Wallingford Condos Feed

The Shift from Building Apartments to Building Condos

The Seattle Shift from Building Apartments to Building CondosThere have been several recent announcements about new condominium buildings being constructed in Seattle. For the last few years, the only residential developments being built in Seattle were apartments, minus a few outliers like Insignia and Gridiron, but we are starting to see a flood of new condominium projects hitting the scene again.
 
Why the switch from apartments to condos? Well, we think it is due to apartment buildings not being as profitable as they once were. Major investment groups who were once willing to buy apartment buildings at high price/unit price tags are not as bullish right due to the softening of the rental market. That softening is likely due to an oversupply of apartments entering the market, around 6600 rental units are coming just to the South Lake Union neighborhood by 2019. It is now more profitable to build and sell condos. Developers are very market driven so they will make these decisions based on what is happening right now in the apartment and condo markets, but it seems to us that they don’t put onus on the future market conditions that their developments might cause. For instance, if we had built a mix of condos and apartments over the last few years perhaps we wouldn’t have an apartment building glut right now and be starved for condos, we might just have balance. Instead it appears that their decisions are reactionary, if apartments are profitable then they build a ton of apartments, flood the market, the apartment market softens, then they switch to building condos and so forth and so on. Perhaps someday we will see a balance of what is being built, helping both the rental and real estate markets stay more stable over time.

Here are some recent articles on new and upcoming condo projects around Seattle:
2nd Avenue Condos in Downtown  
South Lake Union Condos
403 13th Condos in Capitol Hill
The Neighborhood Collection Condos in Capitol Hill & Wallingford
Spire Condos in Belltown
Solis Condos on Capitol Hill
Emerald Condos in Downtown
Condos in Bellevue

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


The Neighborhood Collection - 3 Seattle Apartment Projects Will be Condos

Wallingford 45, Edison and Atrium are the newest condominium projects to be announced. Previously planned as apartments, these three buildings will now be condominiums and comprise the Neighborhood Collection.

A three projects are mid-rise buildings and collectively will deliver 133 condo units to the market.

Atrium is located at 750 11th Ave E, Edison is located at 121 12th Ave E and Wallingford 45 is located at 1601 N 45th St. All three buildings are nearly complete and will be ready for occupancy this fall. They are targeting prices from below $400,000 to more than $800,000 for the units, which will be studios and one bedrooms.

A preview center will open in September at 1420 E Madison St. Homes can be reserved with a price range for a $5,000 deposit. Tours inside the buildings will open up in September as well.

WALLINGFORD 45:
The Neighborhood Collection - 3 Seattle Apartment Projects Will be Condos The Neighborhood Collection - 3 Seattle Apartment Projects Will be Condos The Neighborhood Collection - 3 Seattle Apartment Projects Will be Condos The Neighborhood Collection - 3 Seattle Apartment Projects Will be Condos

EDISON:
The Neighborhood Collection - 3 Seattle Apartment Projects Will be Condos The Neighborhood Collection - 3 Seattle Apartment Projects Will be Condos Edison7The Neighborhood Collection - 3 Seattle Apartment Projects Will be Condos

ATRIUM:
The Neighborhood Collection - 3 Seattle Apartment Projects Will be Condos The Neighborhood Collection - 3 Seattle Apartment Projects Will be Condos The Neighborhood Collection - 3 Seattle Apartment Projects Will be Condos The Neighborhood Collection - 3 Seattle Apartment Projects Will be Condos
   


Our New and Improved Seattle Condominium Building Map

Seattle Condo Map (2)Since our blog's inception back in 2006, our Seattle Condo Map has been a place where our readers could go to find information about the various buildings in and around the Downtown Seattle core.

We decided that it was time to revamp SCR's Seattle Condo Map, expanding it to include all buildings in Seattle, to include more detailed information about each building and to create it in a format that allows our readers to search it for information important to them that might not be readily available either online, or within other real estate sites that rely only on information from the MLS.

We are very proud to announce that our new and improved Seattle Condo Map has launched!!!

Our new map contains information about all condominium buildings in the city of Seattle! It is a constant work in progress as condo buildings go through updates, condo buildings become apartment buildings, apartment buildings become condo buildings, new condominium buildings are proposed and new construction buildings are completed. The information contained in our Seattle Condo Map will continue to be updated so please make sure you check back in with the map often. We intend to add links to our Condo Review articles to each building as we review them so our write ups with pros, cons and stats about the building will be available via one click from the map listings. This is something we are actively working on and think will be an amazing resource tool for those looking to buy or sell their condo. 

