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October 2007

Hotel Condo Shoot Out

Seattle Hotel Condos

With many buyers deferring their purchases till next year, you'd think the condo-hotel projects would be slowing down a bit as well. As it turns out, buyers looking for this class of property seem to be fairly unaffected by the national market concerns. So far, the Seattle condo hotel market has proven quite resilient. Recently, I put together a table comparing each of the top Seattle condo-hotel projects for one of my clients and put an abridged version here as well as put a quick summary below for SCR readers. Hope it helps!

Olive 8

Olive_8_2Olive 8, the fourth hotel/condo project in Seattle has a scheduled completion in late 2008/early 2009. Its reasonable pricing and modern design atop the Hyatt hotel has been receiving a great response from the public. Even though some of the west facing units’ views are blocked by Qwest Building, home buyers do not seem to mind. The developer added 3 more levels on top of the originally planned 36 story building. Since a lot of units are sold, there is not a whole lot of selection available except for the top 3 levels. Olive 8 probably has the best value compared to the rest of the condo/hotel projects.

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Roof_top_deck_2Across from Olive 8, standing at about the same height is AVA. Most developers assign the higher floors for penthouse residential units to maximize as much revenue as possible. In AVA's case, they have chosen to allocate a portion of the space on the 38th level as their owners’ lounge and media room with an outdoor deck! Both AVA and Olive 8 enjoy close proximity to I5 and the transit Terminal making it easily accessible for out of town 2nd home owners. This makes for a great location to hop on to the soon to be opened light rail to get to the airport.

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Continue reading "Hotel Condo Shoot Out" »

Art House

So besides the recently completed Parc, Gallery and Alex (which are still in the works in Belltown), what else is in the pipeline for home buyers who are looking for an urban dwelling in trendy Belltown?

Art_house_2_3 Art_house_3

Art House: a new project nestled between two apartment buildings on 2334 Elliott Ave and one block away from the water's edge of Elliot Bay. Details are thin on this project but it's worth keeping an eye out.

The 9 story building will feature 117 units of studio, one bedroom, two bedroom and 2 story town home style floor plans. Prices will start at the high $200,000's. Judging from the website's rendering, the design has quite a substaintial amount of glass.  Will be interesting to see how they balance letting in lots of natural light and views while protecting privacy.


Seattle Real Estate news

If you're like many homebuyers sitting on the fence and wondering what is going to happen to the downtown condo market, here's an interesting article from the Seattle Post Intellingencer.


Some interesting data:

  • 83 percent of the more than 1,200 new downtown condo units that came on line in 2007 have been sold.
  • All of the more than 1,400 downtown units built from 2000 through 2006 have sold, according to market research firm Realogics.
  • Half of the approximately 1,600 condos Gardner expected to hit the market in 2010 still are looking for financing.
  • The state Office of Financial Management estimates the population of downtown Seattle -- the commercial core, South Lake Union, Belltown, the Denny Triangle and Pioneer Square -- grew by 31 percent from 2000 through April 1, 2006.


Seattle Real Estate Affordability

Many people were discussing Seattle's long term economic prospects on my recent market update thread (check out the lively comments at the end of the post).  Given the interest in debating if Seattle is a bubble or if there are real underlying drivers for the long-term property market here, I thought SCR readers might be interested in CNN's ranking of the top 30 metropolitan areas and their relative median home sale prices. 

We should take it with a grain of salt but still some encouraging data points on reasons why some folks move to Seattle from California. (Thanks to Mike D. for helping me clarify this post!)


Check out some more criteria our lovely city was praised for.

Continue reading "Seattle Real Estate Affordability" »

Stewart & Minor

Stewart_minor_3 Many hotel/condo projects are focused on differentiating by their location or design (e.g., AVA & Olive 8) or brand name (Four Seasons) or one of a kind offering and world class amenities (1 Hotel & Residences City suite rental options).  Stewart and Minor, a new proposed hotel/condo project, focuses on their floor plan.

If approved, the hotel/ condominium project will break ground summer 2008 with estimated completion in 2010. 150 hotel rooms (operated by a private hotel management firm yet to be selected) will take up the first 14th stories of the building with 168 loft units starting from the 15th floor to 28th floor. The condominiums range between 500-1,900 square feet. Prices will start from Low $400,000 to over $1M.

So what is so different about this project over their competition? According to the developer:

Continue reading "Stewart & Minor" »

Seattle Condo Market Update

Numbers from the Northwest Multiple Listing are showing a total of 1,531 active listings on the market at the end of September. Compared to the end of the 2nd quarter, months of inventory on the market has increased from 3.5 to 4.2 months. While median prices continue to exceed the same time last year, the market has definitely glided to a slower pace with longer days on market than 2006.


Overall in Seattle for the month of September, we are seeing a 21.08% drop in pending sales versus the same time last year. We are most likely going to continue to see slower sales throughout the fourth quarter with the slower season, existing high inventory and buyers biding their time and hoping for prices to drop.

Even though pending sales have dropped, most sellers are refusing to slash their prices by more than a few percent resulting in median prices for the month of September in Seattle still showing a positive growth of 7.57% compared to a year ago.

Check out the lively discussion on my recent post discussing the buyer and seller standoff here.


5th Ave & Stewart, Heron Tower I

5th_and_stewart_2_1903_5th_ave_3There seems to be no shortage of hotel/condo projects coming on the market. 2200 Westlake/Pan Pacific hotel and Madison tower have already been completed and a few others are in the works (Olive 8, 1 Hotel Residences, Four Seasons, and AVA) including the most recently talked about Stewart and Minor.


For those who didn't think that was enough of a selection, here is another proposed 45 story hotel/condo project on the corner of 5th Ave and Stewart St, Heron Tower I.  If approved, buyers who bought into the southeast corner units of Escala will probably have their views affected.

- About Wendy

(UPDATE 2/13/08: The Heron project has been re-designed to become twin towers.  For more info, see the latest post here.)

(Update June 2008: The developer for this twin towers lost half the site to foreclosure to New York lender G4 Capital Partner.  The foreclosure ended the plan for this project.  Read more on Seattle Times.)

Related posts:

Seattle Condo Construction Update
1913 Fifth Ave: Billion Dollar "Out There" Hotel Condo



Market Update

Buyer_seller_condo_duel The Seattle PI wrote a nice summary of the general local market conditions.  Some good county-wide data in there.  I thought I'd share what I'm sensing in the downtown condo market.

I'm seeing many buyers - especially first time homeowners - waiting on the sidelines out of concern that prices will fall soon after they buy.  At the same time, many of my selling clients are only adjusting prices by a few percent (if at all) or deciding to lease their properties to an increasing pool of renters before putting their units on the market in 2008. 

So who is left in the market today?

Continue reading "Market Update" »