This has been in the news for a week but at first, I didn't feel like blogging about it since Thornton Place is kind of far away and their new layoff protection program seemed more like a PR strategy than anything else. I would much rather they lower their price, buy down points, or throw in some nice upgrades. Layoff protection is hard to value and probably is most valuable to buyers who might not be qualified. If you're curious, here's the article in the PI.
King 5 just ran a story about more condo owners breaking homeowners rules. Particulary renting out their condo month-to-month instead of the typical minimal 6-12 month lease period that most condo associations allow. Frankly, I won't be suprised if they rent it out even week-by-week. Although I'm not a big fan of short term rentals, I don't blame those homeowners for trying to rent out their property to minimize their losses given recent market conditions.
I came across this condo in Madison Park the other day. It's a new construction building with only 3 homes, prices ranging from $995,000-$1,495,000. Not cheap but, it's in Madison Park so don't be surprised that homes are going for close to or more than $1m. The building is set up just slightly above the sidewalk on 1611 43rd Ave E.
It's an interesting condo. Unit A is a townhome style condo with 2 bedrooms and 2 1/2 baths. This unit is closest to the street and has a patio leading out from the living room. Although it is a ground level home, the adequately landscaped patio provides a little more privacy from the sidewalk pedestrians. This home has a bedroom, living room, bathroom, kitchen and dinning area on the main floor. The glass stairway leads down to the lower level which has a 2nd bedroom, media room, bathroom, and a smaller kitchen (without cooking range). This home has the largest square footage of 2,063 and is priced at $995,000.
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.
As promised, here's a neat chart I whipped up showing the original listing prices and their ultimate auction winning price. As you can see, some people picked up 2BR units for just over $300K which I suspect, at the risk of putting chum in the water for the pessimists, will turn out to be a really good price.
Just got back from the Queen Anne Condo auction. All 12 units that were up for auction sold. It looked like easily over 100 people were there (maybe more). Some people got some amazing deals. Will do a detailed post later when I have more time.
Lesson learned: always assume your view could go away unless it's truly protected.
I posted my picks but here were yours based on a survey of SCR readers last week.
Most Overall Appeal:
Third Place: Escala
Second Place: Escala
Third Place: Olive 8
Best Curb Appeal:
Winner: Four Seasons
Second Place: Cristalla
Third Place: Escala
Second Place: Cristalla
Third Place: 2200 Westlake
Second Place: Meridian
Third Place: Gallery
The building does not have a ton of amenities, mainly the roof top deck, central courtyard and two lobbies. For those who want to economize on HOA and price, this will be welcome news. For those who are looking for lots of building bells and whistles, this may not be your kind of condo. Brix has recently reduced prices on some of their homes.
The overall feel of the building is quite pleasant, especially the central courtyard. It is surprisingly quiet given that Broadway is just on the other side of the building. Unfortunately for Brix, a 6 story apartment building has started their construction right across the street and this will block most of the west facing views.
So the February 2009 numbers are in. If you were hoping to find encouraging news, maybe March will look better. I find year over year comparisons to be less useful these days. We all know the year-over-year numbers are not looking good. We can of course compare February YOY numbers to January YOY numbers (and we'll do that).
Nevertheless, month to previous month numbers are probably the most useful these days. Normally, you'd be worried about seasonality but in this economy, any positive movement from month to month would be encouraging. Too bad that didn't happen in February.
Here it is.
February 2009 versus January 2009
- Closed Sales: Down 16%
- Median Prices: Down 18%
- Pending Sales: Down 7%
Feburary 2009 YOY versus January 2009 YOY
- Closed Sales: -26% in January versus down -45% in February
- Median Prices: +10% in January versus down -13% in February
- Pending Sales: -20% in January versus down -39% in February
Some people, like my BFF MD, weren't completely happy with my picks for the Seattle Condo Oscars so in the spirit of democracy and in response to MD's suggestion, I put together a quick online survey. I'll have my tech people check IP addresses to try and ferret out any over zealous advocates ;-)
I'll close the poll a week from today and post results next week.