Seattle – Bellevue Real Estate Market Update

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19 homes have sold for $2 million
or more in the Seattle area this year, including an historic mansion

  • It’s increasingly common for homebuyers to pay $2 million or more for a single-family home in King County.
  • There were 19 homes that sold in King County in January and February for at least $2 million.
  • That was 15% of the 127 homes that sold for at least $1 million, according to public records listing recent real estate transactions.
  • The $2 million home were bought across the region, including Seattle, Bellevue, Issaquah, Shoreline, Mercer Island, Kirkland and Woodinville.  They include new construction and one historic mansion.
  • The median sales price is up 15% in King County and 10% and 11% in Pierce and Kitsap counties, respectively.
  • The median price of a single-family house in King County now stands at $560,000.
  • That’s double the $280,000 in Pierce and Kitsap counties and 36% more than Snohomish County’s $412,500 median price.
  • The number of homes for sale will increase as the spring selling season begins, but with that will come more buyers.

Apartment landlords sue Seattle over new ‘first-in-line’ tenant rule

  • Some small-time apartment landlords on Thursday sued Seattle over the city’s new rule that mandates they rent to the first qualified tenant who shows up.
  • By denying owners the freedom to choose among qualified applicants the “first-in-line” rule violates state constitutional protections for property rights, according to the lawsuit that the Pacific Legal Foundation filed in King County Superior Court.

Three new Bellevue office buildings are hubs for tech companies and changing the downtown workforce

  • When you think about the ways downtown Bellevue is changing, what comes to mind?  More shops? More restaurants? More residents?
  • How about a different type of office worker?  A trio of downtown office towers has recently opened, ushering in the latter – a wave of tech employees.
  • “I’ve been leasing space for 30 years in downtown Bellevue,”  said Paul Sweeney, principal and cofounder of The Broderick Group.  “When I first started, we were always targeting CPA’s and law firms.  Not anymore.”
  • In January, the San Francisco based cloud computing and software company Salesforce held a ribbon-cutting ceremony to mark the opening of its three-floor, 70,000 sq/ft office in the new 19-story, 462,000 sq/ft – 929 Office Tower.
  • In February, the mobile advertising firm AdColony prepared to move into approximately 26,000 sq/ft on the 929’s 14th floor.
  • Centre 425, a 16-story, 354,000 sq/ft tower developed by Schnitzer West, opened this year and is home to a single tenant:  Amazon
  • And tenants began moving into the 31-story, 750,000 sq/ft Lincoln Square Expansion office tower in late January, including video game developers Valve Corp. – floors 11-19.
  • Pokemon – floors 26-29 @ 80,000 sq/ft
  • and the consumer electronics company Samsung – 21st floor @ 25,000 sq/ft.

Expedia to keep satellite office in hometown of Bellevue after departing for Seattle in 2019

  • Expedia confirmed that it plans to keep at least a chunk of office space in its current hometown of Bellevue behond the timeline of its 2019 departure across Lake Washington with a final destination of the Seattle waterfront.
  • The travel giant has agreed to extend a lease at a building called Skyline Tower in Bellevue to hold onto three floors of office space totaling 55,000 sq/ft until at least 2022 with room for about 500 employees.
  • Instead of a fixed office for certain teams or employees, the space will be available for employees to book for a certain amount of days per month.
  • They found that there was a desire to keep some space on the Eastside as an option for employees as we transition to Seattle.
  • Though the move raises Expedia’s cache locally by giving it a signature headquarters, it will also drastically increase the commutes of many employees.
  • Expedia also has eventual plans for “Phase II” and “Phase III” that could expand the campus to 1.9 million sq/ft and accommodate up to approximately 8,000 employees.

Taller buildings proposed for more of Seattle in exchange for affordable housing

  • Downtown Seattle and South Lake Union are the next neighborhoods where Mayor Ed Murray wants to allow taller buildings in exchange for help with affordable housing.
  • Under the proposed upzone, new projects would be allowed to climb one or several stories higher, depending on location.
  • In some cases, projects would be allowed more floor area.
  • The upzone would trigger the city’s new Mandatory Housing Affordability program, which requires developers to include rent-controlled units in their projects or pay fees to help create such units elsewhere.

PGIM Makes $362.4 Million Investment in Kirkland Urban

Kirkland Urban

  • New Jersey-based PGIM Real Estate has made a $362.4 million investment into the Kirkland Urban mixed-use development project in Kirkland, according to a board meeting document from the Ohio Bureau of Workers Conpensation Board.
  • Upon completion, Kirkland Urban will be a trophy caliber mixed-use development in a well-established community and a strong long-term investment for our clients.
  • We are pleased to partner with Talon and Ryan to Bring a high-quality, modern office space and apartment, and a new retail destination to Kirkland.

Southport, the largest mixed-use construction project underway in Renton

Renton WA Southport Development

  • Southport is inching closer to completion and could soon look more like the waterfront urban village its developer envisions
  • SECO Development purchased the 17.1 acre site from Puget Sound Energy in 1999 for approximately $7 million, and has since developed it in phases.
  • The five-store, 383-unit Bristol I and Bristol II apartment buildings werer completed in 2002 and 2006, respectively.
  • The 12-story, $180 million, 347 room Hyatt Regency Lake Washington is scheduled to open in June.
  • And three nine-story, $350 million office towers scheduled to open between July 2018 and January 2019 will offer approximately 700,000 sq/ft of Class A office space.
  • The campus will also feature a range of retail shops and restaurants.
  • In the end, the $590 million Southport project aims to be a game-changer for Renton, and a campus bustling with thousands of office workers, apartment residents, and hotel visitors.

