The good news in the Puget Sound real estate market is that buyers now have more homes and condominiums to choose from however the bad news is they may be competing against more buyers. Prices are continuing to climb which is surprising since we are seeing more homes on the Seattle market, however, with more buyers comes more competition thus keeping the price is relatively high. In August for 2016, the median sales price of property in Seattle increased between 9% and 13% in both Snohomish and Pierce County. King and Kitsap County saw jumps of 11% and 12%. In July those increases were up to 15%.
The U.S. News & World Report recently came out with the rankings of the top high schools in the country and the Puget Sound had 19 on this last. Schools are ranked based on how well he prepare students for college and how academically students do on tests. The Puget Sound area high schools are helping to prepare for the region’s workforce and tens of thousands of new jobs created each year. The Puget Sound area is booming with new tech industry opportunities every year including the expansion of Expedia, Amazon, and other Seattle-based industries. [Source]
Top 10 schools that made the list in the Puget Sound region.
Newport Senior high school – Bellevue – gold medal awarded with a 95% graduation rate and 74.5 college readiness
International Community school – Kirkland – Gold medal awarded with a 90% graduation rate and a 72.1 college readiness.
Bellevue high school – Bellevue – 91% graduation rate and 70.1 college readiness
Bainbridge high school – Bainbridge Island – 93% graduation rate and 65.2 college readiness
Roosevelt high school – Seattle – 90% graduation rate and 62.3 college readiness
Garfield high school – Seattle – 87% graduation rate and 54.3 college readiness
Mercer Island high school – 90% graduation rate and 50.9 college readiness
Ingraham high school – Seattle – 76% graduation rate and 50 point for college readiness
Shorecrest high school – Shoreline – 87% graduation rate and 46 college readiness
Even though we are about 7 years away from its launch, the East Link Rail Service is already drawing major companies to the Bellevue area. Most companies are well aware of the projected addition according to Bellevue’s Economic Development Director James Henderson. These companies are not only well aware but want to be close to the stations.
Amazon and Apple both have suggested plans to expand to the Eastside and the light rail will ease the traffic and make it easier for employees to travel between offices or from home to work.
The East Link is the Puget Sound’s most expansive construction project and the impact will be felt in Bellevue more than anywhere. Although it’s been 8 years since voters approved the extension, crews are just beginning the $3.7 billion project.
The new line is expected to open in 2023, which will no doubt build long-term anticipation. When complete, a trip from Bellevue to Seattle along the line will take just 20 minutes. To Microsoft’s campus near the eastern terminus will take less than 10 minutes.
The Bel-Red Corridor is the area that will change the most. Currently, Wright Runstad & Co. is building the $2.3 billion office and residential complex in Spring District. There will be a light-rail station on the edge of this neighborhood. REI has been negotiating with the development company to purchase 8 acres for a new headquarters here as well. GIX, the Global Innovation Exchange, will also be in Spring District allowing only a 7-minute ride from the Microsoft headquarters.
Even though the end result will be well worth the wait, the construction time and mess is not something anyone is looking forward too. Crews are already working on plans for a tunnel that will stretch about 1.3 miles under downtown along 112th Ave SE. The South Bellevue Park and Ride will be closed during construction, which could complicate commuters requirements. In less than a year, heavy work will be underway and there’s no denying it could greatly affect traffic, homeowners, and businesses. Everyone knows and understands there will be frustrations but voters approved the line by a wide margin. Many people feel that when complete, it will greatly improve overall access for downtown businesses. In some ways, it may even unite the tech industries of the Puget Sound region.
Read more: Homes Cost More Around Light Rail Stations
6.2 miles of the East Link will run through Bellevue and only about half will be at street level. This alone may mean less disruption. Most of the line will run on aerial structures and a downtown tunnel.
What commuters and homeowners should know
Commuters to the area can expect extra traffic along the 112 Avenue Southeast of SE. 15th St. The 2500 employees at the Bellefield office Park along 112th, may also be affected. The north end of the Bel-Red corridor is likely to be the most affected, particularly for the businesses around NE. Spring Blvd. and 136th Pl. NE. All in all, there are approximately 85 businesses directly adjacent to the light rail alignment. The agency is working with these businesses to prepare them for the impacts that the construction may have. To combat additional dust and mess, sound transit will have a street sweeper and offer businesses car wash vouchers and window washing services. Sound transit has even offered to provide white noise machines and ear plugs to business owners and employees upon request.
