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January 2011

Gallery Close Out Auction Event

Gallery condominium will be having another auction  on March 5, 2011 at the Grand Hyatt in downtown Seattle. Accelerated Marketing Partners will launch the final close out of their 25 remaining homes. The auction homes are mostly open one bedroom or one bedroom floor plans with sizes ranging from 571 to 672 square feet.  Minimum bid will start from $175,000.


Here are a couple of important points for the auction:

Auction Financing
All Bidders are required to be pre-qualified with a Seller's Preferred Lender(s)

Minimum Bids
A minimum bid has been set for each property. Each property will be sold to the highest Bidder above the minimum bid price.  There is no hidden reserve price so someone could conceivably pick up a unit for close to the min bid.  

All sales must close on or before April 5, 2011 (approximately 30 days after the auction).

During the last auction held on September 27, 2009, 42 of of the 44 homes closed within 4 months after the auction event.  Assuming all were closed successfully by bidders, the average price per square foot sold was ~$432.

Related posts:

Brix and Gallery Auction Events
More Condo Auctions :Brix & Gallery
Seattle Condo Auction Roundup

Alaskan Way Viaduct Update


The Washington State of Department of Transportation
has signed a contract earlier this month with Seattle Tunnel Partners to design and build the SR99 bored tunnel. The design-build contract will cost around $1.35 billion. If all goes well, construction will start this summer.  WSDOT had reviewed a few other alternatives as early as 2001 and finally the bored tunnel was picked as the preferred replacement for the central section double-deck viaduct. The project will be a two level, 1.7 mile tunnel running from S. King Street to Thomas Street. The tunnel is estimated for completion around late 2015. 

The City of Seattle also plans to build a new street and new public open space along the waterfront once the viaduct is removed and improve other city streets and replace the central waterfront seawall. More open space along the waterfront and the removal of the viaduct along Alaskan Way, will help increase the curb appeal or improve views for some of the condos like Waterfront Landings, HillClimb Court, Pomeroy, Fix Building, Florentine, and Our Home Hotel.

Bored tunnelViaduct picture

Looking at the pic, it feels like only having two lanes in either direction is a bit tight.  If something is gonna take 5 years, you'd hope it can support the needs for 50 but hopefully some people have thought about this and projected demand.

Olive 8 Reset Pricing?

There has been some discussion among buyers and realtors on the recent Olive 8's reset pricing.   When the video were announced two weeks ago, many were anticipating that the new pricing will be close to the auction prices.  So, I decided to look up the numbers and make some comparisons on the reset prices versus the pre-auction closed homes and auction closed home.  Here is a sample on the homes that I used for comparison:

Olive8ResetPricingVersusClosed AuctionHomes

As you can see, the reset pricing is between 13-23% lower than the previous listing prices but are still considerably higher than auction prices.  If we look at the reset pricing versus the pre-auction closed homes, the prices are about the same if not slightly lower.

Related posts:

Olive 8's Video & Reset Pricing
Olive 8's New Pricing 
Olive 8 Auction Results
Olive 8 & 5th and Madison Update
Olive 8 going Auction

2010 Seattle Condo Market in Review

The Seattle condo market has definitely gone through a lot in the last few years.  Looking at 2010 as a whole, it did not preform as well as 2009 but it wasn't too far behind.

During the first 6 months of 2010, we saw a higher number of closed sales compared to first half of 2009.  This may have been due to the extension of the tax credit from October 2009 to April 30, 2010 which gave the market a boost in activity.  In addition to the original $8,000 first time home buyers' credit, a $6,500 tax credit was passed for repeat buyers as well.  Buyers had to be under contract by end of April, 2010 and closed by June 30 (the closing date was later extended to September 30, 2010) in order to qualify for this tax credit.

The strongest month was April; probably due to many buyers trying to meet the tax credit deadline closing date.  


Continue reading "2010 Seattle Condo Market in Review" »

Olive 8's Video & New Reset Pricing

Olive 8 reset video

Olive 8 announced reset pricing for their remaining homes.  According to their latest email, the reset pricing is 15-25% off the most recent list price and 30-40% off presale pricing.  More than 10 new sales have occurred in the past week.  


The website recently posted a video  hosted by Tom Kelly, a nationally syndicated real estate columnist and author discussing about the reset of Olive 8 and the downtown condo market.

The video pointed out that we are not going to see a new condo coming up in Downtown over the the next few years and Olive 8 represents 25% of the new inventory for all condominiums in downtown Seattle.  I agree that Olive 8 is one of the few newer projects available in downtown Seattle.  We have in fact seen several new condos in the city selling most of their inventory like Enso, Gallery, Marselle and 1521 and the condo market has lost some projects which were converted to apartments (it wasn't that long ago when all the apartments were planning to convert to condos!).

No new condos pouring into the market is a good news for sellers.  On the other hand, buyers have definitely taken their time coming back and bank lending remains pretty tight in general.  We should also keep in mind the new wave of apartments coming onto the market.  This will have an impact on the first-time buyer condo market who will have lots of apartments competing for their business as well as investor condos who will need to offer more competitive rents. That's just my take.  Any thoughts?

Related posts:

Olive 8's New Pricing 
Olive 8 Auction Results
Olive 8 & 5th and Madison Update
Olive 8 going Auction

Condo living









There's a lively discussion on the Seattle PI 911 police blog about pot and condos.  Specifically, what to do if your neighbor is smoking too much weed and stinking up the building.

The comments have a bunch of very spirited responses.  Some people say be neighborly and tell them.  Others say relax and mind your own business.  A few suggest the police non-emergency line. 

My general advice about owner-to-owner concerns:

  • In general, most problems are best addressed directly but in this case, you can probably write a kind, anonymous, note or ask the building manager to ask them to ventilate out or put a towel under their door.  (Personally, I'd prob put a new air freshener on their door knob as a gentle nudge.)
  • The condo board might also be helpful but they're usually busy with bigger issues unless you want them to create a new rule or if the building manager didn't act effectively.
  • Calling the cops on your neighbors seems like an extreme option -- especially if it's just smell.  If they find out who called, it would be an awkward (and maybe even dangerous) elevator ride.  At a minimum, I'd try the anonymous note before calling in the 5-0.

While this is an interesting incident, it does point out the realities of condo living for those who are downsizing or are used to grad school or college living.  For the downsizers, you should be ready to give up some freedom when you go to a condo -- both freedom from distractions as well as freedom to create them.  For the more lively crowd that's coming from an apartment building, you'll need to be prepared for neighbors who may be a bit more sensitive to noise, smells, and other behavior you'd consider normal in a dorm or hip apartment building.