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December 2013

How Much Income Do You Need to Buy a Place in Seattle?

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If you are thinking about buying, I found the research from a new study conducted by HSH.com, the largest publisher of mortgage and consumer loan information, very interesting. 

We all know condo values are expensive in Seattle, and what you make for income is a key component to whether or not you can afford to buy in Seattle, or any city for that matter.  The report shows that, after researching mortgage rates and median home prices in 25 of the country’s largest metropolitan areas, Seattle ranks #7 for annual salary needed to cover the principal and interest payments on an average home or condo.

“The study indicates that New York City requires the fourth highest salary ($71,254.65) in the nation to cover the costs necessary to purchase a home. Meanwhile, San Francisco requires the highest salary, at $125,071.78.” Seattle was the 7th highest at $63,145.41, right behind Washington DC and Boston.

In my opinion, the increase in prices for condos and houses in Seattle has been created by the low inventory of available properties causing buying competition and that is likely the cause for our low affordability currently.  Check out the details of the report and see where your other favorite city might rank here.

Does this mean you shouldn’t buy a place if you make less than $63,145 per year?  Of course not, there are many affordable condo options within our city and many factors go into determining what a lender might approve you for.  Additionally some buildings and neighborhoods are more affordable than others.  Still the report was rather enlightening and I wanted to share.

And look on the bright side; at least you are not buying in New York or San Francisco.  

By Marco Kronen with Seattle Condo Review: A guide to Seattle downtown condos.


How Will the New Seattle Tunnel and Removal of the Viaduct Affect Condo Views and Values? Part 4 of 4- The Wrap Up and Marco’s Top 5

As we wrap up this series on how condo views and value might be affected by the new tunnel and removal of the viaduct, first a brief recap of the first 3 parts of the series.  In Part 1 we covered those condominiums at the south end of Downtown near the tunnel’s “south portal” in the Pioneer Square area, in Part 2 we moved north and reported on the impacts to those condos in the West Edge and Market Districts of downtown, and in Part 3 of the series we continued north and reviewed the condominiums in the Belltown neighborhood as well as those near the tunnel’s new north portal near South Lake/Denny Triangle as well.

I thought the best way to wrap up this series was to highlight those buildings that I feel will have the largest impact to the views and/or condo values in the years to come as the tunnel is completed in 2016 and new Alaskan Way and Waterfront are redone through 2020. 

Drum roll please, Marco’s Top 5 to watch are (in no particular order):
Viaduct Part 4

Continue reading "How Will the New Seattle Tunnel and Removal of the Viaduct Affect Condo Views and Values? Part 4 of 4- The Wrap Up and Marco’s Top 5" »


Condo Review - Olive 8 a Downtown Seattle High Rise Condo with Hyatt Olive 8 Hotel

Olive 8 in Downtown
737 Olive Way

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Having recently worked with a client interested in the Olive 8 Condominiums I realized it had been a long while since we updated the review of this downtown condo since it was newly built back in 2008.

Located at 8th Ave and Olive Street, this building is both Olive 8 Condominiums and The Hyatt Hotel at Olive 8. It is centrally located near Downtown shopping, the business district, as well as the transit tunnel, which allows for quick connection to buses and the light rail for easy commutes to the airport, and over to the eastside (soon the light rail with also have a route up to Capitol Hill and further north to the University of Washington campus as well).

Olive 8 is NOT a “condotel”, where owners contribute their units to a rental pool that is managed by the hotel and rented out on a nightly basis.  The condominiums have a separate HOA and management company as well as separate entrance and concierge staff from the hotel.

The stats:

  • 229 units –1 and 2 bedrooms, and only one 3 bedroom
  • Range in size from to 650 to 4,315
  • 39 stories
  • Built in 2009
  • 12 units have sold in the last 6 months ranging in price from $415,000 to $1,260,000; at the time of this post 1 unit is pending at a list price of $899,000 and 4 are active ranging in price from $525,000 to $590,000
  • HOA dues include: Water, sewer, garbage, gas for the cooktop, central hot eater, building insurance, concierge and building management and maintenance staff
  • Dues do NOT include the Health Club membership for use fo the gym pool, spa, and hot tub.  A separate fee of $60 per month is charged for a single membership or $100 per month for a couple.
    • Amenities: party room, game room, view terrace, doggie relief area, and access to the Hotel’s Health Club package

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Summary of Potential New Construction Condos

In the last few months more and more developers have announced new projects under development in the city. Some have indicated what the final product will be, whether it is office, apartments, hotel, condos or a combination. But some developers have remained tight lipped as to what the project will be when it is completed. We thought seeing a summary of what is to come that could potentially be condos would be of interest.

Blue: Announced as condos but not yet under construction
Red: Announced as condos and under construction
Green: Announced but intended use not yet specified

Upcoming Projects Map

By Marco Kronen with Seattle Condo Review: A guide to Seattle downtown condos.


Condo Review – Royal Crest in Belltown

Royal Crest in Belltown
2100 3rd Ave Seattle

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The Royal Crest is one of Belltown’s original condo towers and is located on 3rd Ave and Lenora Street toward the southern end of Belltown.  Although an older building, compared to many of the newer options in Belltown, it can offer a more affordable option for those looking for views and the Downtown/Belltown location for those not wanting to spend $600-$800/square foot that might be needed for a newer high-rise condo close to downtown.  

The stats:

  • 132 units – studios, 1 and 2 bedrooms
  • Range in size from to 572 to 2100
  • 26 stories
  • Built in 1973
  • Less than half of the units have parking as there are only 60 parking spaces in the building.
  • All of the units (except 1) have storage
  • 5 units have sold in the last 6 months ranging in price from $205,000 to $532,500; at the time of this post 2 units are pending that were listedat $211,000 and $262,000 and 2 are active ranging in price from $345,000 to $420,000
  • HOA dues include: Cable TV, central hot water, earthquake insurance, on-site manager, electricity, garbage, water and sewer
  • Amenities: party room, gym, sauna and swimming pool

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