For more information on the East Link Rail Service stay tuned to our blog and for homes and real estate around the Bellevue area or if you’re looking to sell your home Contact Mary Pong today.
Transit image By Oran Viriyincy (http://www.flickr.com/photos/viriyincy/2894812620/) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0) or CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
As with any major Metropolitan city, there will be pockets of neighborhoods, communities and unique districts in and around the city itself. Seattle is no exception. From the eclectic and whimsical neighborhoods north of Seattle such as Ballard and Wallingford to the industrial communities in Rainier and Georgetown, there’s something for everyone in the wide variety that is Seattle neighborhoods.
If you’re moving to the Seattle area it helps to know the neighborhoods and the lifestyles within those neighborhoods to help you determine where you want to live and which areas fit your lifestyle best. Here’s a quick and easy guide to some of the more popular Seattle neighborhoods.
Belltown – Belltown is just north of downtown and the waterfront district and is primarily made up of condominiums and apartment skyscrapers. In the past, it’s been a great hot spot for artists and musicians and today offers a wide range of restaurants, bars, nightclubs and artistic landmarks such as the Olympic Sculpture Park along Elliott Bay. Belltown is a great location for anyone that may not want to own a vehicle because shops, restaurants, markets and nightlife are all within pretty easy walking distance.
Capital Hill – The Capitol Hill neighborhood is one of the most vibrant and eclectic neighborhoods in Seattle. It sits northeast of downtown and is historically the major hub of the LGBTQ culture. Originally designed as the state capital, which eventually went to the city of Olympia, the neighborhood of Capitol Hill still has some stately homes that were originally built for politicians. There is shopping, lots of dining options, nightlife, and Capitol Hill is home to Volunteer Park, featuring a conservatory, beautiful views, and an art museum.
South Lake Union – The Seattle neighborhood is located on the southern shores of Lake Union just north of downtown. This growing neighborhood is home to the Amazon headquarters as well as numerous other large corporations making it ideal for living, working and playing for many Seattle residents. Not only do many residents have a beautiful lakefront view but there are several open spaces, parks, the Museum of History and Industry, a maritime museum and a variety of shopping and restaurant options. This community has single-family homes in addition to midrise condominium buildings. Because it is one of the fastest-growing neighborhoods in Seattle home prices are skyrocketing in this community.
Queen Anne – Located atop the Queen Anne Hill just north of downtown Seattle, this popular neighborhood is full of attractions and older, stately homes. There are numerous public staircases throughout this community and it’s very hilly, which can offer some of the best views in the city but it can be quite treacherous on snowy, icy days, which are few and far between in Seattle.
Read more: Best Puget Sound Neighborhoods
North of Seattle
Ballard, Fremont, Phinney Ridge, Wallingford and Greenwood – These five North Seattle neighborhoods are very similar to each other and feature local farmers markets, fun and strange shops, great restaurants and a variety of home styles including studio apartments, townhouses, condominiums and single-family homes. This neighborhood is home to great schools, the Woodland Park Zoo, Taproot Theater, and Gas Works Park.
University District – Home to the University of Washington, this area is mainly apartment buildings and a few condominiums interspersed with a limited amount of single-family homes. It’s primarily college student driven and is home to the Husky Stadium overlooking Lake Washington, as well as University Village, an outdoor shopping and dining center just north of the University itself and the Medical Center.
South (Sodo) Seattle
Pioneer Square – Pioneer Square is located just south of the waterfront and is one of Seattle’s oldest neighborhoods. You’ll find historical buildings, art galleries, fine dining options, bars and apartment buildings. There are a few condominiums in this area but it’s primarily office buildings, industrial complexes and apartments.
International District – just south of Pioneer Square is the International District. It’s called this because of its unique blend of Chinatown, Japantown and Little Saigon. You’ll find ethnic restaurants, international markets and great guided tours of the neighborhood. It’s home to one of the largest Asian markets in Seattle and offers a few condominiums and apartment buildings.
