Fremont condos Feed

November 2014 Seattle Condo Stats

Each month we go back and take a look at condo market sales here in Seattle as reported by the MLS.

We first take a look at the whole city of Seattle to get a general overview of our area’s condo market and then we drill down by neighborhood using the MLS areas focusing on the areas that have the largest concentration of condos here in our city.  Those areas we closely track are:

  • Capitol Hill/Central/Madison Valley (area 390)
  • Queen Anne/Magnolia (area 700)
  • Downtown/Belltown/SLU (area 701)
  • Ballard/Fremont/Wallingford/Phinney (area 705)

We then use this data and information to make forecasts and to help buyers and sellers make decisions on their real estate needs.
SCR Market Chart (Nov 2014)_Page_1

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Seattle Condo Summer 2013 Update

As we wrap up summer and head into our fall real estate market, it's a good time to look back at how our condo market did over the summer months and see where the numbers fall in the areas we regularly track.  In this update we are also adding a new area at the request of several readers who asked us to also report on the Ballard /Fremont/ Phinney/ Wallingford neighborhoods.  This is known as area 705 within in our MLS. 

In general, pricing for all of Seattle condo sales is up on a year-over-year comparison to 2012 summer months.  Up 10% in June, 12% in July, and up 16% in August.  Again these are over last year's prices for each respective month.

Despite the pricing increases,  buyers still seem to be motivated to purchase and the numbers confirm this as we saw a consistent trend up for the number of closed condo sales throughout the Seattle condo market when comparing on a month-over-month basis throughout the summer.  On a year-over-year basis we saw June being somewhat flat (slight decrease below 2012) but July and August showed large increases in the number of closed condo sales over 2012 at 21% and 24% higher respectively.

With both prices as well as the number of sales increasing, one big factor that is  interesting is the number of new listings for buyers to choose from is not coming up that much. For the summer months, all three posted lower number of new listings over the same months last year.  21% less for June, July was 14% less, and August had 2% fewer new listings coming on the market over last year.  My guess for this is that many would-be sellers are still upside down on what they owe on their mortgage balances in relation to their condo values, but as prices continue to edge up, it will be interesting to see when this turning point of increasing inventory will start to kick in.  It is important to note , however, that month over month, the number of listings did trend up this summer from June through August, so perhaps that will continue.  We will see.

Diving into the stats for the specific neighborhoods, this summer we saw area 701 (Downtown, Belltown, South Lake Union) with the highest median prices with a blended average of the median prices coming in at  $418,000 and area 705 (Ballard, Fremont, Wallingford) at the lowest of the areas in this update that we track at $240,000 for the blended average of the median prices over the summer.  In the middle was area 390 (Cap Hill, Madison, Central) at $296,000 and Queen Anne/Magnolia (area 700) at $303,916 for the blended average of the summer month's median sales prices.  Just for comparison, city wide,  the blended average of June, July and August's median prices came in  $294,983 which was a 6% increase over the summer months of  2012.  

So no major surprises that prices are up and sales are up, but with inventory remaining somewhat flat we still have some interesting times ahead in the Seattle condo market.  Barring any major increases in interest rates, it seems to me that prices should still continue to inch up until we see more condo inventory coming to the market. 

Aug 2013 Market Update Chart_Page_1

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It's a Seller's Market: Seattle Condo March 2013 Update

I took a look at March 2013 data and pretty much every neighborhood has the same story.  Sales up. Median prices up.  Inventory flat.  

If you were one of those condo investors waiting for the market to pick up to avoid having to have a unit sit on the market too long, your time may have come.  You'll not reap huge windfalls from a pricing point of view but you'll certainly see some action and at a price that's considerably more than you would have gotten a year ago.

In terms of neighborhoods, Belltown/Downtown and Queen Anne/Magnolia both had almost double the units sold in March as they did in Feb but number of listings available was either flat or down versus February.  

 

Seattle Condo Sales MOM

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2012 Seattle Condo Market in Review - The Year of Dwindling Inventory

As we start off 2013, every year in January we like to take a quick pause to take a look back and recap the major events, trends, and milestone from the previous year and for the heck of it, make some forecasts and predictions for the upcoming year.

Trends of 2012 and Events Worth Noting

We saw our condo market absorption rates increase and inventory dwindle to the point nearly all segments of our Seattle condo market were leaning toward a seller’s market with less than three months of inventory. 

Multiple offers returned but interestingly enough we did not see a sharp incline in pricing. This is likely due to buyers who were much more conservative and resistant to overpaying in light of the recent market crash. This could also be due to more stringent appraisal review practices by lenders, which many applaud.

2200 Condominiums in South Lake Union reached the largest construction defect settlement in state history with its developer for $26 million dollars.

We saw the return of investor buyers. An increase in all cash purchases seemed to indicate investors gained confidence in spending again.

Many newer condominium buildings entered litigation with their developers in accordance with the Washington State Condominium Act’s construction warranty time frames. This further limited available condo units on the market because units that are for sale in buildings with pending litigation have a very hard time obtaining buyer financing.

