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January 2011
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February 2011

Seattle Condos For Sale: Project Update

Gallery New exterior pic

Gallery will be auctioning 25 out of 41 remaining homes on March 25th at the Grand Hyatt.  They announced they are offering up to 3% buyer's bonus on the 25 auction homes.  A minimum bid has been set and published for each property. (Each property will be sold to the highest bidder if the highest bid is above the minimum bid price.) There is no hidden reserve price for this auction event. 

1521 west view 2

Fifteen Twenty-One is more than 75% sold and launched the "Design Matters" campaign with online videos that outline the numerous design attributes that are exclusive to the building.  In other news, 1521's developer, Opus Northwest LLC is handing over its earnings on future 1521 sales to U.S. Bank as part of a restructuring of an estimated $300M loan related to some other investments that did not fair as well (they have already repaid the construction loan on the 1521 project).

Olive 8 updated pic.

Olive 8 reported that they have 15 new sales since their reintroduction this year with revised pricing.  There is now a model home for each common floor plan. 

Condo Remodeling

Remodeling pic. I was doing some research for a client who is looking for a contractor to remodel their kitchen. Since they will not be moving for a few years they've decided they would enhance the livability of their condo.  The next question they posed to me was how much of a resale value they can get from remodeling their kitchen.  

It really depends on how much remodeling they intend to do.  Is it just a minor remodeling just changing out new hardware, replacing cabinets doors, and installing a new sink or a major one that starts the kitchen from scratch? Even if it's a full scale kitchen remodeling, the return on investment is rarely 100%. Some of the analysis that I have done for my clients could range from anywhere 40-70% on the total remodel costs.  

If you're exploring remodeling of your condo, there is some interesting data on this website (Remodeling 2010-2011 Cost vs. Value Report). The data is more applicable to single family homes but I thought it could be useful as a data point.  

According to their report, a minor kitchen remodeling for a mid-range project cost an average of $23,210 in Seattle and the resale value is about 74.8%.  The national average is 72.8%.  As for a bathroom remodeling  project (updating a 5 by 7 foot bathroom), it cost an average of $19,167 and the resale is 70.4%.  The national average is 64.1%

There are some other factors you might want to think about when remodeling your kitchen.  Is your condo a new project and you're doing some tweaking (changing the back-splash) in the kitchen to make it the way you like it?  If so, the resale value on that improvement will be minimal compared to other homes in the same building with similar kitchen finishes (without that nicer back-splash you installed).  Is a full scale kitchen remodeling necessary when your home is in an older building where other homes have average finishes?  Sometimes over-improvement may get you a lower return on your investment than making just an average improvement.  

Returns aside, if you're just enhancing the livability of your home and know that you will be enjoying for many years to come or perhaps renting it out in the future, the comfort you get from the improvement may exceed the strict financial returns you're looking for. 

Seattle Condo Market Update- January 2011

Home sales for Seattle condo market came in at -9.6% compared to a year ago with 113 homes closed this January (-6% from last month).  With no more tax credit incentives, many expect to see a lower sales level for the first few months of this year compared to the same period last year. 

Total inventory in Seattle was at 1,041 units, a dip of 13.39% from twelve months ago and an increase of 5.1% from previous month.  If we compared January 2011 numbers with the the same period for the last 3 years, this is the lowest level of inventory ever seen (however, it is still 32.4% higher than January 2007).

On the bright side, MLS reported 175 pending sales for the month of January, up by 42.2% from the previous month. Median prices were up by ~16% from the previous month.  A year ago, we had voluminous condo unit supply of 9.6 for pending sales and 6.3 months inventory based on closed sales.  Condo supply has now contracted to 9.2 and 5.9 months inventory, respectively. 

Continue reading "Seattle Condo Market Update- January 2011" »