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June 2016

LUMA Condominiums on First Hill is Now 68% Sold

LUMA 2 Bedroom B webAccording to a press release from LUMA Condominiums, they are now 68% sold and are quickly approaching move-in ready status.

With 115 condos out of 168 now under contract they are approaching the final push to sell out the project.  The sales team has indicated that many of the remaining units are on the upper floors with great views. The prices of the remaining homes range from the high $500,000s for one-bedrooms and from the high $700,000s for two-bedrooms.

If you have any interest in LUMA, let us know! We are happy to walk you through the remaining options to see if there is a home that fits your needs at this brand new First Hill tower.

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

Join us for Condos Over Coffee 6/29 - strategies to compete for condos in this fast paced market

Condos over Coffee Logo with WritingCONDOS OVER COFFEE - Wednesday June 29th 

WHEN: Wednesday June 29th 7:30 to 8:30am
Top Pot in Capitol Hill
TOPIC: Strategies to Compete for Condos in this Fast Paced Market

This month join me at Top Pot in Capitol Hill where we will discuss strategies to compete for condos in the fast paced Seattle condo market, including tactics on choosing the right lender that will help your offer be more attractive to seller’s and their listing broker.

This will be an ideal Condos Over Coffee event if you are at all considering buying and are wondering what the market is really like for condo buyers out there.

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 stop by on your way to work on Wednesday to chat real estate.

Next month's Condos over Coffee will be on July 27th where we will have an update on the new construction condo projects coming up in the city, including information on NEXUS, breaking ground soon in Denny Triangle.

In April we met at the Starbucks in the Denny Regrade and chatted through prepping your condo for the market and understanding the importance of presentation, promotion and price when you are a seller in this market.

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

Lawsuits, Land Prices & WA State Condo Laws all to Blame for Rising Condo Costs in Seattle?

Courtyard View at NightI’ve been saying for years, that one way our city and state can help address affordable housing within our skyrocketing condo market,  is to address the issue that developers are afraid to build condos! Why are they afraid? Because they know they are going to get sued by the HOA’s, and to prepare for that, they have to pad the development budget by driving up the cost of the condo units to make up for the expense. Why are they getting sued? Not because they are building bad buildings, but rather due to the ancient Washington Condominium Act, which was supposed to help protect consumers several decades ago from scrupulous builders and developers that were cutting corners, but now over 25 years since the law was enacted, even for the best development teams with quality control measures, it is now creating a breeding ground for lawsuits, no matter how well and condo building is built.   

What’s the big whoop? Well guess what, these lawsuits drive up the cost of everything related to condo ownership. It makes things more expensive for the developer, for each subcontractor who also gets roped into each lawsuit, for each HOA that has to fund the huge cost of hiring a consulting firm to find construction defects, and on down to the individual condo owner who just wants buy a nice condo so they can live in a cool, fun and vibrant condo building in the city so they can reduce their carbon foot print, ride a bike to work, not commute an hour to work, and walk to the gay pride parade this weekend with their friends and neighbors but have to pay more for this convenience. They are okay to pay a bit more for all these perks of living in the city, but at what cost? 

I loved reading this article by Bob Wallace of Wallace Properties as he is doing a great job of bringing to the forefront some major issues regarding developers, lawsuits, land prices, and “extortion” as he calls it that affecting our condo market.

Great read!

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

NEXUS Reservations- 244 of 374 Condos Reserved

Nexus ReservationsWow what a difference a year can make in our dynamic condo market.

NEXUS Condominiums is reporting a very strong turn out to their grand open reservation event this past weekend.  We attended a preview event last week, and so far the offering of condos at NEXUS sounds very compelling.  With two other condo projects nearing their completion and closings this summer (Insignia Condominiums and Luma Condominiums) it's not surprising there is demand for another high-end luxury condo community in the downtown core.

According to the article released today by Realogics Sotheby's International Realty (RSIR), the marketing company for NEXUS Condominiums, "The Burrard Group has accepted 244 first-position, unit-specific reservations for priority presales at NEXUS, a new 374-unit high-rise condominium tower located at 1200 Howell Street in downtown Seattle. Project representatives at RSIR report that more than 500 prospective home buyers were processed through the NEXUS Preview Center at 2715 1st Avenue on June 4 and 5th. Several groups camped out overnight to ensure a first place in line while a crowd of approximately 130 were cued up by 11am on June 4th when the reservation event commenced. Prospective home buyers were offered an individual home for priority presale with a price range for a $5,000 fully-refundable deposit to be held in escrow. Reservations will convert to a Purchase and Sale Agreement during the Fall of 2016, commensurate with the opening of a formal sales center and the ground-breaking of the development. NEXUS is scheduled for occupancy by mid-2019."

“Our opening weekend results suggest a growing preference for condominium ownership after an unprecedented apartment cycle that added nearly 10,000 new rental units to our skyline,” says Dean Jones, President and CEO of RSIR, the firm representing NEXUS. “Those apartment towers have been incubating future home buyers who are increasingly recognizing the investment potential and benefits offered by home ownership. NEXUS provides an opportunity to own a slice of this fast-growing metropolis.”

What does all this mean? It means that people have expressed interest in 65% of the 374 units.  Reservations are a very early indication of interest, and with a small $5,000 reservation deposit (that is fully refundable) I do anticipate that once final pricing, final numbers on the HOA dues, terms on investor purchasers, etc. are all working out, we'll see some buyer fall out and many of those reserved units will become options for other buyers.  This often happens with the early reservation process in pre-sale  condo opportunities. It will be when the proverbial rubber meets the road once that reservation fee becomes a more sizeable non-refundable earnest money deposit, and then we'll see how sales proceed from there.  Recent lack luster commitments in the pre-sales in the Gridiron condos in Pioneer Square, make me think the final pricing and HOA dues will really have an affect on how many of these buyers proceed. 

Have questions about NEXUS? Let us know and we'd be happy to help walk you through the buying process and pros and cons of certain floor plans and layouts.

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

International District Development Could Include Condos

Hewitt RenderingA major redevelopment is taking place in the Little Saigon section of the International District. The 2.5 acre property being redeveloped is located at S Jackson St and 12th Ave S and currently houses businesses such as the Viet-Wah Supermarket and the very popular restaurant, the Tamarind Tree, but will soon be an eight story mixed use development.

According to the article put out by PSBJ today, the new building will be built in two phases and will include a community theater, daycare center, retail space for shops and restaurants, 240 apartments (some of which will be low income housing), 35 condos and a 180 room hotel.

This mix of apartments, condos and hotel space in one building has never been built in Seattle but it seems that it is becoming more common to see when projects are being announced over the last few years. However, we are skeptical that the properties will contain the condominium units in the end as, historically, the mix has been a huge barrier to buyer's being able to get conventional lending in a project.

They plan to start construction in late 2017 or early 2018 so we will have awhile to wait to see how it all shakes out.

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

Hewitt Rendering