Georgetown – Nestled south of downtown, Georgetown is a historic industrial neighborhood with vintage stores, unique restaurants, an RV trailer community market and the Museum of Flight. This neighborhood may offer warehouse studio apartments, older converted condos, and a few single-family homes. It’s close to the Boeing airport has a charming but small downtown area with a glass blowing studio and fun restaurants.
West Seattle – Southwest of downtown across the West Seattle bridge is Seattle’s largest neighborhood packed with activities and fun things to do. There are houses, waterfront condos and apartments. A waterfront trail is ideal for getting in your morning run and the neighborhood is home to Alki Beach, the area’s most popular beach as well as the King County Water Taxi, which heads over to the Seattle waterfront. Residents enjoy dozens of shops, restaurants, thrift shops and the Easy Street Record store.
For more information on any of these neighborhoods or a list of homes or condos that meet your search criteria and price, contact Mary Pong today.
The real estate industry is buzzing with rumors that Apple may be purchasing a large office space in Seattle. Apple recently invested $200 million on Turi, a Seattle startup company focusing on machine learning enterprise founded by a computer science professor at the University of Washington.
Rumor has it that the location could be several hundred thousand square feet, which would create a large footprint in the Seattle area. Geekwire has been told by Apple that they may be also considering space in downtown Bellevue as well, possibly the Centre 425 building, currently under construction. Based on logistics, each employee could occupy a space of 150-250 square feet, which, given the size of this office building alone could mean an additional 1400-2300 jobs and employees.
At this point, Apple and affiliates have declined to comment on the affirmation of these moves but Apple already has quite a presence in Seattle, even though it’s main headquarters is in Cupertino California. Apple leased one floor and part of another building at the Two Union Square office in downtown Seattle last year and spent several months building a small team in a temp office in the Ballard area. Back in 2014, Apple acquired Union Bay Networks, another Seattle start-up.
Bellevue would greatly benefit from the move as they have been facing possible office vacancies in the near future. For instance: Expedia will be leaving Bellevue for Seattle in 2019 as well as possible moves for Google, Snapchat and Facebook into the Seattle area.
As far as additional office projects, The 929 Office Tower and the Lincoln Square expansion are currently under construction with companies such as Salesforce and Valve planning to take up the majority of these buildings. In Seattle, there are several larger spaces available or currently under construction.
All this to say, home prices and condo prices in these projected areas are likely to rise. Buyers would benefit from finding and purchasing housing now, before price increase dramatically due to the need. For more information, Contact Mary Pong today for a complete list of homes and properties in desireable neighborhoods.
Amazon’s Real estate director said in 2014 that by 2019, the company would occupy 10 million square feet of office space. But that number has since grown to over 12 million square feet by 2022, which is the same amount of space as 8 of our Columbia Towers, Seattle’s tallest skyscraper.
Amazon, which first operated out of Jeff Bezos’ garage in Bellevue in 1994 has grown to occupy over 8.5 million ft.² in the Seattle area alone. In late 2016, Amazon is scheduled to start construction on the third of three towers that Amazon will develop in Seattle’s Denny Triangle. Simultaneously, construction will continue on Amazon’s South Lake Union buildings the company has been leasing. Amazingly, 12 million ft.² equals around a third of all existing office space in downtown Seattle including space around South Lake Union and the Denny Triangle. According to a recent Geekwire report, Amazon makes up 42% of the best in class space in these key Seattle areas.
To put this into perspective, Microsoft covers over 14.7 million ft.² of office space across the Puget Sound equal to 16% of all classes of existing office space in the region and 29% of the best in class space.
Combining all of the total existing space and the square footage that is currently being built out, it will boost more than 9,300,000 ft.² of office space throughout the Puget Sound. This does not include the two buildings that the company is planning to develop further in the future on a fourth Denny Triangle block. This will bring the total to over 10 million ft.². Amazon has options for more land and office space in the Denny Triangle to build additional office spaces and they currently have the first right of refusal for several spots in this prominent Seattle location.
Because of this growth, condominiums and townhomes are selling at phenomenal rates. Multiple offers and overpriced bids are commonplace in these popular neighborhoods within walking distance or a short distance to several Amazon offices.
The key to nabbing one of these amazing homes is a real estate agent that not only knows the market but the buyers and sellers of the area. Competing with other buyer’s agents and coming in ahead of the competition is what Mary Pong does best. If you’re looking for a home, condo or townhome near any of the Amazon offices or future offices, contact Mary Today. Her expertise, knowledge, and commitment help her buyers get the home they really want.
