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March 2018

Elev8 Project in Bellevue Has Been Sold

MZA Rendering3According to a recent PSBJ article, "Stanford Hotels has acquired a controlling interest in the four-skyscraper Elev8 project, paying Plus Investment Inc. $128 million for the 4.6-acre property". The site is located at NE 8th St between 108th and 110th.

Plus Investment's original plan was to build two 40-story towers in the first phase, one would be 351 luxury condominiums for sale and one would be 448 apartments for rent with retail at the base of both. Then in a second phase, a 3rd residential tower and an office building would round out Bellevue's largest high-rise development.

Since the original plan, the city has rezoned this area and now towers can rise up to 600 feet tall. Stanford has confirmed that the project will now have office space, residential and hospitality (hotel) uses and that they will consider the new zoning when redesigning the project.

As of now, pre-sales are anticipated to start in fall of 2019.

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


How Are My Property Taxes Determined?

How are my property taxes determined? They should be 1% of current market value, correct?

Well, no not really.  Last week, I covered why property taxes are estimated for new construction condos, this week I want to dig deeper into how your property taxes are determined, especially in light of the recent news about the upcoming Local Improvement District (LID) tax that will be used to help fund the new waterfront revitalization in Seattle.

Taxes10First a Couple of Myths:

  1. Aren’t my property taxes supposed to be 1% of current market value? No, this is a common misconception. While there is state legislation that caps the regular combined property taxes at 1% of your property's assessed value, this cap does not include voter approved special levies such as those for schools, or local improvement district (LID) taxes. So, your property tax bill could be more than 1% of your assessed value, or it could be less.    
  2. Current market value and tax assessed value should be the same amount. Not true. Your tax assessed value is determined by the county assessor’s office. The current market value of a property is just that, what the buying market is willing to pay for your property.  This can change from month to month in any given year based on the market activity and recent sales in that area. While it’s true that the market value of your home may influence whether your taxes go up or go down over time, your tax assessed value will remain the same for the year of the current assessment, until the assessor reassesses it for your next year’s tax bill. 

Now that we have that out of the way, where does the actual tax amount come from, you might wonder?

Well, it’s based on the specific tax district that your property is within, and what the specific levy rate is for that district.  And it’s assessed per $1,000 of assessed value. In the city of Seattle’s case, most of the city falls under levy code 0010 which for 2018 is $9.56207 per $1,000 of tax assessed value. However, there are 8 taxing districts within Seattle so it does depend where the property is located within the city.   

But to keep it simple, here is an example. Say you own a condo up on Queen Anne that has a tax assessed value of $500,000 for 2018.  The levy code for this area is 0010, which like most areas of Seattle is $9.56207 per $1,000 of assessed value. So, in this example, the annual total property tax would be $4,781 assuming there are no other special assessments or LID taxes for the tax district.  Further, let’s assume the condo was recently on market and sold for $650,000 after multiple offers.  In this example, even though the “market value” of the condo is $650,000, which was verified by the buyer’s lender’s appraiser when it sold, the tax owed is still based off the last tax assessed value of $500,000 and will remain that way until the tax assessor reassesses the property value.

For more information on tax levy rates, and the specific levy codes for Seattle,  you can visit the King County Tax Assessors website at www.kingcounty.gov/assessor

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


Client Question: "Why When Buying New Construction Condos are my Property Taxes Estimated?"

Client Question: "Why When Buying New Construction Condos are my Property Taxes Estimated?"

Tax9Dear Why Are My Taxes Estimated,

If you are buying a new construction condo, such as our clients who just purchased at the recently completed Gridiron condominiums, the exact amount of your annual property taxes will not yet be known and an estimated amount will be used.

This is because the county tax assessor’s office takes some time after a condo building is completed to separate the one tax parcel, for the lot the building was built on, into individual condo units with individually assigned property values and tax assessed amounts based on those values.  Because of this, there will only be an estimate at the time of closing that will be used by the buyer’s lender and/or escrow company to pay those estimated property taxes upon closing. How much do they estimate you might ask? Well, it does depend on the lender, but it’s fairly common that they will use an amount equal to 1% of the purchase price as the estimated amount for the year. Then, at closing, they will pro-rate that amount to pay the taxes to the county and take an additional 3-6 month’s worth of the estimated taxes (called impounds) to fund your mortgage’s escrow account so your lender can pay the taxes on your behalf when they come due again.

So for example, if you are buying a $700,000 condo unit, the estimated annual property tax bill will be $7,000. This amount will be pro-rated to reflect the time you owned the condo during the current tax bill period and used to pay your taxes current with the county.

Once the county tax assessor's office separates the tax parcel, they will update your property tax account to reflect the actual tax amount and then your mortgage company, who pays your property taxes on your behalf, will adjust the amount that is owed and will send the property owner a notice. If you have over paid based on the estimated tax amount, then your account will show a credit and if you have underpaid (which is likely not the case) then they would adjust the account and send a bill for the difference.

Next week, more on how the property tax amount you owe is actually determined.

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


Gridiron Condominiums Update - Remaining Units & Our Thoughts

Gridiron, the new construction condominium in Pioneer Square, has received it's certificate of occupancy and has started closing homes. Now that the building is mostly complete, we were able to walk through, tour the building and amenities, learn about the remaining available units and enjoy the actual views and finishes in person.

We summarized the basics and also added in some additional information along with our opinions. Additional photos are also below.

20180308_134000THE BASICS:

  • 27 condo units left available
    • 7 are 2 bedrooms and the rest are open one or one bedroom homes
  • Remaining open 1 bedrooms
    • 620 to 819 square feet
    • Priced from $606,900 to $786,900
    • HOA dues from $447 to $591
  • Remaining 1 bedrooms
    • 771 to 855 square feet
    • Priced from $721,900 to $811,900
    • HOA dues from $557 to $616
  • Remaining 2 bedrooms
    • 983 to 1,034 square feet
    • Prices from $881,900 to $1,056,900
    • HOA dues from $708 to $745
  • Parking: NOT included with any home; one space is available for purchase for an additional $50,000 for homes priced above $671,900
  • Storage: No storage units are remaining
  • HOA dues: calculated at around $.70/sqft; include garbage, gas, earthquake insurance, concierge and building maintenance
  • Amenities: rooftop deck with BBQs and seating areas, party room with kitchen, wine storage lockers, gym, dog run, concierge

Continue reading "Gridiron Condominiums Update - Remaining Units & Our Thoughts" »


Koda is 95% Reserved & One88 70% Sold

20180224_110105After the reservation event for Koda Condominium Flats in the International District, 95% of the 203 units have first position reservations and deposits in place and an additional 80 have second and third position reservations as well.  There was a large turnout for the event (photo) and, as usual, the more affordable units sold first.

As for One88, Bosa's new construction building in Bellevue, they have announced that they sold over 100 out of 143 units (70%) in their private sales events. Opening this weekend on Saturday 3/10 to the public, there is not a whole lot of inventory left to choose from and none under $2M. One88 did not take reservations, they went straight to purchase contracts.

Based on this data, there is high demand for new construction condominium inventory in Seattle and Bellevue. Perhaps this type of response to these condominium building offerings will encourage more developers to build condo instead of apartment in the next cycle or for those developers who already have building permits in place and have not yet decided what type of product to build, rent or own, perhaps this information might lead them to build condominium product and help release the log jam of buyers looking to buy condominiums in our regions biggest cities.

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