Northgate condos Feed

Massive Redevelopment of Northgate Mall Bringing New Services & Vibrancy to this North Seattle Neighborhood

Northgate 2According to a recent PSBJ article, the owners of Northgate mall will be taking on a major overhaul of the property to include reducing the retail space and adding in its place office space, residential units, restaurants and a hotel. This is exciting as this north Seattle neighborhood has started to become known for its aging mall (though it does have my wife’s favorite shoe store, DSW!) and the big box stores of Target and Best Buy across the street.  This image and the mall itself will be getting a substantial face lift. No, let’s call it a complete makeover!

The new mall will have the ground floor areas remaining as retail and restaurants while above that would be a mix of hotel, multifamily residential, and office space. They are also talking about adding green space that the neighborhood can enjoy and benefit from!

While this topic might not seem important to a condominium blog, we disagree. Northgate is going through a bit of a renaissance. With the new light rail station coming soon, able to whisk people into Downtown in 14 minutes, we believe the neighborhood will soon be booming when it comes to real estate popularity. Now add to that the redevelopment of the Northgate mall to include more neighborhood amenities, we think Northgate will be the next up and coming neighborhood in Seattle that will experience higher than average appreciation.

Hopefully the residential portion of the Northgate mall redevelopment will include at least some condominiums to help with the extreme shortage of newer condominiums in our city.  While this is not yet known, we’ll cross our fingers that the developers are able to deliver some pre-sale condo opportunities.  What we hear most from buyers is that they want to be close to amenities with an easy and short commute into Downtown and South Lake Union, so it seems like a great opportunity for that. Of course, not all people work Downtown or near a light rail stop, but for those that do, the light rail is a real benefit and directly affects real estate demand. Look at how much Columbia City and Hillman City have boomed since the light rail went in on the south end of the city.  With the addition of restaurants, cafes and a more modern retail, this neighborhood will have tons to walk to. If your job relocates to the new office space there, you will be even better off.

Amenities and transit, coming soon to Northgate. And hopefully, condos.

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


Our New and Improved Seattle Condominium Building Map

Seattle Condo Map (2)Since our blog's inception back in 2006, our Seattle Condo Map has been a place where our readers could go to find information about the various buildings in and around the Downtown Seattle core.

We decided that it was time to revamp SCR's Seattle Condo Map, expanding it to include all buildings in Seattle, to include more detailed information about each building and to create it in a format that allows our readers to search it for information important to them that might not be readily available either online, or within other real estate sites that rely only on information from the MLS.

We are very proud to announce that our new and improved Seattle Condo Map has launched!!!

Our new map contains information about all condominium buildings in the city of Seattle! It is a constant work in progress as condo buildings go through updates, condo buildings become apartment buildings, apartment buildings become condo buildings, new condominium buildings are proposed and new construction buildings are completed. The information contained in our Seattle Condo Map will continue to be updated so please make sure you check back in with the map often. We intend to add links to our Condo Review articles to each building as we review them so our write ups with pros, cons and stats about the building will be available via one click from the map listings. This is something we are actively working on and think will be an amazing resource tool for those looking to buy or sell their condo. 

A couple things to know about our new map:

  • There is a directory of buildings that is organized by area - Downtown Area, Northeast Seattle, Northwest Seattle, Queen Anne & Magnolia, South Seattle, Central Seattle and West Seattle
  • The buildings are also color coded to denote the following categories - luxury, proposed, under construction, historic or co-op
  • You can search the map if you open it up - for example, you can search 'concierge' and see all of the buildings in Seattle with concierge services

Since this map will forever be dynamic, we encourage you, as our readers, to let us know if any buildings are missing or if any of our information is incorrect. We want to do our best to provide the most accurate information we can and we need you all to make that happen!

We hope you find the map interesting and helpful and we hope it is a tool you will bookmark and enjoy using for many years.

Check the map out here! Or from the navigation bar on our website.

Cheers-
Marco and Loren Kronen


Seattle Bank Owned and Short Sales Update

Thanks Marco on the great wrap up for 2012 Seattle Condo Market!

For those of you who are still curious about distressed properties and their impact on the market (bank owned and short sale inventory), this is for you. More than 6 months ago, we pulled some data from NWMLS on bank owned and short sale condos. At that time, bank owned and short sale condos made up about 19% of the total listings. Last month's data shows that it was almost the same. However, if you compare that to almost 2 years ago, distressed assets as a percent of all on the market went down significantly.

In the first half of 2012, we had a total of 315 distressed condos, during the 2nd half, it went down to 259 sales. Interestingly, bank owned properties sales dropped from 186 to 93  in the 2nd half of last year while short sale condos went up by almost 30% from 129 to 166 sales perhaps an indication of banks starting to work with owners when a short sale is proposed.

In summary, we had fewer distressed condos coming on the market in 2012 than in 2011; so far we are not seeing any influx of bank owned properties coming on the market. I agree with Marco's prediction that we are not likely to see an increase in them in 2013; this will be a good news for sellers.  

2013-02-12_21-33-49
( Data extracted from NWMLS on 01/29/2013 and are deemed reliable but not guaranteed. 

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

Related posts:

Seattle Bank Owned and Short Sale Properties July 2012

Seattle Bank Owned and Short Sales Properties April 2011


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.

Continue reading "2012 Seattle Condo Market in Review - The Year of Dwindling Inventory " »


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.

Continue reading "Client Question of the Week: Is the VA Loan Program Available for Condos?" »


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.

Continue reading "FHA Changes Mean Help for Condo Buyers, Sellers and HOAs" »


Client Question of the Week: My condo's tax assessed value went down, does that mean my condo value decreased?

Property tax image

Recently a client emailed me a great question that we felt many people would benefit from knowing the answer to.

“Marco, I recently received a tax assessment notice in the mail and it showed my condo value has gone down since I bought it earlier this year. But I'm seeing condo prices in the area are increasing. Should I appeal to the tax assessor’s office to increase my tax assessment to be more in line with recent market sales, as I'm afraid this might hurt my condo's value now and in the future? I realize this might mean my annual taxes may go up, but I'm just not sure what is best.”

Great question!

Continue reading "Client Question of the Week: My condo's tax assessed value went down, does that mean my condo value decreased? " »


Seattle Condo Market Update: Jun 2012

June numbers are in and the Seattle condo recovery story appears to be an encouraging, if slightly boring trend (much like our national economy).  

  • At a macro level, after a more sluggish 1Q12,  the Seattle condo market is clearing it's fairly modest inventory quite regularly.
  • Sales were up slightly every month for the year 2012 including June 2012.  
  • Median prices were as steady as a rock holding between $260-$270k for the last 3 months (though this was up considerably over our Jan-Feb median price of $200-210k).  
  • Inventory has also been steady at around 600 listings since March (though down over Jan-Feb inventory of around 700 units).
  • At a neighborhood level, there aren't any big outliers either.  Every place seems to be following the same pattern (slow 1Q12 and now steady 2Q12).

I suppose this is the new normal :-)

Neighborhood Stats
 
 

Continue reading "Seattle Condo Market Update: Jun 2012" »


Northgate's Thornton Place Development

Thornton_place_development

Northgate is not an area that I focus on but I thought this was a really interesting development.  As most of us shopaholics know, major renovation work has been taking place at the Northgate Mall.

What you may not have noticed is the Thornton Place project scheduled for completion in the spring of 2009. This six-acre project is being developed by Lorig, a real estate development and management company, in partnership with Stellar Holdings and ERA Care communities.

Continue reading "Northgate's Thornton Place Development" »