Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Ranches More Popular than Bungalows?

Perhaps it has something to do with the Baby-Boomers getting older and wanting 1-story homes, or perhaps we are just seeing a new trend in popularity of midcentury modern architecture, but homes built between 1940 and 1969 are selling quite well right now. They might even be edging out our beloved Seattle Craftsman Bungalows?!?!
While these classic-modern homes have historically not been the most desireable style of home, we have seen a resurgence in their popularity the last few years. These homes generally include large open spaces, flat or low-pitched roofs, large windows, and little adornment.
Perhaps it is just the natural repetitive cycle of trends and style. Are we seeing the 50's and 60's back in "style" in other ways too?

Friday, September 29, 2006

Seattle Home Appreciation Leads the Way!

Exciting news for homeowners in the greater Seattle area!
According to recent predictions in Forbes Magazine, the median home value for the Seattle area will continue to increase over the next 10 years. Currently the median home price in the Puget Sound is $384,543. Predictions place this value to be $612,383 in the year 2016. To read more information about other major cities click here.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Backyard Apartments?

A pilot program to create more affordable housing in the Southeast portion of Seattle is being considered by City officials. The program would allow property owners to create "detached accessory dwelling units", or DADUs.
These DADUs differ from "mother-in-law apartments" in that they are not connected to the main property. They can be located in garages, servants' quarters, or be built from scratch. These structures cannot be more than 23 feet tall or have more than 1000 sqft of living space. One stipulation though is that the property owner must live in either the house or the detached apartment and supply an off-street parking space for the apartment.

In Seattle, 70% of the land is zoned for single-family use, so this proposal is supported by neighborhood groups as a means of providing affordable housing. It may also help homeowners who are struggling with high mortgage payments by providing an additional source of revenue.

Critics of this proposal are worried about additional traffic and parking problems, and the increase of duplexes in nice neighborhoods once comprised of mainly single-family homes which could lead to lower property values.
What do you think?

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Seattle Neighborhood Spotlight -- Pike Place Market

In the last few weeks, I have been previewing at a lot of condos downtown near Pike Place Market for an out-of-state buyer. I recently viewed a great historic Loft unit complete with a private rooftop deck with views of the Puget Sound.
What a great place to live -- and right across the street from the Market! Every time I am in this area I am reminded about what a wonderful bustling neighborhood it is. Fresh produce out your front door, views of Puget Sound and the Olympic Mtns, the smell and allure of gourmet restaurants, theater, and live music, the sights and sounds of all the outdoor performers, vendors, and eclectic shops. Ah, what a great place to live! But don't take my word for it, here's another video (thanks to www.turnhere.com) about Pike Place Market -- and of course -- the flying fish!

Links for more info:
Pike Place Market
Pike Place Fish Market
Market History
Unexpected Productions

Homes currently for sale near Pike Place Market (as of 4/19/06)

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Seattle Rental Market Tightening

Apartment hunters beware! Rentals in the Puget Sound region are getting tougher to find, and prices are going up! According to a recent article in the Seattle Times, Puget Sound regional vacancy rate is 4.6% - down from 6.5% a year ago. Average rents have climbed 4% in this past year.

There are a number of factors causing this trend. One is the growing economy -- 50,000 jobs added last year and potentially as many this year -- continues to fuel the demand for rental homes.

Increase in home prices is another factor. Many potential home-buyers are opting to stay put and rent an equal or better home for much less than the cost of a mortgage. Also, the high demand and increase in home prices has caused a tremendous surge in condominium conversions. Last year alone we saw 4,000 apartment units converted to condominiums. This decrease of available apartments puts the squeeze on renters looking for affordable space.

With home prices continuing to rise and the slow but constant rise in interest rates, many would-be homebuyers may soon be priced out of the market. The rental market will likely continue to tighten....with prices getting higher and more competition for renters.

Monday, April 10, 2006

$405,000 -- Median Home Price in King County!

Here's a recent article from the Seattle Times that talks about current market conditions in our area. March home-sales numbers were released last week by the Northwest Multiple Listing Service. They show the median closed price of King County single-family homes has shot up almost 12 percent in the past year, reaching $405,000 last month (and up from $392,950 in February.) The median price of a condo in King County rose 21% to $249,950.

Downtown Seattle to get Taller?

Last week Seattle City Council unanimously approved a measure that will allow building heights to rise in much of downtown Seattle.