Alaska Airlines expects to hire more than 2,300 people in 2017

  • Alaska Air Group Inc. expects to hire more than 2,300 people this year for front-line jobs at Alaska Airlines and Horizon Air.
  • The fast-growing airline already employs 15,600 workers and recently completed its $2.6 billion takeover of California-based Virgin America.

Last new finished downtown Seattle condo sells

  • They’ve sold the last new condo at the two-tower Insignia condo project in downtown Seattle.
  • The news comes nearly five years after construction started on the 698-unit project, and it means the urban core is back to having no finished new-construction units available for sale.
  • Another tower project, the 168-unit Luma project on First Hill, sold out several months ago
  • Approximately 13,000 new housing units have been delivered in downtown Seattle since 2011, but only 6% of these units were for-sale condos and the rest rental apartments.

Bothell finally gets its wish:  new homes for sale in its revamped downtown

  • A Kirkland-based real estate company, MainStreet Property Group, says it has sold a large property in downtown Bothell, where the buyer will build 45 high-end townhouses.
  • MainStreet announced the deal with homebuilder Toll Brothers, which bought the nearly 2.2 acre site at 9654 N.E. 182nd St.
  • The property, which is where the City Hall annex building stood before it was demolished, is next to the Bothell Library.
  • Toll (NYSE:TOL) paid $8.55 million for the property, according to public records.  MainStreet had acquired the site from the city for nearly $3.4 million, and went through the process of entitling the property for development.
  • Toll’s project will be the first for-sale housing development in the neighborhood since Bothell launched its major downtown makeover which included the city buying up 25 acres of land and selling off parcels to developer.

Seattle ‘passive house’ design firm is tops in North America

  • To design cutting-edge projects takes a well trained team, which is why NK Architects of Seattle has ramped up its education effort around “passive houses”.
  • Passive-house design is a super-green building technique that relies on extra insulation and high-performance windows.  It can cut heating and cooling loads by 90%.
  • NK believes demand for passive houses will grow significantly, so it has invested in getting 21 employees certified as passive house consultants and designers.
  • That’s the most of any firm in North America.

The largest Tech Companies in Washington

  1. Microsoft 45,431           114,000 globally
  2. Amazon    40,000         341,000 globally
  3. Expedia      3,500
  4. Centurylink 2,130
  5. Google          2,000
  6. Facebook      2,000          17,048 globally
  7. Tableau        1,700
  8. F5 Networks  1,376
  9. Accenture       1,271        394,000 globally
  10. Zulily               1,250
  11. Apple               1,200
  12. Zillow              1,190

Housing inventory reaches record low, but brokers expect spring bounce

  • Home buyers are in a spring mood, but sellers are still hibernating, suggested on broker while commenting about the latest statistics from Northwest Multiple Listing Service.
  • Figures for February and feedback from brokers indicate record-low inventory is spurring multiple offers, rising prices, fewer sales, and frustrated house-hunters.
  • Year over-year pending sales (mutually accepted offers) declined for the first time since March 2016, falling 8.9%.
  • Eight counties, including King and Snohomish, reported double-digit drops in pending sales as the volume of new listings couldn’t keep pace with demand.
  • During the past three months, broker have added 17,572 new listings to inventory, down only 5.7% when compared to the same three-month period of a year ago.  During the latest December-to-February timeframe, MLS members reported 22,393 pending sales, far outpacing the number of new listings.
  • Our robust market has created extreme conditions, and we’re seeing frenzy hot activity on each new listing coming on the market.
  • We’re also experiencing some of the lowest inventory levels on record.
  • In fact, a check of the Northwest MLS records dating to 2004 shows no other month when the number of active listing dipped below the 10,000 mark – until last month.
  • At the end of February, there were 9,091 active listings in the Northwest MLS system, which encompasses 23 counties.  That represents a drop of nearly 25% from the year-ago total of 12,107.
  • Sellers are frustrated when they cannot find another home to match their current needs, or when a home goes off market so fast that the option of a contingent sale is not even considered.
  • Brokers believe seasonality is a factory, with several saying they are expecting an uptick in listings.
  • Sellers that have come to market ahead of the traditional spring market are reaping the benefits of less competition (from others who are selling) and a highly competitive buyer pool.
  • Kitsap County is seeing an increase in investor type buyers as they anticipate the impact of the new fast ferry system, now in the beginning stages of roll-out.
  • Access directly to Seattle on a fast foot ferry will have a large impact on Kingston, Bremerton, and Port Orchard, while hopefully reducing the pressure on the Bainbridge Island terminal.
  • Home sellers are benefiting from the perfect storm of market conditions, but as the ongoing low inventory levels and precipitous drop in pending sales indicate, there simply are not enough homes to meet the demand of buyers.
  • All of this is pushing up home prices faster than anywhere else in the country and will continue to do so if we don’t see more homes come on the market this spring.
  • With less than a two month supply of inventory, we will continue to see price escalation.
  • Prices on closed sales of single family homes and condos in Kitsap County are up 10% from a year ago.
  • That county has about 1.4 months of supply, third lowest among the 23 counties in the MLS database.
  • Both King and Snohomish County had less than one month of supply.  Area-wide there was about 1.7 months of supply
  • Year-over-year prices are up nearly 8.9% area-wide, with 13 counties reporting double-digit gains.
  • The media price for last month’s 5,374 closed sales of single family homes and condos (combined) was $335,000.
  • Closed sales volumes rose nearly 6.9% from a year ago.
  • In King County – one of only four counties where the volume of closed sales fell from a year ago- prices jumped 14.5%, climbing from $439,950 to $502,000.
  • Despite the drop, King County’s year-to-date total of 3,803 closed sales is running 7.3% ahead of the first two months of 2016.
  • System-wide, the number of completed transactions for January and February is up 12.3%
  • The figures indicate the “fast pace, high velocity market” will continue to grow in 2017.
  • For single family homes (excluding condos), the median selling price in King County was $560,000.  That’s a gain of more than 8.7% from the year-ago figure of $514,975.
  • Snohomish County prices spiked more than 18.2%, rising from $327,500 to $387,250.
  • For single family homes only, prices in that county increased 14.9%, from $359,000 to $412,500.
  • At this point it appears that those seeking to stay in ‘commuter counties’ that surround the job hub of King County have the best opportunity to do so in Pierce County.
  • “However”, he noted, “inventories in Pierce County are shrinking at a high rate as well (down nearly 24%), suggesting that demand is pushing southward to Tacoma/Pierce County.
  • The median price on last month’s sales in Pierce County rose to $274,950 from $249,250 for a gain of 10.3%.
  • That’s about 55% of the price in King County ($502,000)
  • Single family home prices (excluding condos) in Pierce County ($280,000) were half the price of King County ($560,000).
  • Area-wide prices on last month’s completed transactions for condo sales rose 6.2% from a year ago, increasing from $275,000 to $292,000.
  • Condo inventory plunged 33.2%, most notably in King County where brokers reported a sharp drop, at 41.5%.
  • At month end there were only 759 condos listed for sale, down from the year-ago total of 1,136 units.

