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December 2009
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February 2010

January 2010

Seattle Condo Neighborhoods

I took at look at some of the sold condo data over the last 3 years and put together a quick chart.  It's interesting to see that 2009 was softer than 2008 but the really big drop occurred from 2007 to 2008.  It's also interesting to see that, despite all the new projects in Belltown / Downtown there were more condos sold in Capitol Hill / Central / Madison Park than in Belltown / Downtown or Queen Anne/ Magnolia.

Seattle condo neighborhoods
 
(Information from Northwest Multiple Listing Service and is deemed reliable but not guaranteed.)


Short Sales, Bank Owned and Foreclosure Condos

Over the last two years, we have seen an increase in short sale and bank owned condos on the market.  It feels like 1 out of 5 or 10 condos I come across is either a short sale situation or bank owned condo.  Even though the short sales purchase usually takes longer to close (if you're successful in getting the bank to approve the purchase price) and the time it takes for the bank to response to your offer can be agonizedly long, for some buyers, it's still worth a shot given that the listing price is usually a lot lower than the fair market value.  For those of you who are considering buying a short sale, bank owned or foreclosure condo, here is a list of good websites that you might want to check out:

1.) Before you buy a short sale

2.) How long should i wait for short sale approval?

3.) How to buy bank owned homes?

4.) How to buy foreclosure homes?


FHA Update

It seems like everyday we are hearing new updates from the financial industry.  FHA has just announced the following changes:

1.) Increase in the up-front mortgage insurance fee, paid by borrowers, from 1.75% to 2.25%.

2.) Allowable seller concessions will be reduced from 6% to 3%

3.) To qualify for the 3.5% down payment program, a borrower needs to have at least a minimum FICO score of 580.  Borrowers with lower than 580 score will have to put down 10%. 

The last change probably has the least impact on home buyers since currently represents a smaller segment of the market.  Read more here

(Update: The up-front mortgage insurance fee was subsequently reduced in October 2010 from 2.25% to 1% )


Top Seattle Condo Market Developments and Trends

Before we focus too much on 2010, here's a quick look back at some of the most notable elements of the 2009 Seattle condo story.

1. Auctions 
2009 was the year for auctions. Queen Anne High School, Lumen, Brix and Gallery successfully sold most of their auctioned homes with closed price per square foot ranging from $334 to $439.  Brix and Gallery subsequently adjusted prices for their remaining homes and sales picked up swiftly.  Brix got approved by the FHA.  Meanwhile, Sunrise on the Lake, The Summit, and Avaview sold 19 of their 38 homes last December.

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