The Latest on Downtown Bellevue Real Estate

Oct. 13, 2017

Eastside Market Update - October 2017

The typical seasonal slowdown of new listings in September added to frustration for buyers who are competing for a very limited number of homes. Strong job growth continues to fuel demand. The state added 83,000 new jobs in the month of August, and September looked to be just as robust. The result? King, Pierce, and Snohomish counties all reported double-digit price increases from a year earlier.

The median price of a single-family home on the Eastside jumped 14 percent from the same time last year to a $855,000. As the median on the Eastside approaches the $1 million mark, the price tag for a luxury home is increasing. Of all the single-family homes that sold on the Eastside in September, nearly 40 percent sold for more than $1 million. In the city of Bellevue, two-thirds of the homes sold for more than $1 million.

The median price of a single-family home sold in King County in September increased 16 percent from a year ago to $625,000. While down from the record high of $658,000 in July, it represents the highest value for any September since records began in 2000. Among the largest metro areas in the U.S., our region has now led the nation in price increases for the last 11 months.

Seattle's inventory remains as tight as ever, with homes being snapped up in days. A big hiring push by local employers just keeps adding to the pressure. With supply dwindling and demand soaring, prices had only one place to go - up. In September, the median single-family home price in Seattle soared 15 percent over a year ago to $725,000.

The median price of a single-family home in Snohomish County sold in September was $450,000, a 14 percent increase over the same time last year. With just slightly over one month's inventory of homes available, it's unlikely price growth here will slow any time soon.

Eastside Statistics 

To read the original Windermere article, click here

Oct. 6, 2017

Seattle Tops Nation in New Apartments

According to the Seattle Times, "In 2016, there were nearly 21,000 occupied rental units in the city built since the start of the decade. That means recently constructed apartments make up 12 percent of the total rental stock." Seattle ranks #1 out of the 50 largest U.S. cities for having the highest concentration of newly constructed apartments.

Majority of the renters are millennials due to the constant influx of young employees that are coming into the city for Seattle's booming tech industry. Recent census reports show that "65 percent of apartment units constructed this decade have a resident under the age of 35." Portland ranks #2 with 52 percent followed by San Francisco as #3 with 39 percent.

Although the number of new apartments have reached record high numbers, it is still not enough to keep up with Seattle's housing demand. In addition, older and more affordable units are becoming harder to find. As a result, potential buyers are stuck renting at an alarming cost. With the lack of affordable housing and high rental values, young buyers are having a tough time navigating through this crazy market.

Read the full article from the Seattle Times here.

Sept. 29, 2017

Seattle Home Price Growth Leads Nation For 11 Straight Months

For the 11th month in a row, Seattle is leading the country in home price growth. In fact, our home price growth is nearly double that of any other U.S. city according to the latest Case-Shiller home-price index. Single-family home prices increased 13.5 percent in July from the year before.

The next city in the list at No. 2 was Portland with a 7.6 percent growth rate from July 2016 to July 2017. Portland's home price growth had begun to drop slightly over the last couple months while Seattle's only continued to increase.

While this story has been nearly the same for 11 months, this is the first time that our local increases are almost double that of any other metro area in the country. 

What's driving these huge gains? Continued shortage of homes for sale, population growth, and a booming economy thanks to our technology industry. More people are moving here and even less want to leave.

However, we are heading into fall which is seasonally when we can expect prices to begin cooling down a little, as we talked about just a couple weeks ago. The Seattle Times reports, "when adjusting for normal seasonal changes, Case-Shiller says, Seattle's month-over-month home cost bump is actually the third highest in the country, behind only San Francisco and Los Angeles."

Click here to read the full article from the Seattle Times.

Sept. 22, 2017

One88 Breaks Ground in Bellevue

Last week, a new condominium project by Bosa Development broke ground in downtown Bellevue. The new development One88, is the first new condo project in Bellevue in the last ten years.

According to the Downtown Bellevue Network, "the 21-story residential tower, located at the intersection of Bellevue Way Northeast and Northeast second, features approximately 143 one-, two-, and three-bedroom residences, as well as penthouse residences."

