especially interesting.
This converted church, built in 1914, served as a place of worship for a number of denominations over the years, said listing agent Beth Bylund. It was most recently home to a Pillar of Fire church, which is part of a Methodist sect.
The home was converted into a private residence in 1996 by the seller, who spared no expense in upgrading it while preserving elements of its spiritual past. You can still find an old bell in the bell tower, and the top floor has been turned into a chic loft with the signature soaring ceilings of a place of worship.
The entire property sits on almost one-third of an acre, which is a rare find in tightly packed Green Lake.
This righteous property doesn’t come cheap, though: It’s listed for $2.8 million and had been on the market for less than 24 hours as of Wednesday afternoon. Multi-million-dollar properties are quickly becoming the norm in Seattle, and a whopping 40 percent of active Seattle listings are listed for $1 million or more, according to data pulled from Redfin on Wednesday.
Bylund is co-listing the home with Wendy Saddler. You can see the full listing here.
We are often asked, “Which is the better buy, a newer or older home?” Our answer: It all depends on your needs and personal preferences. We decided to put together a list of the six biggest differences between newer and older homes:
Surprisingly, one of the biggest factors in choosing a new home isn’t the property itself, but rather the surrounding neighborhood. While new homes occasionally spring up in established communities, most are built in new developments. The settings are quite different, each with their own unique benefits.
Older neighborhoods often feature tree-lined streets; larger property lots; a wide array of architectural styles; easy walking access to mass transportation, restaurants and local shops; and more established relationships among neighbors.
New developments are better known for wider streets and quiet cul-de-sacs; controlled development; fewer aboveground utilities; more parks; and often newer public facilities (schools, libraries, pools, etc.). There are typically more children in newer communities, as well.
Consider your daily work commute, too. While not always true, older neighborhoods tend to be closer to major employment centers, mass transportation and multiple car routes (neighborhood arterials, highways and freeways).
Design and layout
If you like Victorian, Craftsman or Cape Cod style homes, it used to be that you would have to buy an older home from the appropriate era. But with new-home builders now offering modern takes on those classic designs, that’s no longer the case. There are even modern log homes available.
Have you given much thought to your floor plans? If you have your heart set on a family room, an entertainment kitchen, a home office and walk-in closets, you’ll likely want to buy a newer home—or plan to do some heavy remodeling of an older home. Unless they’ve already been remodeled, most older homes feature more basic layouts.
If you have a specific home-décor style in mind, you’ll want to take that into consideration, as well. Professional designers say it’s best if the style and era of your furnishings match the style and era of your house. But if you are willing to adapt, then the options are wide open.
Materials and craftsmanship
Homes built before material and labor costs spiked in the late 1950s have a reputation for higher-grade lumber and old-world craftsmanship (hardwood floors, old-growth timber supports, ornate siding, artistic molding, etc.).
However, newer homes have the benefit of modern materials and more advanced building codes (copper or polyurethane plumbing, better insulation, double-pane windows, modern electrical wiring, earthquake/ windstorm supports, etc.).
The condition of a home for sale is always a top consideration for any buyer. However, age is a factor here, as well. For example, if the exterior of a newer home needs repainting, it’s a relatively easy task to determine the cost. But if it’s a home built before the 1970s, you have to also consider the fact that the underlying paint is most likely lead0based, and that the wood siding may have rot or other structural issues that need to be addressed before it can be recoated.
On the flip side, the mechanicals in older homes (lights, heating systems, sump pump, etc.) tend to be better built and last longer.
One of the great things about older homes is that they usually come with mature tress and bushes already in place. Buyers of new homes may have to wait years for ornamental trees, fruit trees, roses, ferns, cacti and other long-term vegetation to fill in a yard, create shade, provide privacy, and develop into an inviting outdoor space. However, maybe you’re one of the many homeowners who prefer the wide-open, low-maintenance benefits of a lightly planted yard.
Like it or not, most of us are extremely dependent on our cars for daily transportation. And here again, you’ll find a big difference between newer and older homes. Newer homes almost always feature ample off-street parking: usually a two-care garage and a wide driveway. An older home, depending on just how old it is, may not offer a garage—and if it does, there’s often only enough space for one car. For people who don’t feel comfortable leaving their car on the street, this alone can be a determining factor.
Finalizing your decision
While the differences between older and newer homes are striking, there’s certainly no right or wrong answer. It is a matter of personal taste, and what is available in your desired area. To quickly determine which direction your taste trends, use the information above to make a list of your most desired features, then categorize those according to the type of house in which they’re most likely to be found. The results can often be telling.
KIRKLAND, Washington (Feb. 6, 2017) – Western Washington’s “high velocity” market continued during January with the number of pending sales (7,745) outgaining the number of new listings (6,507), according to new figures from Northwest Multiple Listing Service.
“Properties are moving through the market at an unusually fast pace,” remarked John Deely, chairman of the board at Northwest MLS and the principal managing broker at Coldwell Banker Bain. “Although we have a high number of new listings, they are moving into a pending or sold status within the typical 30-day reporting period. This phenomenon causes a low active listing count,” he added.
