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February 2012

Smoke-Free Condos?

232323232-ngo8383-rdeduvgwu-368--i3-98;-;6--6e7-9;e-ff6-8-5-9-6-g5c-f8=ot1lsiI was recently talking to a client who's neighbor is a serious smoker of the herbal varieties so much so that the whole hallway fills with that pungent scent every night (apparently before bedtime).

Technically, the person is smoking in his own unit so it's unclear if strong odors from smoking are any different from the neighbor that likes to fry fish or cook exotic stews.  

I shared this article with my client so figured I'd share it here as well.  The net of it is it's hard to change the rules of a condo with a simple majority though grandfathering the current offenders might be one way to do it.  

Amending condo documents is not easy. The legislators who enacted the condo laws wanted to make sure that a small minority (or even a slim majority) could not change certain basic issues — issues that directly affect all owners.

Proponents and opponents of the proposed smoking ban would mount a vigorous campaign. One method many associations use to encourage reluctant owners to vote in favor of a proposal (such as limitations on the number of investor owners) is to “grandfather” current owners. In other words, current owners may smoke in their units but when they sell, the unit must be smoke-free forever.

Here's the full article.

By Wendy Leung with Seattle Condo Review. A guide to Seattle condos exclusively for buyers and sellers.


Seattle is Both a Sellers' and Buyers' 2BR Market (Depending on Who You Are....)

Recently, I was doing some comparable analysis for a client who owns a large two bedroom condo in Belltown.  Despite the mushy economic climate, there is a considerably low inventory for sale in this mid price group ($400k-$700k).   Intrigued, I decided to pull more comparables in Belltown and Downtown as well as other price groups to see what their absorption rates are. (Absorption rate is the time it would take the market to consume all the units for sale based on the current number of units on the market and the most recent data on how many units are selling per month.)  

Not surprisingly, the lower price group (under $400K) are selling quite well; there is low inventory and demand is stable (mostly first time home buyers and opportunistic investors), thus pricing has seemed to stabilize.   

2-19-2012 8-18-24 PM

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Seattle Condo Market Update January 2012- Median Prices Lower Than 2011

  • January data is in. The big story is median prices which dropped 13% from $234,000 to $208,000 (the biggest month over month decline in a long time).  
  • At the neighborhood level, Queen Anne and Magnolia had the toughest January with a 20% drop in median prices. Ballard and Greenlake, on the other hand, had a stronger showing with median prices rising 18% from December 2011 to January 2012.
  • One encouraging spot is pending sales in January were up 6% compared to December 2011. Also, despite Queen Anne/Magnolia median price pressure, pending sales were up 50% from December to January. 

Seattle Condos Sales M-O-M

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Viaduct and Seattle Condos

As I was driving South on 99 to the Stadium, it was great to see some progress with the Alaskan Way Viaduct Replacement project. The south end of the Viaduct had been demolished and the traffic has been shifted onto a new bridge near the stadiums. After more than 10 years of discussion, planning, design and prepping work, we can expect the deep bore tunnel work to begin next year. Yes, finally. With the removal of the Viaduct along the waterfront, which is estimated around 2016, I had to wonder which condos would benefit from it.

Well, I think a few of them like Belltown Court, Belltown Lofts, Pomeroy, Site 17, Fix Building, HillClimb, and Our Home Hotel condo will be better off. Let's take a closer look on why that's the case.

Viaduct Condos

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