The new development is an exciting addition to downtown Bellevue as we see a continued influx of new residents drawn here by the Seattle's strong economy, powerful tech industry, and of course the newest addition of Global Innovation Exchange at Bellevue's Spring District.

According to our inside sources, pre-sale will not begin until early 2018. If you are interested in One88 and you are not registered for early pre-sale opportunities, make sure to contact us right away to get you registered today!

See pictures of last week's ground breaking and read more from Downtown Bellevue Network.

Sept. 15, 2017

Hot and Cool Spots for Our Market

August followed many of the same trends we saw throughout spring and summer; a hot, hot housing market with low inventory and high prices. However, some cooler spots are becoming more apparent, and some trends are beginning their seasonal slowdown.

According to the latest release from the Northwest Multiple Listing Service (NWMLS), "pending sales area-wide during August totaled 11,867 transactions, barely exceeding the number of new listings" at 11,781. The total amount of active listings at the end of the month (15,987) was 12.8 percent less than the same time last year.

NWMLS director Frank Wilson credits the flurry of back-to-school activities and end of summer vacations for sidetracking some sellers and buyers. "Typically, the last two weeks or so of August cool a bit and the market picks up again full steam once school resumes."

Some buyers are taking advantage of the longer market times and evaluating their options. Even though there were still multiple offers last month, they were down a bit and some offer review dates "came and went with no offers by those deadlines," further signaling a cool down.

We can anticipate seeing a drop in new listing inventory as we head further into fall. This can keep our prices high, but there's no denying the fall/winter slowdown.

Read the full update from the NWMLS.

Sept. 8, 2017

Seattle a Top City for ROI

A new study named Seattle a top city for sellers to get the greatest return on investment. For those who may be leaving the Seattle area, they're very likely to see huge gains for their homes.

According to GeekWire, a new analysis by Zillow found that sellers across the West can see these huge returns. The report shows "Oakland and Portland lead the way, followed by San Jose, Calif., Denver, Los Angeles, Sacramento, Calif., and Seattle."

Seattle sellers, the report continues, gain an average of 53.1 percent, or $185,000, on a 2016 sale for a home after living there for an average of about nine years. Buying a home is one of the best ways for you to build your wealth for you and your family, especially in our local area. While it is a huge financial decision, the pay off is worth it.

GeekWire continues to explain that "ROI potential doesn't appear to be slowing, especially in Seattle where home values rose 15.5 percent year over year. That figure makes the city the fastest growing on Zillow's top 10 list."

Read the full article online on GeekWire.

Aug. 25, 2017

Amazon's Massive Takeover Leads to Seattle Boom

Amazon has become a powerhouse for the Seattle area. With its recent acquisitions, record employment, and now massive office space takeover, it seems there is not much this tech company cannot do.

According to a new analysis by The Seattle Times, "Amazon now occupies a mind-boggling 19 percent of all prime office space in the city, the most for any employer in a major U.S. city." To put that into perspective, they occupy more office space than the next 40 biggest employers in the city combined. Their 8.1 million square feet is expected to rise to more than 12 million within five years.

From computer power, to retailing, to publishing books and producing films, Amazon continues to support itself and its growth. John Schoettler, Amazon's director of real estate, says this "steady continued growth" is all he's experienced in his nearly two decades at the company.

In 2001 when Schoettler told CEO Jeff Bezos they needed a plan, Bezos' only condition was that Amazon would stay and grow in downtown Seattle. As a conscious decision, "by staying in the urban core, Amazon would attract members of the hip creative class." And their plan worked very, very well.

In fact, Amazon now employs about 40,000 employees in Seattle, up from 5,000 in 2010. They are now the largest employer in the city, and they have plans (and the room) to grow up to 55,000 by 2020.

Along with Amazon's growth comes an increase in commuters: people who drive at least 90 minutes each way to work. In the last five years, those commuters have increased by a shocking 72 percent.

Additionally, Windermere Real Estate's own chief economist Matthew Gardner notes Amazon's growth has been "so substantial that it can single-handedly skew the city's core office market." Many other tech companies are working their way into the Seattle market to recruit some of the same engineering talent that has been flooding to Amazon. Companies like Google, Apple, Facebook, and more are hoping for some of the same success.