A couple things to know about our new map:

  • There is a directory of buildings that is organized by area - Downtown Area, Northeast Seattle, Northwest Seattle, Queen Anne & Magnolia, South Seattle, Central Seattle and West Seattle
  • The buildings are also color coded to denote the following categories - luxury, proposed, under construction, historic or co-op
  • You can search the map if you open it up - for example, you can search 'concierge' and see all of the buildings in Seattle with concierge services

Since this map will forever be dynamic, we encourage you, as our readers, to let us know if any buildings are missing or if any of our information is incorrect. We want to do our best to provide the most accurate information we can and we need you all to make that happen!

We hope you find the map interesting and helpful and we hope it is a tool you will bookmark and enjoy using for many years.

Check the map out here! Or from the navigation bar on our website.

Cheers-
Marco and Loren Kronen


Seattle Condo Summer 2013 Update

As we wrap up summer and head into our fall real estate market, it's a good time to look back at how our condo market did over the summer months and see where the numbers fall in the areas we regularly track.  In this update we are also adding a new area at the request of several readers who asked us to also report on the Ballard /Fremont/ Phinney/ Wallingford neighborhoods.  This is known as area 705 within in our MLS. 

In general, pricing for all of Seattle condo sales is up on a year-over-year comparison to 2012 summer months.  Up 10% in June, 12% in July, and up 16% in August.  Again these are over last year's prices for each respective month.

Despite the pricing increases,  buyers still seem to be motivated to purchase and the numbers confirm this as we saw a consistent trend up for the number of closed condo sales throughout the Seattle condo market when comparing on a month-over-month basis throughout the summer.  On a year-over-year basis we saw June being somewhat flat (slight decrease below 2012) but July and August showed large increases in the number of closed condo sales over 2012 at 21% and 24% higher respectively.

With both prices as well as the number of sales increasing, one big factor that is  interesting is the number of new listings for buyers to choose from is not coming up that much. For the summer months, all three posted lower number of new listings over the same months last year.  21% less for June, July was 14% less, and August had 2% fewer new listings coming on the market over last year.  My guess for this is that many would-be sellers are still upside down on what they owe on their mortgage balances in relation to their condo values, but as prices continue to edge up, it will be interesting to see when this turning point of increasing inventory will start to kick in.  It is important to note , however, that month over month, the number of listings did trend up this summer from June through August, so perhaps that will continue.  We will see.

Diving into the stats for the specific neighborhoods, this summer we saw area 701 (Downtown, Belltown, South Lake Union) with the highest median prices with a blended average of the median prices coming in at  $418,000 and area 705 (Ballard, Fremont, Wallingford) at the lowest of the areas in this update that we track at $240,000 for the blended average of the median prices over the summer.  In the middle was area 390 (Cap Hill, Madison, Central) at $296,000 and Queen Anne/Magnolia (area 700) at $303,916 for the blended average of the summer month's median sales prices.  Just for comparison, city wide,  the blended average of June, July and August's median prices came in  $294,983 which was a 6% increase over the summer months of  2012.  

So no major surprises that prices are up and sales are up, but with inventory remaining somewhat flat we still have some interesting times ahead in the Seattle condo market.  Barring any major increases in interest rates, it seems to me that prices should still continue to inch up until we see more condo inventory coming to the market. 

Aug 2013 Market Update Chart_Page_1

Continue reading "Seattle Condo Summer 2013 Update" »


2012 Seattle Condo Market in Review - The Year of Dwindling Inventory

As we start off 2013, every year in January we like to take a quick pause to take a look back and recap the major events, trends, and milestone from the previous year and for the heck of it, make some forecasts and predictions for the upcoming year.

Trends of 2012 and Events Worth Noting

We saw our condo market absorption rates increase and inventory dwindle to the point nearly all segments of our Seattle condo market were leaning toward a seller’s market with less than three months of inventory. 

Multiple offers returned but interestingly enough we did not see a sharp incline in pricing. This is likely due to buyers who were much more conservative and resistant to overpaying in light of the recent market crash. This could also be due to more stringent appraisal review practices by lenders, which many applaud.

2200 Condominiums in South Lake Union reached the largest construction defect settlement in state history with its developer for $26 million dollars.

We saw the return of investor buyers. An increase in all cash purchases seemed to indicate investors gained confidence in spending again.