Sales Summary

NWMLS Pending Sales February 2017

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Bellevue, WA – Real Estate Activity for July 2016

Key corner in Redmond to get new apartments

  • Another apartment developer has invested in downtown Redmond and plans to build a large project at the key corner.
  • Fairfield Residential will build a six-story, 360-unit project at 15810 Bear Creek Parkway.  This is on top of the nearly 700 units that have opened in downtown and nearby Overlake area since 2015, according to city officials.

Redmond Town Center, the next Eastside mall expected to add lots of housing

  • Portions of Eastside shopping centers are being redeveloped with hundreds of housing units and Redmond Town Center is the latest.
  • Lowe Enterprises is moving forward with a 86-unit apartment project on a parking lot next to Macy’s.  Lowe hopes to break ground late this year or early next year.

Seattle-area home prices set record; 2nd-fastest rising in nation

  • Seattle home prices have hit a record and are now rising faster than any major city outside the Pacific Northwest, according to the latest S&P/Case-Shiller data.
  • Compared with a year ago, Seattle area single family home values in March were up 10.8%, behind only Portland where prices have shot up 12.3% in the last year, according to Case-Shiller index released Tuesday.  The Seattle growth rate was more than double the national average of 5.2%.

Seattle region’s population growing at historic pace, making biggest annual gain in a century

  • Seattle and its surrounding counties added 86,320 new residents between April 2015 and 2016, marking the region’s biggest population gain this century, fueled in large party by the region’s technology industry.
  • In other words, an average of 236 people are moving to Seattle area each day, according to a new report by The Puget Sound Regional Council, a growth management and planning organization.
  • By that metric, the Puget Sound area has likely already surpassed 4 million residents, possibly as early as the first week of June.
  • In April, population was at 3,985,040, according to the report.  King County saw the biggest growth, adding 52,300 people (a 2.5% increase).  Snohomish County followed with 5,260 newcomers.
  • The 2.2% increase in the Seattle area over the last year can largely be attributed to the region’s tech boom.  Amazon is growing rapidly, adding jobs at a break-neck pace, and other titans like Microsoft and Boeing continue to be major employers in the area.
  • These thriving corporations also feed into startup ecosystem as employees leave to launch their own ventures.  Meanwhile, Seattle’s reputation as a city with top tech talent has compelled dozens of big companies to set up engineering centers here.
  • This hyper-growth has become a lightning rod in the community as traffic, housing prices, and cost of living rise rapidly.

Foreclosure starts now at pre-crisis level

  • Foreclosure inventory continues to decrease, decreasing 3.55% from April to May and 29% year-over year, according to a recent report from Black Knight Financial Services.

‘Brexit’ Could Give U.S. Real Estate Brief Boost

  • Britain’s vote to exit the European Union will likely have a long-term impact on the world economy, but in the short-term, real estate could be flooded with investors flocking to the U.S. as a safe haven, pushing up the dollar and sending down mortgage rates.

