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April 2015

How Critical is Rental Percentage VS Owner Occupancy in an HOA?

Occuancy Percentage_RedactedIn previous years, the percentage of units within an building that were owner occupied was a big factor when it came to buying or refinancing using a mortgage.  I wanted to clear up some recent confusion on this matter as the guidelines have changed.  As a snap shot, it no longer matters how high or low the percentage is of units that are owner occupied, so long as the condo unit you are buying or refinancing is an owner occupied unit.  However, if a buyer is purchasing the unit as an investment (rental unit) or they are buying it as a second home, then the rental percentage is still a very important factor.

Check with your mortgage loan officer for details, but it is no longer critical to have the owner occupancy percentage above 51% if you are buying a condo to live in.   This is good news as many condo buildings are still recovering from the recession, where they gained higher than normal percentages of rental units as many owners who were not able to sell ended up being “accidental landlords”. As the condo market continues to improve and values increase, I believe we will start to see to rental percentages come down and level off anyway as more owners will be able to afford to sell as equity returns to their condos.


Seattle New Construction Condo Comparison

Many questions from our readers and clients come up about what the different available options are in the new construction and presale condos in our city. We wanted to offer some guidance to help people compare the options in terms of the price points, amenities as well and some pros and cons of each project as well. Other projects are in the works, but these are the buildings that have officially announced sales and gone public with the details about their projects.

Why consider a presale condo?

Presale condominium purchases are not for everyone, but if you are someone who has flexibility on timing, and are looking for the opportunity to select your floor plan, finishes, color palate, location within a building, and even choose your view orientation, than a presale purchase can be an ideal solution. Also in a market where current availability of units for sale is a challenge being patient and considering a new construction presale can be a great solution. But you also have to be okay with buying a home without seeing the actual physical condo you are buying and making a decision based off of a floor plan, drawings and architectural renderings.  There is a lot of blind faith involved when buying a presale condo.  My recommendations are to also take a look at the past completed projects by the developer of the building you are considering to see what those projects look and feel like.  Also, talk to people who have purchased from the developer in the past and do some research.

Some information will change as the condo projects progress but as a guide here is a great overview:

Condo Compare Page 1

Continue reading "Seattle New Construction Condo Comparison" »


Luma Pricing and Floor Plans Released

Luma Logo

Luma, the new construction condominium building in First Hill, has released their price ranges, interior finishes, amenity information and floor plans to the Broker community in advance of the public open house.

LUMA - 1321 SenecaPrice Ranges:

  • Open One Bedroom
    • 602-620 square feet
    • $350,000 to $400,000
  • One Bedroom
    • 648-1,012 square feet
    • $400,000 to $800,000
  • One Bedroom + Den
    • 847-858 square feet
    • $450,000 to $600,000
  • Two Bedroom
    • 1,181-1,356 square feet
    • $700,000 to $1,000,000
  • Two Bedroom + Den
    • 1,322-1,529 square feet
    • $800,000 to $1,000,000+
  • Live/Work
    • 1,233 square feet
    • $600,000 to $700,000
  • Penthouse
    • 1,586-1,721 square feet
    • pricing available upon request

Continue reading "Luma Pricing and Floor Plans Released" »


Insignia North Tower Sales Update

Insignia TowersInsignia started sales on its north tower 6 weeks ago and has, to date, sold 100 units.
With approximately 348 units in the north tower, that means they are already ~28% sold. And have sold an average of 17 condos per week since the grand opening for the north tower.

In the north tower, one bedrooms are priced from the $500,000s and two bedrooms are priced from the $600,000s.

One other interesting tidbit is we noticed that all of the units with large outdoor patio spaces, located on floors 7 and 9, have already sold. It seems that outdoor space is a commodity. Something to keep in mind when investing in a condo and for future developers to note when designing buildings.

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


New Condo Tower Coming to Bellevue

Bellevue Condo TowerWe may be the Seattle Condo Review, but a new construction condo tower in Bellevue is still important news for the condo market overall.

According to the PSBJ, Create World America, the Chinese real estate company who bought the property in Downtown Bellevue, will be building a condo tower and apartment tower as part of one development project. They have teamed up with a Seattle development company, Daniel's Real Estate, general contractor Lease Crutcher Lewis and design firm GGLO for the project. The site for the development is located at 10230 NE 10th St, where the Papa John's currently sits.

They will build the 6 story apartment building as the first phase and then the 17 to 19 story condo tower in the second phase. Phase one is expected to begin at the end of this year and phase two they hope will start by the end of 2016.

Because the Chinese culture is a driving force behind the design, they will build 110 three bedroom condo units to accommodate extended and multi-generational families. It will be interesting to see how these larger format condo units get gobbled up by the market. If they go fast and demand is high, we might see more units with this higher bedroom count coming our way in future projects.

Source: PSBJ, photo courtesy of PSBJ

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


Luma Condominium Update – Sales Center Opens to Public April 25th

LUMA BOYLSTON BACK VIEW cropLuma Condominiums has announced the public grand opening date for their sale center and it will be April 25th. As Brokers, we will be able to attend their sneak peak event earlier that week and will report back to you what we find out about the project.

Luma will have a first of its kind immersive virtual reality experience at the sale center. We are excited to check this out and see how this high-tech tool can help buyers get a better idea of what the building will be like before it is built.

We look forward to sharing what we learn about Luma and to seeing some of you at the Grand Opening on April 25th!