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February 2012
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March 2012

Ask Wendy Questions about Seattle Condos


AskHi Folks:

I'm experimenting with a new feature where SCR readers can submit Seattle condo questions and I'll pick a couple and answer them.  They could be questions about a particular condo, the market, the condo buying and selling process, working with a Realtor, etc.

Just post your question in the comments link here and I'll pick a few to answer of the coming weeks!

 


Smith Tower Gets Big Time New Owner: No Plans Announced Yet


250px-SmithTower_Seattle_WA_USA2Smith Tower, which was once supposed to be converted to luxury condos before the developer defaulted on the mortage, was auctioned off and purchased by Texas firm CBRE Capital Markets. No news of what they plan to do with the building but people seem to be hopeful the new owners will make long-deferred repairs and do something interesting.  

For what it's worth, CBRE seems to be a deep-pocketed company with recent debt financing transactions all over the country including some in Seattle such as a $50M+ loans to projects such as Lincoln Square, the Space Needle, and Hyatt Bellevue in addition to a having a commerical real estate services division with 29,000 employees.

For more info, I've summarized some useful links below:

CBRE 

NPR Story on Smith Tower (Includes audio interview with a family living in the penthouse.)

Seattle Times story (includes interviews with local real estate players).]

By Wendy Leung with Seattle Condo Review. A guide to Seattle condos exclusively for buyers and sellers.


Q&A with Harvard and Highland's Melissa Camp


HarvardA lot of people have been asking me about the Harvard & Highland project on Capitol Hill so I wanted to get an update on the project from the lead sales rep, Melissa Camp.  Please see her unedited replies to my questions about this unique project below!

Wendy: What's the most compelling thing that draws people to the project? 

Melissa: The value - there is no other product offering new construction design, quality and location such as this.

Wendy: Every project isn't right for every buyer; how would a buyer know H&H is the right fit for them? 

When people want the quality and feel of a single family home, but the benefit of maintenance free / lock n go lifestyle; all within a close proximity of the culture benefits of downtown Seattle.  All those puzzle pieces put together make the right fit.  It’s walkable to the ‘city’ restaurants but still within a timeless neighborhood of North Capitol Hill.

Wendy: Can you tell us a little about the remaining units available? 

Continue reading "Q&A with Harvard and Highland's Melissa Camp" »


Seattle Times says Downtown is "Booming"


Nordstrom-Seattle-DowntownNice column this week by Jon Talton of the Seattle Times.  The basic gist is he believes Seattle's downtown avoided the morass of a lot of other cities and is on the upswng due to things like Amazon's growth, Viaduct project, Gates Foundation, inflow of downtown residents, and our great human capital.  

Many places dream about a "live-work-play"downtown. Seattle actually has one.

The biggest reasons: Seattle never allowed its downtown to collapse, especially losing all its retail to malls. Cities such as Phoenix and Charlotte, N.C., that allowed this have found it nearly impossible to reverse. Seattle didn't experience massive tear-downs, replacing buildings with surface-parking lots. Downtown fits into a larger central core fabric with attractive, affluent and even funky neighborhoods.

For Jon's full article, look here.

By Wendy Leung with Seattle Condo Review. A guide to Seattle condos exclusively for buyers and sellers.


Seattle Condo Neighborhoods Show Divergent Pricing Trends

February 2012 Seattle condo market data is in.  Here are the most interesting takeaways and some nice charts.

Good News

  • Number of sales from January 2012 to February 2012 was up about 5%.
  • Year-over-year sale volume from February 2011 to February 2012 were up about 15%.

 Mixed News

  • Prices overall looked weak with February 2012 median prices coming in at $202,000 (last few months of 2011 were in the $230-40K range).
  • West Seattle and Ballard/Green Lake had the biggest pricing pressure with median closed sale prices sinking from $202K to $112K in West Seattle and from $209K to $147K in Ballard/Green Lake.
  • Not all neighborhoods faired badly.  In fact, median prices in Belltown/Downtown jumped considerably from $363K in January to $405K in February.  Queen Anne/Magnolia also showed nice strength in pricing with median closed prices rising from $171K to $190K from January to February.

Continue reading "Seattle Condo Neighborhoods Show Divergent Pricing Trends" »


WA Unemployment Rate Drops & Seattle Ranked #3 for Tech Startup Jobs

At least there is good news for January report on the job front.  GeekWire reported that unemployment rates have fallen lower than expected. Read more on GeekWire

"A new report out today finds that the seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate fell to 8.3 percent during January as more than 13,000 jobs were added in various sectors.

New research also shows Washington gained more jobs last year than previously estimated. The data shows that Washington gained about 53,500 jobs in 2011, compared to the 26,600 jobs previously reported. Since the low point in the recession, the state has regained about 98,000 jobs, the state said."


In a related story, Payscale reported Seattle is the #3 city in America for tech startup jobs based on the number of jobs available and their average pay.

With all these jobs being offered, we can only hope this will help quicken our recovery for the economy in Seattle and hopefully, housing sales as well.

By Wendy Leung with Seattle Condo Review. A guide to Seattle condos exclusively for buyers and sellers.