Seattle’s devilish new home price record:  $666,000

  • The typical house in Seattle now costs 74% more than it did in 2011.  Across King County, the median home price is up 66% over those five years.
  • As home prices and rents continue to soar faster in the Seattle area than just about anywhere else in the nation, the city and its neighbors have set new highs for housing costs.
  • Seattle’s median single-family home cost $666,500 in June, easily beating out the record set in February according to figures released Wednesday by the Northwest Multiple Listing Service.  Seattle home prices have risen 15.9% just in the past year and an astounding 74% in the last five years.

market1 market2 market3 market4 market5 market6 market7

City of Seattle

  • In 2015, the City of Seattle passed an ordinance requiring owners of certain multi-family properties to provide advance notice to the City prior to listing the property for sale (the “Ordinance”).  This Bulletin outlines the Ordinance and provides information on brokers’ disclosure obligation arising from the Ordinance.
  • The Ordinance requires owners of multi-family properties containing five or more units, where at least one of the units is affordable to a household earning 80% or less of area median income, to notify the City of their intent to sell their property at least sixty (60) days prior to advertising the property for sale or listing it with a listing service.
  • A penalty of up to $500.00 may be assessed against owners who fail to comply.  Information about whether a property is subject to the notice requirement in the ordinance and where to send the required notice is available at

Real estate deal of the year: Seattle tower sells for $387M

  • Another overseas buyer has snapped up a Seattle office tower.  This time, it’s the 50-story Safeco Plaza in Seattle, according to a new report.
  • The $387 million purchase by a German company makes it the region’s biggest real estate sale so far this year.
  • Much of the attention has been on Chinese buyers, but German firms are also active, especially when it comes to office buildings leased to Amazon.
  • This is at least GLL’s second Seattle office acquisition.
  • Three years ago, the company paid $97.4 million for an Amazon-occupied building in South Lake Union, and at the end of last year another German firm, Union Investment Real Estate paid $299 million for two buildings that are part of Amazon’s headquarters.

From $30 billion to $45 million:  Once-giant Infospace slowly slips away

  • Twenty years ago, before “Google it” was the default answer to “How can I find out where that restaurant is?”, a Bellevue company called Infospace was clawing its way to the top of the search engine pack.
  • By 2000, the company was one of the largest software companies in the Northwest with a vaulation of more than $30 billion – about 30 times more than Boeing at the time.
  • Now, Infospace has been sold to a small Venice California based online marketing company called OpenMail for $45 million.

Fortive starts trading, becomes on of Washington state’s largest publicly traded companies

  • Washington state just got a new publicly traded company, when Danaher Corp. split in two.
  • Everett-based Fortive Corp. completed a planned spinout from Washington, D.C.-based Danaher (NYSE:DHR) to form a standalone company that oversees a number of industrial technology and professional instrumentation businesses and retail/commercial petroleum businesses.
  • Headed by president and CEO James Lico, Fortive employs more than 24,000 people in over 40 countries.  The companies that make up Fortive, collectively reported 2015 revenue of $6.2 billion, Fortive said.  That makes the new company the state’s 10th largest publicly traded company as ranked by revenue.


Eastside cities create ‘Innovation Triangle’ to lure foreign investors

  • The cities of Bellevue, Kirkland and Redmond are banding together with the Economic Development Council of Seattle and King County to promote the Eastside to a variety of foreign-owned companies interested in investing in the United States.
  • As part of the effort, the cities this week are rolling out a new branding strategy called Innovation Triangle.
  • The triangle is “a place where creativity is the goal and building the future is the destination,” Bellevue Major John Stokes said in a prepared statement.
  • The group is in Washington, D.C., at the SelectUSA Investment Summit, a government program administered through the U.S. Department of Commerce.  The cities and EDC are working with the Washington State Department of Commerce to promote the state, and in particular Seattle and King County, as a place for international businesses to be.
  • Stokes said Bellevue, Kirkland and Redmond want tech and “innovation-intensive” businesses to experiment and develop products and services.
  • There already are 54,600 software publishing workers and 99,100 information and communications technology workers in the cities, so they offer a deep pool of talent.

65 buildings under construction now in downtown Seattle

  • More than 14 million square feet of office space is in the pipeline; more than 5,200 hotel rooms are on the way; and 8,661 housing units are slated for completion this year and next
  • More buildings are under construction in downtown Seattle than a any time since 2005 when the Downtown Seattle Association started tracking.
  • $3.5 billion is currently invested in downtown development – more than twice the amount invested five years ago.
  • The demand remains strong for office and residential space, and we’re seeing evidence of that with continued low vacancy rates for housing and major employers choosing to locate in the heart of the city.