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Client Question of the Week: Is the VA Loan Program Available for Condos?

1This week, new clients of mine wondered what their options were for a downtown condo that would qualify for the VA loan program. The Department of Veteran Affairs loan program is available to those military veterans and active duty personnel that have accumulated enough service time to be eligible for the favorable terms afforded by this loan program.  Benefits over conventional loan programs include market interest rates, reduced down payment requirements, no monthly mortgage insurance, as well as more flexibility with debt to income ratios and closing costs.

What’s the catch? Condominium buildings must go through the VA's condo project approval process.  Similar to the FHA approval process, an HOA would need to provide supporting documents verifying the eligibility of the condominium community as a whole.  No longer can an individual condo owner seek VA approval if they are either refinancing or selling their condo.  It's all or nothing.  VA looks at things such as overall financial health of the HOA, percentage of rental units, percentage of units that are delinquent on dues, and level of insurance protection, to name a few.  Currently, very few VA approved condominium buildings exist in the downtown core of Seattle.  Newer condo projects in the Downtown, Belltown, Midtown and South Lake Union area especially, lack this VA approval.  So it can be challenging for those wanting to use the VA loan program to find options in our already low inventory market.

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FHA Changes Mean Help for Condo Buyers, Sellers and HOAs

2200_westlake_001The Federal Housing Authority (FHA) recently changed several of its outdated and controversial guidelines, which might help those looking to buy or sell a condo.  Rule changes are “temporary” but include things such as increases to the allowance on percentage of commercial space within a condo project, increased flexibility on percentage of delinquent HOA dues, less liability for HOA Board Members who sign off on the FHA application, as well as allowances for increases in the number of units that can be rented at one time or owned by one person in a building. All of these changes have the ability to help condo buildings, condo owners, and of course buyers who are using FHA loans.

A recent article in the Seattle Times summarized some of the key relaxed guidelines the FHA recently announced.   I wanted to share this article with you and go into more detail about how it affects us here in Seattle. If you are a buyer, seller, or HOA board member, and FHA has been a topic of recent discussions, you might want to revisit it. As of September 13th you now have more options so I’d take another look to see if your condo building or one you thought about buying in might now be in a position to get FHA approval.

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Azul & Live Fremont Condos

I've been reviewing quite a number of condo projects in downtown and Capitol Hill lately so I thought this time I would venture a little further from the downtown core and look at some conversion projects that I have been wanting to check out in the center of the universe, Fremont.

Azul Condo Exterior Live Fremont Condo

Azul is a 4-story building located on 120 N 39th St.  This building was converted in early 2007.  There are 30 homes with studio, one bedroom, and two bedroom floor plans.  Studios are a little under 500 square feet, one bedroom's range anywhere from 476 sq.ft. to 705 sq.ft. and two bedrooms are 729 sq.ft. to 1,010 sq.ft.  Since the conversion, they have sold out of almost all the homes except for a studio ($175,500, 448 sq.ft.) and a one bedroom ($212,310, 464 sq.ft.).  More pictures.

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4217 Fremont- Sealed Bid Auction

Picture 010 IMG_0863

Remember 4217 Fremont Condos?  The developer for this 6 unit condo had sold two homes and turned the remaining homes into rental units.  Apparently, one of the owners is trying to sell the unit using a sealed bid auction but did not received any bids.  It seems to me that individual auction isn't as effective unless there's a critical mass grouped together.  Maybe someone in the real estate industry will start providing this type of service where every month, a whole bunch of condos get auctioned off. 

Related Posts:

4217 Fremont Condos
Queen Anne Condo Auction- By The Numbers
Canal Station Auction
Press Auction- Going Once, Going Twice, Gone!
Another Condo Auction
Capitol Hill Condos- Homes for Auction!


4217 Fremont

Img_0864 4217 Fremont, a boutique condo with only 6 units total started selling earlier this year. Surprisingly, the penthouse went off the market first.

Say what you will about the pricing, this is probably one of the most unique projects in Fremont. Featuring all two bedroom units, the homes range from 1,170 to 1,366 square feet. I took a look this week and of the remaining units, unit 4 seems to have the most interesting layout. At least one of the ground floor units has a nice patio out back but somehow I didn't feel entirely safe based on a few articles of discarded clothing that was in the corner by the stairs (unclear if it was left by the construction crew or someone else).

Unit_4

A few things about this condo:

The project started their pre-sales effort in 2004, however, the developer had a few projects going on and decided to put this condo on hold. After more than 1 year of no construction, they started on the construction again and completed it in 2007.

Looking at the layout, finishes and size, this is could be the ideal affluent bachelor pad for someone looking for a more modern, edgy and spacious layout in a central location.  Higher end Viking appliances and trendy glass cabinets grace the kitchen as well as really nicely done bathroom finishes.  With the road a bit noisy for the front facing units, the central air conditioning will probably come in handy for this building.

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