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February 2016

January 2016

Update: Seattle New Construction Condo Comparison

Back in April, we created a chart comparing the new construction condo options here in the city so you could see what options were out there for newly built condos. Many things have changed since then, including Solo Lofts and Salt turning into apartments and the addition of two new buildings, Hendon in Phinney Ridge and Gridiron in Pioneer Square. We have updated the chart and wanted to share that with our readers.

Hopefully this updated chart helps you to compare the options for pre-sale and new construction condos in terms of the price points, amenities as well and some pros and cons of each project as well. Other projects are in the works, but these are the buildings that have officially announced sales and gone public with the details about their projects.

Just like in the previous version of the comparison chart, information will change as the condo projects progress but here is a snippet of the current overview. To see the whole chart, download it here: Download Seattle New Construction Condo Compare.

Snippet of Condo Compare
We hope this helps you narrow down your top options. As always, our team is here to help with your buying decision if needed.

This information is offered as a convenience & is not a warranty or guarantee. All information should be verified to your satisfaction.

By Marco Kronen with Seattle Condo Review: A guide to Seattle downtown condos.

New Lending Guidelines Making It Tough on Some Condo Buyers- Condo HOAs and Owners You Can Help

Approved Condo Building

A recent article in the Seattle Times, discussing buyer’s challenges with loan guideline changes, reminded me of the importance of HOA and condo buildings doing their best to stay viable and eligible for FHA, VA and Fannie Mae approvals not only for buyers in the market, but also for condo owners who might want or need to refinance. In light of stricter lending guidelines, and frankly the sheer cost of buying a condo in our very expensive Seattle condo market, there are three key things condo owners should be encouraging their HOAs to consider and stay on top off.

  • FHA Approval for the condo building
  • VA Approval for the condo building
  • FNMA (Fannie Mae) approval for the condo building

Read on to learn why these important condo building approvals might help preserve values in condo buildings, in any condo market.

Now first off, not all condo buildings will be eligible, regardless of how on top of it the HOA might be. But, in all three cases, the key thing I’d like to get on my soap box about and offer recommendations on, is that HOAs and property managers attempt to keep any current eligibilities active. Renew them on time! If your condo building is already FHA approved, and already a FNMA approved condo project, keep it active. Renewals are much easier than the initial approval process. Also, because guidelines can change from time to time, once you let your approval expire, it might not be even possible to get it again if something has changed that affects your building’s eligibility.

Continue reading "New Lending Guidelines Making It Tough on Some Condo Buyers- Condo HOAs and Owners You Can Help" »

Join us for Condos Over Coffee 1/27 - Monthly Candid Coffee Chat

Condos over Coffee Logo with WritingOur monthly event, Condos Over Coffee, is back for 2016 so come join us!

: a monthly candid coffee chat on the Seattle condo market with topics to include market stats, new construction condo comparisons, market trends and forecasts, tips for buying and selling this year,  and more
WHEN: last Wednesday of every month from 7:30 to 8:30am - swing by before you head to work and grab a coffee with us!
WHERE: rotating coffee shops around Seattle (check our event page on to see the upcoming locations and topics)

THIS MONTH'S EVENT - January 27th
Join me at Uptown Espresso coffee shop in Belltown, just a few blocks from the new construction condo building Insignia, to discuss the new construction condo options within the city of Seattle that are currently available. This is a good Condos Over Coffee to attend if you are considering buying a condo that is new construction for yourself or as investment and would like a detailed overview of the different condominium projects, their pros and cons, estimated completion dates, things to consider when buying new construction as well as some forecast of upcoming projects.

Please RSVP here so that we can make sure to save a seat for you. Friends, family and/or colleagues are welcome to stop by too, so pass the word along!

Oh, and coffee's on me! So pop in, hear some info on new construction, and ask any questions you might have.

NEXT MONTH'S EVENT - February 24th
Next month's Condos Over Coffee will be on February 24th and will be a discussion on strategies and tactics for selling your condo in today's dynamic condo market.

Condo Review – Cristalla Condominiums in Belltown

Cristalla Condominiums in Belltown
2033 2nd Ave
2033_2nd_ave_02 2033_2nd_ave_01

Cristalla Condominiums was built in 2005 by Developer Murray Franklyn. It is a high-end luxury condo tower in Belltown. The front façade is that of the historic Crystal Pool and is a unique and beautiful feature of this building. It remains one of Seattle’s nicest condo buildings with a great diverse package of building amenities, including an amazing roof top terrace, and a very close-in location that is near the city’s most frequented spots such as Pike Market, Downtown shopping and transit, and the new burgeoning South Lake Union and Denny Triangle. It is still one of very few condominiums to ever be built in Seattle that has a protective view easement recorded on the lot, which protects western views of many of the western facing units. The condos have unique floor plans and many units have views of water, mountains, or the city. The design aesthetic is modern with contemporary interiors and high-end finishes.

To see a video of an example of an actual unit at Cristalla Condominiums click here.

The stats:

  • 192 units – studio, one and two bedrooms ranging in size from 422 sqft to 2,447 sqft and there is one unit which is a combination of 3 units that is 3 bedrooms and 3,393 sqft
  • Built in 2005
  • 23 stories
  • Most units have 1 or 2 parking spaces but 6 units do not have any parking and all units have one or more storage units
  • There are also 19 wine storage rooms and 4 hobby rooms that are owned by various units in the building
  • 6 units have sold in the last 6 months ranging in price from $392,000 to $1,206,125; at the time of this post there is one unit pending at $585,000 and no active units on the market
  • HOA dues include: garbage, water, sewer, central hot water, gas, building maintenance, professional property manager, earthquake insurance
  • Amenities: Concierge, rooftop deck, gym, guest suite, business center, conference room, party room, theater room, dog piddle patch on the roof top terrace, a dog wash station, a car wash station and, hot tub with adjoining steam room and sauna

Continue reading "Condo Review – Cristalla Condominiums in Belltown" »