As 2008 is coming to an end. It's a great time to reflect what an interesting and eventful year we've had. Here are some highlights from the year 2008:
Earlier this year, the financial market continued to take a toll on the housing market that started to emerge with the sub-prime crisis in 2007. Foreclosure rates increased at alarming rates all over the nation. Many were watching the presidential election closely and particularly on the candidates' plans on how they would bring us out of this financial crisis. McCain-Palin proposed the government guaranteeing bad mortgages while the Obama-Biden team advocated for a general economic stimulus.
The Stranger posted results of the Press Auction yesterday. When the market was doing well, condo inventory used to sell within weeks and sometimes within days. In the current economic climate, some are buying homes at sizeable discounts through auctions. "On average, 15 condos in the Press building auctioned for about 80 percent of their listing price and over 30 percent of their starting bid."
For existing Press homeowners who bought their units the old fashioned way, they may not be too thrilled with the discounted pricing. On the other hand, they're probably better off having their neighboring units owned, albeit at a 20% discount, than having so much of the building remain unsold.
Frankly, I find the 20% discount and 15 contracts in a day to be encouraging. Most MLS listings are asking for 10-20% less than they did a few years ago anyway so 20% isn't exactly a fire sale. Moreover, if we had to pick between no activity at all and some activity at a discount, I'd go for the latter.
Rollin condos in South Lake Union will have their first closing in April 2009. They started hard hat tours a few weeks ago and I had the chance to check it out this week. The huge 208-unit building definitely makes a presence in the neighborhood even though Pan Pacific Hotel & 2200 Westlake is right across the street.
If I had a million dollars, what would I do? I might buy a condo with a water view.
Concord in Belltown is one of the two. I love the building, near the Park, and the almost guaranteed water view. Fifteen Twenty One will probably be number two. With a million, it would be tough to get a home with water view. Perhaps I can settle with a city view or get a loan and hopefully, it stays within the conforming group. That would only happen if I'm planning to move back to downtown soon.
I had the chance to take a hard hat tour at Ruby today and checked out some of their offerings. The building is located next to Tramonti condos on the eastside of Eastlake Ave E .
The 4-story building has a nice courtyard facing the lake; many units have a partial lake view. The long corridor on the eastside of the building definitely helps in reducing the highway noise for most of the homes (with the exception of the north homes which get more noise).
Specifically, I'm not a big fan of the north 03, 04 and 05 floor plans as they get the highest noise exposure from the highway. However, according to Tanya, the sale manager, those homes will be priced at the more affordable price point from mid to high $200,000's. If that is the case, then I guess it will be a fair trade off for buyers.
November numbers are in. Compared to last year, sales in all major Seattle neighborhoods were lower in November 2008 than they were in November 2007. The best performers were Belltown/Downtown with 27 sales in November 2008 versus 29 sales in November 2007 (just 7% off). This is largely due to closings occuring for Gallery homes which contributed close to 50% of the closed sales.
Median prices looked alright compared to November 2007. Some neighborhoods like West and North Seattle were actually up (5% higher in both). Belltown/Downtown was almost flat, just 4% off of last year's median price. Queen Anne / Lake Union / Magnolia had the biggest price declines, down ~14% versus the same time last year.
Marco Kronen is the co-author and a condo Realtor. He and Wendy have worked together serving clients in Seattle since 2007. Feel free to contact Marco here.
Wendy Leung is the founding editor of the Seattle Condo Review. She's also a full-service Seattle realtor.
Seattle Condo Review is the Seattle's longest-running guide for buying and selling Belltown Condos, Queen Anne Condos, Capitol Hill Condos, Green Lake Condos, Ballard Condos, and Downtown Seattle Condos.