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June 2007

Alex Condos: Epicenter of Belltown

Img_0720 Alex condos, a new condo project on 1st and Bell has announced itself with some signage on the construction site generating lots of intrigue from local folks and savvy investors who understand the value of this prime location. With only 32 units in the building, assuming it's not extremely forward priced, it's likely this one will move pretty quickly.

I'll be doing some more research in the next few weeks to find out some more details on this project.  In the meantime, feel free to comment if you've heard anything.

(Alex has been renamed as Volta in 2010.)

-About Wendy

Out Of Town

I'll be out of town for about two weeks. During this period, I will be doing a couple of posts while I'm on the road, however, I won't be participating in the comments.  Feel free to talk among yourselves as you always do ;-)

Happy 4th of July!


2200 Westlake Flippers....Still Waiting to Flip

Img_0022_3I was doing some research for one of my clients this week who is interested in getting into a pre-sale construction project for the purpose of selling the property shortly after the construction is complete next year. While this may have been a lucrative practice a couple of years ago, the current data for 2200 Westlake investors tells an interesting story.

Specifically, there are 31 Westlake condo units on the market as of this post. Morever, 12 of them have been on the market for over 90 days and 7 of those have reduced their initial asking prices (price drops ranged from $20,000-$485,000). Regardless of whether one thinks flippers ought to make outsized profits or not, it's interesting to try and figure out what's going on. What has led to this challenges of all those pre-construction buyers who snapped up vulcan units, descended on grand openings, and listed their units for sale moments after they got the keys?

The bar chart below shows flipped units on the market by days on market -- less 30, 31-90, more than 90.


Continue reading "2200 Westlake Flippers....Still Waiting to Flip" »

Harvard and Highland Condos

Havard_and_highlandTired of high rise condos and looking for something more residential and unique? One interesting project, Harvard and highland condominiums will be located in Capitol Hill’s only residential landmark neighborhood (Harvard and Belmont). This is an area where many of the early 1900’s homes can be found that were designed by several renowned architects of their time. Harvard and Highland condominiums will be a concrete, steel and brick building and is scheduled for move-in in spring 2009.

The project will feature 38 high-end condominiums with units that come with large decks, private patios or terrace spaces. The sizes for these homes range from 1,635 to a whopping 3,745 square feet. This is not the typical type of condo that you see coming up on the Seattle market; the floor plans definitely look more like a residential house than a condo.


Continue reading "Harvard and Highland Condos" »

Upsizing from Condo Living

I've been recently working with some clients to move out of their condo. Initially, they thought they would still have a few more years before moving out of their lovely two bedroom condo in Belltown.  Subsequently, reality set in that it was going to be extremely hard to continue squeezing two adults, a home office, a future baby, and tons of stuff accumulated over the years into their 900 square foot living space. With the prices continuing to escalate for entry level single family houses near the city; they knew they would have to make it happen soon and get out of the perpetual “there might be something else better out there” search syndrome while they could still afford a bigger place.   

They ultimately made the decision to put in an offer for a house in Fremont about a 5 minute drive away from Belltown. Some of the questions that I helped them grapple with included: which neighborhood is already liveable today but is also going to be an increasingly desirable area in the future with good room for price appreciation? I did a lot of analysis looking at the comps, potential job growth in the different areas, price per square foot trends, future traffic issues, etc. One tool that I used as part of their search was the Zillow heat map which is pretty useful to take a look at the overall price per square foot for the different neighborhoods. Here is the heat map for Seattle.


Continue reading "Upsizing from Condo Living" »

The Pittsburgh

The_pittsburgh_exteriorThe Pittsburgh conversion on lower Queen Anne developed by Pioneer Property Group has started sales on their one bedroom units.

This three story apartment conversion comprises 4 buildings with 2 of them connected by one single entrance located along Warren Ave N and includes studios and one bedroom units. The 3rd and 4th building have a different exterior design also connected by one single entrance. These are located on the corner of Warren Ave N and John St and only come with 2 bedroom units.

Along the same street to the south of Pittsburgh is a new apartment construction project, Barrientos, which is slated for completion in Oct this year. The brick facade for this apartment will create a consistent look for Warren Ave N.

Compared to Queen’s Court, the Pittsburgh has more extensive work being done and the ceiling heights in the units are taller as well. 

Continue reading "The Pittsburgh" »

AVA condos

Ava_3Seattle's soon to be tallest residential tower (445 feet), AVA will break ground this fall. Local renowned architect Weber + Thompson and award winning interior designer Garret Cord Werner will be involved in this hotel/condo project on 8th and Pine St.

According to Blaine Weber, principal of Weber + Thompson, "AVA will be a graceful, tall and slender addition to the skyline." Ceiling heights for these homes will range from 9.5 to more than 12 feet, full height windows, air conditioning, and European inspired interiors will focus on entertainment spaces, spacious bathrooms and walk in closets and owner flexibility. Most homes will include either a balcony or a solarium (which can open to outdoors a large terrace or be enclosed to create a sunroom). Sound familiar? That's right, 1521, another W+T recent project has the window solarium feature as well.

The preview event will occur in July, home buyers will have the opportunity to view their offerings and to make a reservation prior to public release. Finishes and interior specification information will also be available during the event.

Other Weber + Thompson projects:

Expo 62

Icon Tower
7th and Westlake

Related posts:

Seattle Condo Construction Update
AVA Sneak Preview
AVA Update
8th and Pine-AVA

Interested in working with a condo expert?  Contact Wendy



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Belltown Market Analysis


May 2007 data came in fairly strong - despite all the pessimists who were forecasting a steep decline in the making. In Belltown/Downtown, inventory shot up from 120 active listings in May 2006 to 308 active listings in May 2007. While this may seem like a major increase, closed sales went up by almost the same percentage from 26 sold in May 2006 to 67 sold in May 2007.

In contrast, Queen Anne, Lake Union, and Magnolia and Capitol Hill, Central, and Madison Park had active listings increase at a higher rate year over year than closed sales.

Continue reading "Belltown Market Analysis" »

Pre-Construction Purchasing

SeattleconstructionWith the magnitude of post-construction condo profits no longer a sure thing, some folks may want to take some more time to fully evaluate whether it's right for them. 

Here are some things to keep in mind when buying a condo as you drive past a construction site:

  • What is the builder's track record at completing projects on spec and on time?
  • What is the marketing company's track record at communicating with buyers throughout the sales process and before closing?
  • What will the unit feel like?  How can you evaluate the floor plan as realistically as possible?
  • What upgrades are appropriate and how are they priced?
  • Should you lock your interest rate? Lock it sooner and pay for the costs or lock it later when the construction is closer to completion or not lock it at all?
  • How is the unit priced in light of a market trends and other projects in the pipeline?
  • How will you time selling your current property and close on the new one?
  • How prepared are you for the project finishing 6 months late?
  • What is the developer's reputation for handling pre-closing punch list and post-construction defects?

Hope this helps!


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Seattle Condos 2.0

Though many new condos like Escala, Vulcan's projects, Cosmopolitan and Hotel 1 have been receiving a lot of attention in recent months, many home buyers are wondering "what's next?"

For those who have time or don't like what's on the immediate horizon, the good news is there is another wave of projects currently in the incubation stage as we speak. Some of these may not make it but many of them will.  Here are some highlights of the new projects in the pipeline.

A few interesting projects :




Skygarden              2301 6th Ave                 2nd and Pike
(First Hill)               (Belltown)                     (Downtown)

Continue reading "Seattle Condos 2.0" »