Market showing signs of adjusting, but buyers still see double-edged sword

  • Home sales around Western Washington continued at a torrid pace during June, but a 10% year-over-year increase in new listings has some brokers with Northwest Multiple Listing Service suggesting a little relief may be emerging.
  • Citing reports of projected job growth in the region (pegged at 70,000 new employees) but only 8,000 new residential units in the same forecast, this imbalance is rippling to outlying counties.  Inventory is now shrinking at a greater rate in some of the outlying counties than in the tri-county area of King, Snohomish and Pierce counties.
  • This market is “frenzy hot” in June, but suggest there was a “short breath of fresh air for homebuyers”.  He credits the combination of more inventory coming on the market and lower interest rates with bringing some “welcome relief to the backlog of buyers who have been waiting to purchase a home”.
  • There were fewer multiple offers for each new listing, 80% of new listings are still selling within the first 30 days in price ranges where 90% of the sales activity is taking place.  That contrasts with a “healthy” (more balanced) market when only around 30% of listings are selling in the first 30 days.
  • Northwest MLS members reported 11,995 mutually accepted offers last month for a 4.73% increase over the year-ago volume of pending sales.
  • Fore the four-county Puget Sound area, brokers reported 8,869 pending sales, the highest total for the month of June since 2005.
  • New listing activity improved compared to a year ago with 12,759 sellers putting their home or condo on the market.
  • That’s a 10.2% improvement from 12 months ago and marks the largest number of new listings added in a single month since March 2010 when brokers replenished supply with 12,994 new listings.
  • Last month’s additions brought the number of total active listings up to 16,838 properties.
  • A year ago, across the 23 counties in the report, buyers could choose from 20,333 listings.
  • With only 1.7 months of supply system-wide (for single family homes and condos combined), inventory is well below the 4-to-6 month level.  Both King and Snohomish counties have barely more than one month of supply.
  • Inventory of condos is more meager, hovering near 1.1 months supply area-wide.  In both King and Snohomish counties there is less than a month of supply (.0.80).
  • For single family homes only, there is 1.82 months of supply – and even less than that level in all four central Puget Sound counties.
  • Not surprisingly, prices continue to escalate.  In fact, a recent report from CoreLogic, a property analytics company, indicated home prices are rising faster in Washington than in any other state in the nation.
  • Last month’s 9,805 closed sales across all counties in the MLS report had a median selling price of $350,000, with is nearly 8.9% higher than the year-ago figure of $321,500.  17 of the 23 counties experienced double-digit increases, led by Grant County (up 24.9%), Jefferson County (up 24.4%) and Skagit county (up nearly 23.8%).
  • In King County, which accounted for about 40% of the sales, the median prices surged 13.3% from a year ago, rising from $450,000 to $510,000.
  • For single family homes only (excluding condos), prices in King County rose 14.7%, from $500,000 to $573,522.  Condo prices skyrocketed nearly 22% compared to a year ago.
  • The median sales price last month was $350,000; twelve months ago the buyer of a median-priced condo in King County paid $287,000.
  • Buyers are seeing rapidly-rising prices as a double-edged sword.  On one hand, the market is a fabulous investment and a way to secure monthly housing costs,” he explained, but added, “on the other hand, prices and scarce inventory are getting out of hand!”
  • For the first time, we’re hearing a common theme.  Buyers are willing to make “huge sacrifices”, such as significant concessions on a home’s square footage, in order to be closer to jobs and good schools, and they’re foregoing once-desired “core features” for their family’s home.
  • Buyers are making large down payments instead of relying on zero down programs.
  • The high down payments (achieved at times by borrowing from family) are sometimes made to help cover the difference between the sales price and appraised value.
  • “Demand for U.S. real estate could rise”, said Lawrence Yun, chief economist for the National Association of Realtors.  He attributes uncertainty before the Brexit vote as the likely reason the Federal Reserve decided not to raise interest rates in June and said the U.S. could face an influx of foreign buyers looking to pull out of the U.K.
  • This market has buyers asking ‘what do I have to do to buy a home’, while sellers ask ‘what don’t I have to do to sell my home’?
  • Despite the challenges the market is encouraging for owners who have been considering a move.
  • “It’s a cause and effect situation: they find a home to buy, then put their home on the market, thus adding to inventory”.  We believe the best opportunity for buyers to purchase will be within the next 4 months because of expected improvements in inventory and lower interest rates.

4county JuneCountiesActivity



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Finding your own personal prosperity

To many in life – prosperity has taken on the false identity of money. But, that is not what true prosperity is all about. It’s really about having the freedom to do what you want, where you want, at any time you want. Prosperity is independent of the whims of the economy or your luck at the black-jack table. It is independent of your skills, talents and intelligence as well. And last but not least, it is independent of a network of connections to people you may know.
The majority of people spend their lives in pursuit of things, eventually realizing that most of those “things” remain just out of reach. Why? Because they have made that decision to pursue and chase those “things”. The fundamental secret lies in the ability to not need any of those things…… that’s the point at which their attainment becomes much easier to achieve.
To be around those who are truly wealthy, you discover that there are common traits and ways of viewing the world. Contrary to the a common misconception – they do not take advantage of others. Typically, others will come to them, and their interests are not driven by the pursuit of owning anything and everything. It’s always about what’s been given to you and why. What you discover in life, is that typically the most profound and powerful secrets are found in the most elegant and simplest of things.

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April 2016 Bellevue, WA Market Watch

Last 7 day market watch

New Listings – 2443
Pending Listings – 3632

If you haven’t seen it, rent it!

  • The Big Short is excellent at showing both what and how the real estate crash of 2007-08 was set in motion.

– Lending was out of control on high risk loans

– They were packaging and selling them with good loans as Mortgage Backed Securities

that were AAA rated

– One stock analyst identified the risk and set out to become the 1st to sell them short

– In one day he shorted $100,000,000 to 13 different lenders

– The banks failed at first to change the AAA ratings.  The banks should have changed

the ratings when 4% of the loans went bad

– At 11% failed the first bank collapsed and it was a domino effect after that

– American Mortgage Backed Securities were thought to be the safest place to invest

Delinquencies at 9-year low  after big drop in February

  • After a worrisome spike in January, foreclosure activity settled back down in February, with some metrics reaching multi-year lows.
  • Black Knight Financial Services said that delinquency rates, which had jumped above 5% in January for the first time in nearly a year, fell 12.57% in February to 4.45% of outstanding mortgages.
  • It was the lowest rate since April 2007 and 15.93% below the rate in February 2015.