Brokers added 6,507 new listings to inventory last month (163 fewer than during the same period a year ago), while year-over-year pending sales jumped by 492 transactions for a gain of about 6.8 percent. New listing volume was the highest monthly total since October when members added 7,591 properties.
At month-end, there were 9,752 active listings in the MLS service area, which encompasses 23 counties. That total was 2,605 fewer than the year-ago volume of 12,357, a decline of 21 percent. Only three counties (Ferry, Jefferson and Kitsap) reported improvements in the number of active listings compared to the same month last year.
Measured by months of inventory, the selection is at historic lows in many counties. At month end, there was just under 1.7 months of supply system-wide, which compares to the year-ago figure of about 2.5 months of supply. Both King and Snohomish counties have less than one month of supply.
“If home buyers were hoping that January would start to bring more balance to the housing market, they’re going to be sorely disappointed. The number of homes for sale remains at record lows, and the growth in pending sales tells us that sellers are still firmly in the driver’s seat,” said OB Jacobi, president of Windermere Real Estate.
MLS director George Moorhead echoed Jacobi, pointing to five years ago when buyers could choose from 5,378 listings of single family homes in King County versus last month’s selection of 1,569 listings. “The real question is whether there will be relief in the near future, and the unfortunate answer is no,” said Moorhead, the designated broker at Bentley Properties, citing the combination of new jobs, a shortage of new homes, and a reluctance of sellers to list their home for fear of not being able to find their next one.
Commenting on “typical seasonal and beginning of the year adjustments,” one company president said he is encouraged by new listing activity. “There is no indication that the annualized trend of shrinking active inventory will reverse itself anytime soon, but we’re seeing momentary bubbles of increased inventory for buyers currently in the market” noted Mike Grady, president and COO of Coldwell Banker Bain.
“List it and they will come” is the new mantra as new listings come on the market, commented J. Lennox Scott, chairman and CEO of John L. Scott. Despite having more sales than new listings over the past few months, Scott said there is hope for homebuyers. “As the days start getting longer the future will look brighter for the backlog of buyers waiting to find a home.” Describing February as the bridge month between winter and spring markets, Scott expects to start seeing an increase in the number of new listings.
“Buyers who are properly positioned to make quick decisions, and who have the proper negotiation tactics and guidance are finding success in this high velocity market,” Deely reported.
Not surprisingly given the imbalance in supply and demand, prices continue to rise. Last month’s median price for the 5,874 completed sales of single family homes and condominiums was $327,175, up 9 percent from the year ago figure of $300,000. There were 889 more closed sales in January than for the same month a year ago for a 17.8 percent increase.
Single family home prices (excluding condos) increased 9 percent, rising from $309,950 to $338,000. The median price for single family homes that sold in King County last month was $525,000, up more than 6.9 percent from the year-ago sales price of $490,970. Several outlying counties reported double-digit gains.
“The softening of single family home prices in King County over the last few months, combined with the relatively large price increase in Snohomish County (8.2 percent) suggests buyers are migrating north in order to find more affordable housing,” said Jacobi.
Brokers in Pierce and Kitsap counties also reported price hikes larger than King County’s. The median price of a single family home in Pierce County jumped nearly 11.6 percent from a year ago while the year-over-year price in Kitsap was up 9.4 percent.
Condo prices rose 5.5 percent in January compared to a year ago, increasing from $255,750 to $289,900. King County condo prices surged more than 9.8 percent, from $282,250 to $310,000.
“For buyers, it is a good news/bad news scenario in Kitsap County,” reported MLS director Frank Wilson. “More houses came on the market last month than a year ago, but pending sales surpassed that number to keep the market tight. Brokers navigated these challenges and buyers endured, “but the tightness will likely be magnified during 2017,” said Wilson, the branch managing broker at John L. Scott in Poulsbo.
Wilson said open house traffic has “started off with a bang” as more buyers have decided now is the time to buy, believing that prices will only continue to rise.” He expects escalation clauses, multiple offer situations and backup offers to “be the norm during the first quarter. The hierarchy of purchasers: cash, conventional loan, VA loan, and FHA financing will continue to be the pecking order,” he stated.
“We’re seeing the frenzy change to a fanatical desire to own a home as buyers scramble to beat increasing interest rates,” reported Moorhead. He expects the Feds to increase rates two more times between now and April, “and that will only increase buyers’ aggressive tactics to secure a home,” he suggested.
Moorhead also noted sellers are able to “get away with putting homes on the market in conditions that historically would be rejected by buyers.” Now, however, Moorhead said buyers are willing to turn a blind eye to repairs and future maintenance.
Northwest Multiple Listing Service, owned by its member real estate firms, is the largest full-service MLS in the Northwest. Its membership of nearly 2,100 member offices includes more than 25,000 real estate professionals. The organization, based in Kirkland, Wash., currently serves 23 counties in the state.