The Latest on Downtown Bellevue Real Estate

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.

July 28, 2017

Decline of Foreign Buyers in Seattle

Top 3 Fastest-rising home prices (May 2016 vs. May 2017)

1. Seattle +13.3%

2. Portland +8.9%

3. Denver +7.9%

*Nationally +5.6%

Source: Case-Shiller home price index

According to the Seattle Times, the Seattle housing market is the hottest market in the country and prices are rising faster than ever since the last housing bubble 11 years ago. As a result, foreign buyers are beginning to look elsewhere. In comparison to a year ago, prices for single-family homes in Seattle rose 13.3 percent. In the past 3 years, no other region in the country saw prices rise this quickly.

After Vancouver B.C. implemented a tax on foreign buyers in 2016, Seattle became the #1 American city for foreign buyers. However, due to the rapid increase in home prices, we are now seeing foreign home sales drop. The Seattle Times states "A new annual survey from the National Association of Realtors shows foreign home sales across Washington state dropped to $1.55 billion for the year ending in March, down 24 percent, from $2.05 billion, in the previous year. Washington fell out of the top 10 states attracting foreign homebuyers."

We are not surprised to see that foreign home sales across the country have reached record levels. Foreign buyers tend to focus on concentrating their money in cheaper markets. As a result, larger cities such as Seattle, New York, and San Francisco are seeing a decline in foreign homebuyers this year.

Read the full article for more information on the Seattle Times.

July 21, 2017

Eastside Becomes Tourism Hotspot

The Eastside is coming into its own, and tourists & overnight visitors are starting to take notice.

According to several sources, the tech industry and the large corporate market have played a major role in driving the Eastside tourism industry. However, while the tech industry does deserve a lot of credit for drawing people to the Eastside, there is also something to be said of the unique identity the area has created for itself.

Doug Rigoni, CEO of Coast Hotels, USA noted, "In the past, the Eastside hospitality business was sort of an afterthought. It was like, if Seattle's full, well then Bellevue would get more business. But now, some people would rather be in Bellevue, and that's the kind of change that I think we're going to see more and more of."

We're happy to see more people appreciating all of the beauty and entertainment the Eastside has to offer! And of course we will be interested to see how this will impact real estate and enable local industries to grow and expand.

Read more from 425 Business

July 14, 2017

Washington No. 1 State for Business in US

In CNBC's 2017 ranking of America's Top States for Business, Washington state soared to the top of the list!

Our state's economy grew 3.7% last year, which is 2.5 times faster than the national rate. Additionally, we have the nation's largest concentration of STEM workers. The technology market here is one of the strongest across all 50 states. About 10% of Washington workers are employed in a STEM profession.

As CNBC states from their report, "The home of Amazon and Costco, Boeing and Expedia, as well as rising stars like Adaptive Biotechnologies, online marketplace OfferUp and space company Blue Origin, Washington has the old and new economies covered -- as well as pretty much everything in between."

The state is also a strong magnet for investment capital. "Washington businesses attract nearly $1.6 million in venture capital last year, the sixth-highest total in the nation."

We aren't without a couple of flaws though. The categories Education, Cost of Living, and Cost of Doing Business all ranked considerably lower when compared to other states. Infrastructure, a well-known deficit and common complain, also ranked 32nd.

Washington continues to make headlines and is taking the country by storm as one of the best places for business!

Read more on the full report from CNBC.

July 7, 2017

Nation's Hottest Housing Market

No. 1: Seattle

We are not surprised to see that Seattle (followed by Portland, OR) continues to be on the top of the list as the hottest housing market. According to GeekWire, "Seattle's residential real estate saw a 12.9% year-over-year price increase making it the nation's fastest-growing city for home prices for the eighth month in a row."

Frustration remains for homebuyers due to high demand and low inventory. Recent data from Zillow shows that there will not be a summer slowdown and that we will continue to see an increase in home prices. Due to rapid job growth in technology and other industries, Seattle continues to be one of the fastest-growing areas in the country and as a result, housing prices continue to sky rocket. According to Zillow, "real estate development has not been able to keep up with the city's population gains. Seattle had 6,030 homes on the market in May. That's 22.2% fewer homes than were on the market in April of last year."

Read the full article for more information from GeekWire.

June 30, 2017

The Decline of the Suburbs

Hot Topic - Seattle Population Growth

For about a century (starting since 1910), population growth was faster in surrounding King County than it was in Seattle proper. In 2016, the tables turned and "the suburbs experienced their slowest population gains in more than a decade."

Gene Balk of The Seattle Times explains how this changed happened. Last year, Seattle had its 5th consecutive year of faster growth. On a broader scale, "Seattle's population has increased by 15.4% since the start of the decade. The rest of the county? Just 8.9%." In addition to the faster rate, Seattle outgrew the surrounding areas in numbers of citizens alone. If we're comparing percentages again, that's 3.1% population growth in Seattle compared to just 1% outside of the city.

Balk has a great breakdown of the factors involved in this shift. There's been a shift in attitude toward cities, particularly among young people who are attracted to urban lifestyles and walkable neighborhoods. Also, explosive job growth in central Seattle has stimulated a boom in residential development in the city's core.

On a micro level, that's what makes areas like downtown Bellevue so popular. You can have the best both worlds in some of our favorite Eastside neighborhoods! 

Read the full article for more information from Gene Balk of The Seattle Times.

June 23, 2017

98,000 Homes Needed by 2030?

Yes, it's true.

We'll need an additional 98,000 homes in the Seattle area by 2030 according to a new report from the National Multifamily Housing Council (NMHC) and the National Apartment Association (NAA). We have seen many comparisons of the yearly and monthly increases in dwelling space, but now we have a glimpse of how much growth will occur in the next 13 years.

The Daily Journal of Commerce notes this study relies in "part on research from Axiometrics, which has reported an annual construction of 5,884 units for the past five years." Construction would have to increase a staggering 19% in order to keep up with the demand and our area's growing population.

The report continues saying, "Future demand will be created by factors including an aging population, immigration, and the decline in home purchases." Seattle is now ranked 11th out of 50 metro areas in terms of the apartment demand by 2030. Currently, we have about 406,000 apartments, and that will have to increase 24% to meet the anticipated demand. 

Read the full article on the Seattle Daily Journal of Commerce.

June 16, 2017

Eastside Housing Market Update

June 2017

The hottest real estate market in the country just keeps getting hotter. Despite a large number of new listings, home prices in the Puget Sound area continued to set records in May. According to a Seattle Times article, "For the first time since the 2007 housing bubble, every county in the central Puget Sound region has set a new median home price record." Brokers hope this news will help entice more sellers to put their homes on the market.

While down just slightly from its record high last month, the median price of a single-family home on the Eastside was up 15% from a year ago to $875,000. With just three weeks of inventory, those looking to buy a home can continue to count on a highly competitive market. It is key for buyers to work with a broker on a buying strategy, and to be willing to act quickly to make an offer.

Read more in the full report for more statistics on Windermere Eastside.