New home sales signal confidence in housing market

  • While the latest new home sales report didn’t post any game-changing news, it still signals a positive outlook for the housing market amid a lot of economic data showing a lackluster housing market
  • Sales of new single-family houses in February 2016 were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 512,000

REI eyes Spring District for a new HQ campus

  • REI has a non-binding agreement to take eight acres in Bellevue’s Spring District for a new headquarters campus
  • The outdoor company said in a statement yesterday it has outgrown its 170,000 sq/ft headquarters in Kent and is looking for a new location

Bellevue's Spring District Rendering

  • A representative from Wright Runstad & Co., which is developing the Spring District, said REI would buy the land, which makes up more than 20% of the 36 -acre property
  • The deal is not final so REI or Wright Runstad could pull out at any time without penalties.  REI said it will decide by the end of the summer whether to go ahead with a Spring District campus
  • The new REI headquarters could open there by 2020, but REI did not give any details about how much space it plans to build
  • REI said the proximity of transit and outdoor space are among its top priorities in choosing a new location.  Sound Transit Link light rail will reach the Spring District in 2023, and REI said it is encouraged by recent transit investments such as bike lanes and trails
  • The Spring District could ultimately have up to 5.3 million square feet of offices, retail, housing and parks.  Development could cost approximately $2.3 billion
  • It has about 1,200 employees at its headquarters

7-Story building at Rainier Brewery site will combine work lofts and storage

  • A tower crane has popped up at the old Rainier Brewery site at 3250 Airport Way S., on a spot where several above-ground tanks once stood
  • Documents submitted to the city show the plan is to build a seven-story mini-warehouse with custom craft spaces and parking for 112 cars, both at grade and below grade
  • About 7,400 square feet of retail would face Airport Way on the ground level
  • On the second, third and fourth floors, mini-storage will share space with craft rooms lining two exterior walls
  • On the fifth floor, craft space would face a courtyard with several walkways leading to a pond with a fountain.  There also is a circular seating area off one of the walkways.

Albertsons acquires remaining 29 Haggen locations

  • Albertsons on Monday submitted a binding bid letter and form of Asset Purchase Agreement to Haggen for the purchase of 29 of Haggen’s core stores, confirming reports that Albertsons would seek to acquire the remaining Haggen core
  • This is a step in the process to obtain bankruptcy court approval, following Haggen’s Chapter 11 filing on September 8, 2015, which is required for consummation of the purchase

First look:  Expedia unveils designs for huge Seattle waterfront campus

New Expedia location

  • Nearly a year ago, Mark Nagle was on the hunt for a location that could serve as Expedia’s new headquarters
  • He found himself standing outside one spring afternoon on a sprawling campus along the Seattle waterfront
  • There was a massive cruise ship docked at Pier 91
  • The chugging sounds of a train carrying Boeing fuselages then echoed nearby; another, destined for Chicago via Amtrak, prepared for departure
  • Looking upward, Nagle saw jets descending to the Sea-Tac airport, holding their flight patterns in the sky
  • Expedia VP of Global Real Estate Mark Nagle….. this he thought, was the spot
  • “It was just screaming travel!”

New Seasons to start Mercer Island grocery

Storefront rendering for New Seasons






  • New Seasons Market unveiled designs this week for a grocery store on Mercer Island that it will start building this month
  • The 37,00 sq/ft store will be at 2755 77th Ave. S.E. in a space that was home to Albertsons until it closed last summer. The new grocery store is expected to open in the fall
  • Like all New Seasons, the Mercer Island store will have an indoor dining area, local and organic produce, sustainable raised meats and seafood, a deli with chef-prepared foods, fair trade and local flowers, a sandwich shop, organic bakery, home goods and gifts made by local artisans, and a wellness section.

After $155 million sale, Boeing has a new landlord in Bellevue

  • A large office complex along Interstate 90 in Bellevue has sold for nearly $155.3 million, according to public records
  • Beacon Capital Partners of Boston sold the 17 year old, three building Sunset North campus in the 3100 block of 139th Ave. S.E. to M-M Properties Inc. of Houston
  • Located on the north side of the freeway, the building total around 460,600 sq/ft.  A big parking garage and 19.5 acres of land were included in the sale

Move seeks $1.77 billion in damages from Zillow for alleged trade secret leaks

  •’s parent company Move is suing Zillow (Nasdaq:Z,ZG) for $1.77 billion, court documents revealed for the first time this week
  • Until now the court documents hadn’t disclosed the amount of damages that Move was seeking from Zillow, the Seattle online real estate portal
  • In the case, filed in the King County Superior Court, Move alleges that two of its former employees, Errol Samuelson and Curt Beardsley, revealed trade secrets when they took jobs with Zillow in 2014.  For its part, Zillow has denied the charges, calling them “baseless”

Port of Everett takes another stab at $350M redevelopment

Redevelopment of Port of Everett


  • After 16 years and one failed attempt, the Port of Everett is taking a second shot at redeveloping its North Marina property
  • The port anticipates Waterfront Place, the new name of the project, will ultimately have around 650 residences, two hotels, commercial office and retail space, and a large park
  • The goal of the $350 million project is to create jobs and bring people to the 65-acre site on Puget Sound
  • The picture postcard setting is where, back in the day, pollutants belched from the smokestacks of lumber and shingle mills.  Commercial fishers and laborers at boat repair shops still operate on the site at the mouth of the Snohomish River
  • The port says that once Waterfront Place is fully built out, it will support 2,075 family-wage jobs
  • It’s a big task, as Chicago-based Maritime Trust found out last decade.  The port and Maritime Trust worked for six years to strike a development deal that led to the 2007 start of construction of a project that was to have up to 600 condos, restaurants, shops and a 1,000-seat amphitheater
  • A major financial backer pulled out of the deal a month later and eventually the Maritime Trust subsidiary that was developing the project filed for bankruptcy
  • Port officials say this time is different
  • “For starters, the port is going to be the master developer of the site, so we can continue to make forward progress on recruiting and attracting businesses to fulfill the development”