Image By IvanAndreevich at English Wikipedia –
Seattle’s mass transit line offers ease of commute but homeowners and buyers are feeling the pressure. Homes tend to cost more around the Puget Sound’s massive transit expansion, especially near stations.
The station at Capitol Hill showed that homes were selling $35,000 more than similar homes, not close to the station. The same goes for the Beacon Hill station coming in at over $60,000 more and Pioneer Square boosted an impressive $78,000 more for similar homes not close to a station.
New stations are popping up on the Eastside as well and homes are already selling higher simply because of the fact that a station will be built. Prices are roughly $50,000-$75,000 higher near projected stations around Bellevue.
As traffic increases, demands for homes near stations will also increase, raising prices even more. With millennials looking to ditch their cars for a more economical and environmentally friendly alternative, these prices will continue to rise and demand will be even greater.
People may want to live farther out of the city but living near stations may negate the savings of not living in the city. While many outsiders want to avoid traffic and use mass transit, they may be paying the price somewhere regardless of where they “think” they are saving money.
One of the most significant expansions will be on the November ballot, which, if approved, could produce dozens of new stations of the next 25 years, “generating nearby housing that could allow more people priced out of expensive areas to live farther away and ride the train to work.”[Source]
Cities are already planning for stations and transit villages near them over the next 10 years and prices are already affecting this. Expansions are in the works from West Seattle to Ballard, Issaquah to Tacoma and Everett.
However, there is great news for land and homeowners already near a station or projected station; higher selling prices and better values for their existing properties. Also, Seattle hasn’t seen the same added cost premium as other cities for homes along the rail line. So far, our train line is not as useful as other places with larger and more expansive lines. That should dramatically change over the next two decades.
For now, most of the increase is in the Seattle central area but prices in outlying areas like Lynnwood and Kent should start to catch up in the next 10 years. But, for those looking ahead, buying in these areas now is probably one of the surest bets you can make.
images By Atomic Taco from Seattle, WA, USA (2 car train to Tukwila) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons | By Lumpytrout (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Bidding wars are back and Seattle is seeing a healthy portion of many of these wars due to low inventory and soaring home prices. According to local real estate agents and the MLS, 75% of homeowners received multiple offers on their listings this year alone. This is pushing many homes to sell above their asking price and many buyers are finding themselves frustrated with the process.
Home buying and selling has proven to be the most competitive now than in the last decade. For the first time since the economic turn-down and housing recession, the majority of homes in the metro area are selling above asking price. First time buyers, repeat buyers and investors all bid for the same property and many first time buyers are simply getting outbid by fast closing times and of course, cash offers.
Several homes even have non-refundable deposits that must be given before an inspection can even take place. It’s an emotional roller coaster and so many buyers are left getting more and more frustrated as declined offers add up.Primarily, homes selling high above list price are in the downtown and the waterfront, north Seattle and Green Lake and just north of the Snohomish county line in places like Lynnwood and Edmonds. Some of these homes are selling up to 70% above list price! With cash offers, there are no banks to decline a low appraisal so the market continues to push upwards.
Currently the Seattle metro area is now seeing a higher rate of bidding wars than the San Francisco Bay area, which is really saying something, since the Bay area has been in this position for several years. Four years ago, the Bay area only saw a 55% multiple offer scenario, which is still quite impressive. Today, more that 50% of homes are selling for more than asking price in the Seattle area, twice the national average.
This could all be because of more qualified buyers as well. Buyers have recovered from the housing crash and have entered back on the market as well as many new millennials entering the housing market. A recent study showed that there may be more millennials entering the housing market in the next few years than baby boomers did in the 80s.
When a home is listed, especially in a tight neighborhood, buyers and investors flock to the property with a sense of urgency to get in before anyone else. Personal letters, incentives and escalation clauses are all in full effect. Agents are working around the clock to offer tours, arrange meetings and submitting offers just to get their client in the door first.