Many newer condominium buildings entered litigation with their developers in accordance with the Washington State Condominium Act’s construction warranty time frames. This further limited available condo units on the market because units that are for sale in buildings with pending litigation have a very hard time obtaining buyer financing.

Continue reading "2012 Seattle Condo Market in Review - The Year of Dwindling Inventory " »


Client Question of the Week: Is the VA Loan Program Available for Condos?

1This week, new clients of mine wondered what their options were for a downtown condo that would qualify for the VA loan program. The Department of Veteran Affairs loan program is available to those military veterans and active duty personnel that have accumulated enough service time to be eligible for the favorable terms afforded by this loan program.  Benefits over conventional loan programs include market interest rates, reduced down payment requirements, no monthly mortgage insurance, as well as more flexibility with debt to income ratios and closing costs.

What’s the catch? Condominium buildings must go through the VA's condo project approval process.  Similar to the FHA approval process, an HOA would need to provide supporting documents verifying the eligibility of the condominium community as a whole.  No longer can an individual condo owner seek VA approval if they are either refinancing or selling their condo.  It's all or nothing.  VA looks at things such as overall financial health of the HOA, percentage of rental units, percentage of units that are delinquent on dues, and level of insurance protection, to name a few.  Currently, very few VA approved condominium buildings exist in the downtown core of Seattle.  Newer condo projects in the Downtown, Belltown, Midtown and South Lake Union area especially, lack this VA approval.  So it can be challenging for those wanting to use the VA loan program to find options in our already low inventory market.

Continue reading "Client Question of the Week: Is the VA Loan Program Available for Condos?" »


FHA Changes Mean Help for Condo Buyers, Sellers and HOAs

2200_westlake_001The Federal Housing Authority (FHA) recently changed several of its outdated and controversial guidelines, which might help those looking to buy or sell a condo.  Rule changes are “temporary” but include things such as increases to the allowance on percentage of commercial space within a condo project, increased flexibility on percentage of delinquent HOA dues, less liability for HOA Board Members who sign off on the FHA application, as well as allowances for increases in the number of units that can be rented at one time or owned by one person in a building. All of these changes have the ability to help condo buildings, condo owners, and of course buyers who are using FHA loans.

A recent article in the Seattle Times summarized some of the key relaxed guidelines the FHA recently announced.   I wanted to share this article with you and go into more detail about how it affects us here in Seattle. If you are a buyer, seller, or HOA board member, and FHA has been a topic of recent discussions, you might want to revisit it. As of September 13th you now have more options so I’d take another look to see if your condo building or one you thought about buying in might now be in a position to get FHA approval.

Continue reading "FHA Changes Mean Help for Condo Buyers, Sellers and HOAs" »


Client Question of the Week: My condo's tax assessed value went down, does that mean my condo value decreased?

Property tax image

Recently a client emailed me a great question that we felt many people would benefit from knowing the answer to.

“Marco, I recently received a tax assessment notice in the mail and it showed my condo value has gone down since I bought it earlier this year. But I'm seeing condo prices in the area are increasing. Should I appeal to the tax assessor’s office to increase my tax assessment to be more in line with recent market sales, as I'm afraid this might hurt my condo's value now and in the future? I realize this might mean my annual taxes may go up, but I'm just not sure what is best.”

Great question!

Continue reading "Client Question of the Week: My condo's tax assessed value went down, does that mean my condo value decreased? " »


Bagley Lofts Wins Design Award

Ss_mu_bagleycornerWeber + Thompson, the architect and interior designer for Bagley Lofts in Wallingford recently won the International Making Cities Livable award for this project.  W+T was able to turn this challenging site into a successful loft project in Wallingford. The project was awarded for a few reasons:                                                        

  • Strong intergration of the project's commercial and residential components.
  • Successful parking solution and finely detailed facades.
  • The project design appropriately reflects the scale shift between adjacent structures.

Kitchen_2The condo was completed in 2006 with 43 lofts units and 3,300 square feet of retail space. Homes at Bagley Lofts range in size from 740 to 1,400 square feet. There are three types of units: studios, or standard loft homes; one-bedrooms, which consist of a loft with a separate alcove for a bed or an office; and two-bedrooms, which have a separate bedroom in addition to the loft space. The interior features concrete floors, tall ceilings and warehouse-style windows. Folks appear to really like living there; currently, there are no resale units on the market.

Some other W+T work also include 1521, 2200 Westlake and Cristalla.

-About Wendy