Amazon seeks stake in digital mapping company with ties to self-driving car market

  • (Nasdaq: AMZN) may be staking its first claim in the world of self-driving vehicles
  • Reuters reports that the Seattle tech giant is in talks with a group of German carmakers about acquiring a stake in digital mapping company Here
  • Amazon could offer cloud computing services to Here, which is owned by Audi, BMW and Mercedes, as part of such an agreement, Reuters said.
  • The connection with Here also would give Amazon exposure to the nascent field of autonomous automobiles, which one day could figure into Amazon’s development of its delivery services

Uber’s Seattle engineering office grows to 100 employees, with plans to double workforce

  • If you’ve used Uber to hail a ride around town, it may seem like there isn’t all that much that goes into the app.  You press a few buttons, a driver picks you up, you get dropped off, you pay for the ride, rate the driver, and it’s done
  • But underneath the skin of Uber’s app lies complex algorithms, complicated systems, dynamic pricing, supply positioning, mapping data, and much, much more
  • Uber’s Seattle engineering office, which is expanding rapidly as the ride-hailing giant- now valued at more than $60 billion – continues its rocketship growth

Census populations of WA market

Capitol Hill businesses hopeful the new light rail service will continue to increase business

  • Almost two weeks after the light rail station opened on Capitol Hill, the streets are still bustling with activity
  • “A lot of folks are taking the light rail up here during the day that we probably wouldn’t have seen with just the buses and cars
  • “There are a lot of fresh faces”, said Sierra Hansen, executive director of the Capitol Hill Chamber of Commerce.  “There is a buzz on Broadway we haven’t seen in some time.”
  • What the shops and restaurants on and around the Seattle neighborhood’s main thoroughfare are waiting to see, however, it’s if the recent uptick in business will cool down when the novelty of the new 4-minute ride from either downtown or the University District wears off

Seattle traffic is so bad commuters spend an extra 66 hours a year in their cars

  • Bolstered by fast-growing powerhouses including Amazon and Microsoft, the Puget Sound regions is nearly bursting at the seams – and one consequence is quickly worsening traffic
  • Kirkland traffic data company Inrix on Tuesday released its annual Urban Mobility Scorecard.  In a list dominated by top technology hubs
  • Seattle ranked near the top in total time commuters waste in traffic.  The average Seattle commuter wastes 66 hours annually behind the wheel – up from 63 hours in 2014
  • Seattle is No. 6 on the list.  Los Angeles, Washington D.C., San Francisco, Houston and New York rounded out the top five
  • Puget Sound-area companies are quickly bringing in new employees, adding to the region’s congestion issues.  Amazon, for example, nearly doubled its overall workforce to 231,000 in 2015 from 154,000 in 2014 – though most of the company’s employees work outside the region
  • The population of Seattle metropolitan area reached more than 3.8 million in 2014.  It’s expected to grow to close to 5 million by 2040, according to a Puget Sound Regional Council forecast

Paul Allen gives $100M to launch group to “make the world better”

  • Paul G. Allen on Wednesday announced he is starting the new Seattle-based Frontiers Group, which will fund out-of-the-box scientific research around the world
  • The co-founder of Microsoft (Nasdaq: MFST) made the announcement at the National Academy of Sciences in Washington, D.C., and said he is funding the initiative with an initial commitment of $100 million
  • The purpose of the Frontiers Group is to “explore the landscape of bioscience and fund ideas at the frontier of knowledge to advance science”, according to the group

Court gives green light for Paine Field commercial services as early as next year

  • Commercial flights out of Paine Field could start as early as 2017 now that a federal court has ruled against opponents.  “The ruling closes the door on all the environmental concerns, and allows us to continue to move forward”, said Propeller Airports LLC CEO Brett Smith