These wars are becoming harder and harder to avoid in the Puget Sound area, from Shoreline to Renton and everywhere in between. Some neighborhoods are even more competitive, such as Phinney Ridge, Fremont, Wedgewood, West Seattle and the University District. Upwards of 90% of homes sold this year alone saw a bidding war. However, there are some areas in the Puget Sound where offers are not that urgent. Places like Arlington, Monroe and Stanwood in Snohomish counties are not seeing the hype as we are in Seattle, but that may change as buyers are pushed farther out into the suburbs in order to just get their foot in the door on an offer.
Seattle homes are selling in about 8 days, five times faster than the national average. Homebuyers are frustrated but with the right agent, negotiations can win out. This is not a market in which to go at it alone. Buyers, especially first time buyers, need a qualified and skilled agent that not only knows the market but individual neighborhoods in order to make a competitive offer. There are tricks, tips and strategies that Mary Pong has used for years, honing in on the best way to compete in any market against any competitor. If you’re tired of getting beat out time and time again on a home in the Seattle market, contact Mary today. Utilizing her creative skills can help you get the home of your dreams.
China’s largest home developer recently invested in a 43 story residential tower that is proposed near the Seattle space needle.
Located at 600 Wall St. in downtown Seattle, the California-based company Laconia Development proposed to deal with the China Vanke Co. on Seattle’s proposed apartment high-rise. This slenderand elegant tower is designed to be the exclamation point for the Seattle skyline. Currently, the lot at 600 Wall St. is a small, triangular-shaped parking lot but Senior VP Bob Kagan said that the Chinese-based company Vanke is going to be Laconia’s capital partner on the over $200 million project featuring 400 residences. The preliminary agreement is already underway with finalization by mid-June. This is the company’s first Seattle investment and along with other local and national investors, participants are urging the proposal to get it done. Construction could break ground by as early as 2017.
This location is bounded by Denny Way, wall Street and Sixth Avenue. These plans actually dated back to 2006 but the latest development projects a 43 story, 400 apartment property above street level retail space and 315 parking stalls on six underground levels served by an automated parking system.
This is not the only sign of Seattle’s foreign investment influence. Overseas and even Canadian investors purchased $2.8 billion worth of assets last year alone causing a 214% increase over 2014. China and Hong Kong investors were some of the top acquiring over $1 billion of assets including Seattle’s tallest tower, the Columbia Center.
In the past, Vanke has primarily develops condominiums and the 600 Wall St. project will be one of the companies first for rent projects. This could be due to Amazon’s expansion of their headquarters in the South Lake Union area, which is extremely close to the space needle. Laconia is seeing a huge rise in the rental market for millennial’s to empty nesters and feels that the Seattle area will need a much broader rental market. Cielo, an apartment high-rise on Seattle’s First Hill has been completely rented out of their 335 apartments. Spokespeople for Laconia state that the average rental rate is exactly where they should be.
Bellevue Plaza was just purchased by Vulcan Real Estate for $45.35 million. Located at 117 106th AVE NE, Vulcan’s first Bellevue property is a 1960s retail complex perfect for redevelopment.
Currently surrounded by 3 acres of parking, the Bellevue Plaza has no immediate plans for the lot but ideas and suggestions are currently in the works. Plans for housing and retail space are on the table but in the mean time, the developer will build out the current 60,000 square foot complex. It is currently one quarter vacant.
Vulcan Real Estate has previously focused on Seattle’s South Lake Union neighborhood selling nearly $3 billion in assets to invest in properties and plans to develop new buildings and renovate existing ones. Unlike the previous developments, their Bellevue location will be more “conventional” with affordable units and retail expansions.
This downtown location is located across the street from 24 Hour Fitness and several prominent Bellevue retail outlets. Vulcan’s Vice President feels that the downtown area is home to a growing community as well as companies and businesses. With over 1,000 new apartment units and the $1.2 billion expansion of Bellevue Square, more outlying retail and housing unit may be needed. This purchase aligns with Vulcan’s strategy of buying urban infill properties that can be upgraded. The location has been home to smaller retail outlets but a redevelopment is consistent with the way Bellevue is going. Currently and until further plans are finalized, Vulcan has hired Wallace Properties to fill the plaza with more retail tenants.
Read more: Bellevue’s New Project for 176 New Homes
Stay tuned to our blog for more local information and changes to the Seattle real estate market and the Eastside. Contact Mary Pong today for answers to all your Puget Sound real estate questions.