Read the full article from The Seattle Times for more on Amazon's retail revitalization, history, and real estate boom.

Aug. 18, 2017

GIX Opening Soon in Bellevue

Global Innovation Exchange (GIX)

With GIX opening next month in Bellevue, the Spring District is ready to become the next major urban hub on the Eastside.

The Global Innovation Exchange (GIX) is a partnership between the University of Washington and Tsinghua University in Beijing "that will create a graduate school focused on technology and innovation." Backed by a $40 million investment from Microsoft, the campus at the new Spring District in Bellevue will eventually grow to 3,000 students over the next 10 years.

The students admitted to GIX's new programs are being chosen according to the highest standards and interview processes. 425 Business quoted GIX's co-director Vikram Jandhyala saying, "We are looking at, individually, how entrepreneurial are these students? It's very different from just looking at recommendation letters, essays, and GPAs."

According to 425 Business, joining the highly-anticipated GIX and its students at the Spring District will be REI's new headquarters, new office towers, apartment buildings, retail shops, a brew pub, and parks. The addition of the light rail by 2023 will help more than 2,000 new residents and 13,000 employees fill the Spring District.

Read more from the original article from 425 Business.

Aug. 11, 2017

What to Expect for the Rest of 2017

We're more than halfway through 2017! That means it's time to reflect on national housing market predictions from the beginning of the year and look ahead to what we can expect for the remainder of the year. As a reminder, in early 2017, experts anticipated price growth would slow, inventory would bottom, and mortgage rates would climb.

According to Forbes, here are five things we can look out for:

1. Continued low inventory. Low inventory has been synonymous with our local market for a while, so this quote from one expert probably hits close to home for many people in the Seattle area: "I think we are OK calling it a straight up inventory crisis at this point." According to an analysis, the current number of homes for sale is about equal to the housing supply in 1994 even though the U.S. population has grown by 63 million people since then.

2. More demand and higher prices. To follow the last point, since supply cannot fulfill demand, national home prices were up 5.58 percent through May. The current administration's policies that could boost demand and millennial home buyers mean demand is not expected to dissipate anytime soon.

3. Lack of affordable housing. While the median value of homes in the U.S. is a relatively affordable $200,000, the median home sold for $263,800 in June. These prices are different (i.e. significantly lower) than what we typically see in our local market, but it is also common for us to see homes sell way over list price.

4. Homes will move fast. This is the effect of low inventory and high demand. The good news is there are still homes for sale. The not so good news is they go quickly. Nationally, the share of homes still on the market two months after listing is 47 percent. Again, these numbers are different for our region but the phenomenon of homes being snatched up quickly is the same.

5. Low mortgage rates. Here's some good news! The average rate of the 30-year fixed mortgage is below the roughly 4 percent rate seen at the start of the year and at the low end of the range of economists' forecast for the end of the year. We owe this to investor confidence in the U.S. government.

Contact us with questions about how we can help you better understand and navigate our ever-changing housing market!

Aug. 4, 2017

The Effects of Low Condo Inventory in Downtown Bellevue

This year's inventory has been extremely low and downtown Bellevue has become even more desirable. The way of living and the lifestyle that Bellevue has to offer continues to attract more and more people each day. With large developments on the rise (Lincoln Square Expansion) and tech companies such as Amazon, Google, and Microsoft claiming most of the office space, we are seeing more and more people looking to call downtown Bellevue their home.

Mike Grady, president and COO of Caldwell Banker Bain states "The numbers tell the continuing story of a very tight market created by the situation of a region where far more jobs are being created than new housing units - whether they are apartments, condos, or single-family homes. This pattern won't change until developers can out-build net new job creating, especially in the greater Puget Sound area." Grady further elaborates on the demand of condos and what they look like in today's market. "Condos, once the path to ownership for first-time buyers, offer sparse options. Inventory is down 24 percent from a year ago. Condos currently only account for about 8 percent of all active listings, and there is less than a month's supply."

Read our full article featured on Downtown Bellevue Network.