Nationwide Annual Real Estate Appreciations

Puget Sound area home sales slow (but not prices) as supply can’t match demand

  • Traffic isn’t the only thing that is gridlocked around many Puget Sound communities
  • We’re experiencing gridlock in the Puget Sound housing market
  • MLS figures show pending sales, across the 23 counties it serves, dropped about 4.5% in March compared to the same period a year ago
  • Inventory fell sharply – down more than 25%.  Brokers say that imbalance helped spur a 9.4% escalation in prices area-wide, with 12 counties reporting double-digit increases
  • One MLS spokesperson wondered if spring “has sprung in the wrong direction”.  Noting inventory usually grows at this time of the year, yet it is shrinking
  • The housing pool is getting smaller, resulting in a market that is extremely hard on people who are looking to find a place to live in Kitsap County
  • Kitsap County is one of six counties with less than two months of supply.  Area-wide, Northwest MLS figures show only 1.8 months of supply, well below the “balanced” range of four to six months.
  • During March, brokers reported 10,900 pending sales, about 500 fewer mutually accepted offers than a year ago for a drop of nearly 4.5%.  For the four-county Puget Sound region, pending sales were down about 6%
  • The year-to-date drop in pending sales versus first quarter 2015 is a reflection of tight inventory
  • To illustrate this point, we cite figures for the single family component.  In King County, pending sales for March declined nearly 11%, while prices spiked 20.7%.  Pending sales of condos (excluding single family homes) were about the same as a year ago in King County, but year-over-year prices jumped 15%
  • MLS members added 10,511 new listings to inventory during March, about the same as a year ago when they added 10,505 single family homes and condos to the offerings
  • At month end, there were 12,653 total active listings in the Northwest MLS system.  That represents a drop of 25.6% from the year-ago total of 17,007 active listings
  • In today’s market sellers want to find their next home before they list their current home, but because of the severe inventory shortage it’s hard to win in a multiple offer situation
  • Buyers are finding themselves in the company of another buyer “waiting in the wings” as back-up buyers, thereby creating an environment where the “first place” buyer is reluctant to ask for repairs in response to inspection discoveries
  • The existence of back-up buyers often shifts leverage to sellers when negotiating property improvements
  • An uptick in new construction around Snohomish County is expected to continue
  • This would certainly help stabilize the market so appreciation can return to more “healthy” escalation or normal levels
  • Closed sales outside of King County are outpacing year-ago levels.  This is most likely a reflection of the lack of affordability within King County and indicates that buyers are increasingly looking to other counties for their home purchases
  • The median selling price on homes and condos that closed last month was $320,000, up 9.4% from twelve months ago when it was $292,500
  • Compared to February, prices rose nearly 4%.  In King County, year-over-year prices for March jumped 11.5%, from $411,200 to $458,450
  • For single family homes (excluding condos), prices area-wide are up 8.7% from a year ago.  In King County, prices soared 20.7% compared to a year ago, jumping from $440,250 to $531,250
  • Condo prices shot up nearly 14.6% from a year ago.  For the 1,075 sales that closed last month, the median price was $275,000.  That compares to the year-ago sales price of $240,000
  • MLS members reported 7,075 closed sales of single family homes and condos during March for a gain of 4.5% from the year-ago volume of 6,769
  • First quarter figures for King County show the number of completed transactions is trailing 2015 slightly (6,114 versus 6,148), but the total for the other 22 counties in the MLS report shows a year-over-year increase of 11.4%

Statistical summary Pacific Northwest Region

SFH + Condo Pending Sales 4-County Puget Sound Region

Posted in Bellevue Washington Real Estate For Sale, General Real Estate Information, Real Estate Activity Pacific Northwest, Washington Real Estate | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Mercer Island’s own Cape Cod Mansion

Click here for home details

Cape Cod mansion which has been transformed by the Gallagher Company on 2/3 of an acre with 100 feet of low-bank waterfront on North East Mercer Island. Spectacular attention to detail, with premium finishes and a huge kitchen. Two deluxe wet bars, a 2nd kitchen downstairs, five fire places, and a huge bonus room above the 4-car garage. A 2000+ bottle wine cellar makes for opulent entertaining, a gym, sauna and mud room. 175 foot deep water dock, beach, fire pit, outdoor grill station, and a pool with built-in hot-tub. This is the real deal!

Posted in Bellevue Washington Real Estate For Sale, Bellevue Waterfront Properties, Custom High End Real Estate Puget Sound, Home Buying, Luxury homes, Mercer Island Homes, Puget Sound Homes, Seattle Homes for Sale, WA homes for sale, Washington Real Estate, Waterfront Properties For Sale | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

U.S. Open Championship @ Chambers Bay – Front nine; hole previews

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Mariners bring in Sherman for #firstpitch motivation

With a string of untimely losses – the Mariners bring in Richard Sherman ….to hopefully turn the tide of their current misfortune of losses?

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Newest Home in Newcastle @ The Reserve

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Prices are up in Seattle and around the Puget Sound

The Seattle-area housing market is turning on the after-recession-burners and currently shows no sign of slowing down as the spring buying season unfolds before us. There seems to be an unfaltering stream of buyers attracted to the area’s strong job market. King County currently is at a 1.3-month supply of homes with demand far outpacing that inventory. This has led to the current double-digit price increases we’ve seen over the past year. Based on statistics from the Northwest Multiple Listing Service, the median price for a single-family home in the city of Seattle has increased by 18.9 percent from March 2014, and now hovers at $535,000. As a whole, prices for King County have risen by 8.8 percent, and the median price for homes sold in March was $440,250. Condo prices have followed suit in King County, which are up to nearly an 8 percent increase over the year to a median of $269,600.

An added element of volitility has been added with the announcement that Bellevue’s long-time pillar, Expedia, will be moving its headquarters from downtown Bellevue to Seattle’s Interbay neighborhood. This move will bring with it, potentially, 3,000 employees who could choose to relocate in order to eliminate a commute from the Eastside. With interest rates low, low inventory, and surging demand, along with rental rates which are historically high, this market will continue to be dominated by multiple-offers and steadily rising prices in the months to come.

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Edge of the Fairway – Tee, Swing Repeat

Sometimes you just have to lighten up and have a little fun. And what better way than to take the opportunity to go up to The Golf Club at Newcastle and hit the range. I’m reminded of how rusty the swing becomes during the winter months … and how much I don’t want to play out in the rough stuff when the season kicks in gear.

Golf course living requires a special kind of discipline – Bear Creek Country Club home in Woodinville, WA #fore #lateralhazard #golfaddiction

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