"It is a milestone today, and it is an important turning point," said city councilman Peter Steinbrueck, who crafted changes to a proposal advanced by Mayor Greg Nickels last year. "We will do more with this legislation than change the look of downtown. ... We're going to change the feel of downtown and some of the dynamics of downtown."
The measure also included requirements for affordable housing, green buildings, and underground parking. City Council is also working on other issues to improve downtown livability. In the planning stages are: a major park in Belltown, providing tax-breaks to developers targeting moderate-income residents, preserving historic buildings, and a possible elementary school in the city center.
Read more about Seattle City Council's Downtown Zoning and Livability Plan. Here's is another link to the downtown zoning changes.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Seattle Neighborhood Spotlight -- Ballard

Thanks again to www.turnhere.com for providing these great Seattle neighborhood videos. Ballard is a neighborhood full of its original Scandinavian heritage and local character. It is growing rapidly and has quickly become one of Seattle's most trendy yet casual and laid-back neighborhoods. Enjoy this video narrated by a local musician.

Here are links to some of the local attractions mentioned in the video:
The Tractor Tavern
Ballard Farmer's Market
Hattie's Hat
Golden Gardens Park

What's your favorite thing about Ballard?

Friday, March 31, 2006

Online Home Valuation Sites

Announced on Inman News today, RealEstateABC has a new online home valuation site that is supposed to rival Zillow. I've played around with both of these sites and find them to be useful to help potential Buyers and Sellers get an idea of prices in their neighborhoods, but will these online tools ever be able to replace the accurate market analysis of an experienced real estate agent? There are so many factors involved with pricing a home, I just do not think a fancy program will ever be reliable enough to trust with our largest investments.

I recently sold a home in Wallingford for $635,000. Zillow had this home valued at $520,000 and RealEstateABC at $555,000. Thankfully the Seller didn't decide to go the FSBO route and base his price off of these online sites! He may have missed out on $100,000 or more!

Again, I do think it is great to provide Buyers and Sellers with as much information and education as possible. I'm all in favor of having this information easily at their fingertips. I just hope this info is used wisely. You should never underestimate the value of having an experienced Agent on your side.

Seattle Leads the Nation in Building "Green"

I recently read an article in the Seattle Times about "green" building techniques and how Seattle is proving to be a role model for the rest of the nation. Now, what exactly does it mean to build "Green"? According to www.builtgreen.net, there are a number of factors required to qualify, but here are a few of my favorite things a green home may include:

  • Recycled building materials, like reclaimed doors
  • Environmentally-friendly insulations
  • Low-toxicity carpet (or no carpeting at all)
  • Use of rapidly-renewable bamboo for flooring
  • Solar-powered outdoor lighting
  • Rooftop gardens

Way to go Seattle! (maybe another reason to call us "The Emerald City!") Hopefully we can continue to lead the way with these environmentally-friendly building techniques.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Seattle Home Prices to jump 30-40% in Next 2 Years?

There's been a lot of talk about the real estate "bubble" over the last few years. I've been asked by many potential Buyers and Sellers what I think might happen with our rapidly rising prices in the Seattle area. I have always maintained that I do not think a "bubble" exists in our area. Seattle is still growing rapidly and the economy is doing well. With increased jobs comes an increased demand for housing. Also, with such geographical limitations (Puget Sound, Lake Washington, Mountains) there just is not much room to expand or add new housing in the Seattle area.

Please read what Lawrence Yun, Senior Economist for the National Association of Realtors,
predicts for the greater Seattle area.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Seattle Neighborhoods -- Fremont

Well, I told myself I was going to try my best to write on a weekly basis. Guess I've been failing at that! LOL! One more try....perhaps now that I have recently found some fantastic new videos about the different neighborhoods in Seattle I will have more to write about. :-)
Big thanks to
www.turnhere.com for making these wonderful insightful videos. I love the fact that they interview real people and they have not been commercialized -- they are not trying to sell anybody anything, but rather are documenting *real* people in *real* neighborhoods.

The first one I'd like to share with you is about Fremont -- The Center of the Universe.
Please stay tuned for more of these to come....

Directed by Tim Tyler

Here are some related Fremont links: Please feel free to share your favorite things about Fremont with us!
Visitors Info
Fremont Sunday Market
Fremont Outdoor Cinema
Sonic Boom Records
Fremont Coffee Shop
Roger Wheeler's Mask Madness
Local Weather