Interest rates dropped again prompting buyers to leap off the fence resulting in multiple offers for well-priced, turnkey properties. Sellers – this is your sweet spot! Inventory is increasing daily but we are still far short of meeting buyer demand. Savvy sellers are rushing to get their homes on market and take advantage of this seasonal opportunity. I have some great listings with more in the pipeline – call me or stop by my open houses to check them out!
BY THE NUMBERS
Click the images below to download your neighborhood’s recent real estate figures!
|EASTSIDE||SEATTLE||KING COUNTY||SNOHOMISH COUNTY|
Incorporated in 1953, during the heyday for cars, Bellevue was originally built for the automobile.
Back then, planners designed wide six-lane arterials meant to move vehicles fast. The road grid creates 600-foot-wide superblocks on former farmland.
Now, tremendous growth is straining transportation. Traffic stacks up during afternoon commutes, and Interstate 405 slows to a crawl.
As Amazon, Microsoft, Google, and others grow their Eastside workforces, City staff anticipate a net gain of roughly 18,000 downtown jobs by 2025, joining the more than 52,000 people who currently work in the city core.
Roughly translated, this would boost employment higher than the current numbers in Seattle’s busy South Lake Union.
But local leaders acknowledge remaking a car-dominated landscape doesn’t happen overnight. The City aims to cut the share of downtown commuters who drive alone to work to about one-third by 2035, a reversal of today’s pattern where more than two-thirds drive alone.
To do this, they’re planning for trains, buses, bicycles, walking, vanpools — and maybe even autonomous vehicles — to keep people moving.
In past years, the Bellevue City Council voted to create a safer walking network by converting Sixth Street to a 60-foot-wide, tree-lined walking corridor and shortening a street to complete its circular Downtown Park.
Instead of narrowing six- and seven-lane streets with so-called road diets, Bellevue’s approach to reducing car-pedestrian conflicts relies on skybridges around Bellevue Square, and altering some traffic signals to give walkers a head start at intersections. Smaller streets include walker-activated amber flashers.
Large employers and city officials are also counting on the $3.7 billion Sound Transit East Link light-rail line — projected to serve 50,000 daily passengers when it opens in 2023 — to handle many of the new commutes.
New bike lanes on 108th Avenue Northeast serve a trickle of riders for now. More bike lanes are planned on Main Street. Just east of I-405, the 42 miles of abandoned BNSF railroad tracks are being redeveloped for bicycle riders and pedestrians as Eastrail, spanning from Snohomish to Renton.
Bellevue’s growth spurt won’t necessarily translate into massive public-transit ridership, however, at least in the short term. Private transit is adapting faster.
With aid from a $100 million federal loan, the city has created or widened 11 streets between Wilburton and the Spring District east of I-405 where REI’s headquarters, Facebook and other companies are locating.
That follows citywide spending of $5.5 million to equip 197 intersections with adaptive signals that continually re-time to move clusters of approaching vehicles.
And the permit paperwork for the planned 43-story Amazon tower shows 1,175 underground parking stalls (nearly double the 632 spaces in the current parking garage that this new tower will replace).
On I-405, the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) will build an express toll lane each direction between Renton and Bellevue, to open in 2024, along with exit-only lanes to clear departing drivers off the mainline.
The existing carpool lanes will be converted to a second toll lane each way. Sound Transit will follow with new bus-rapid transit and park-and-ride lots.
Finally, in perhaps its most lofty vision yet, The Grand Connection is a sprawling pedestrian and cyclist pathway that would stretch between Meydenbauer Bay Park on the west, through Main Street and downtown, and across the freeway to Eastrail. With a bridge or park lid above I-405, just south of the nearly completed Sound Transit rail bridge, design concepts show amphitheater steps, sculptures and a row of ginkgo trees.
Unlike the longer Burke-Gilman Trail in Seattle, the Grand Connection would encourage people to linger at cafes and parks. As a traffic-free shortcut, it would reduce the need to drive and park at downtown spots.
There’s no funding yet. Costs vary based on whether Bellevue builds a full park like Mercer Island has over I-90, or a thin bridge, for around $130 million.
Classic Blue has officially been anointed Pantone’s 2020 “Color of the Year”. Pantone says it picked this color because of its ability to instill calm, confidence, and connection as we cross the threshold into a new decade. A dependable color, Classic Blue is timeless, and enduring, making it a great addition to just about any room in your home.
Here are some ways to add this stunning shade of blue to your home:
Add a splash of color to any room with Classic Blue furniture, such as these dining room chairs, which express a sense of tradition and elegance, as well as unexpected boldness.
Geometric patterns are all the rage this year, so why not liven up your kitchen backsplash with tiles that incorporate the color of the year? Here’s an example that achieves this through bold, colorful design that doubles as a piece of art.
If geometric tile isn’t your thing, the are other ways to bring your kitchen to life with this stunning shade of blue. If you’re not in a position to purchase all new cabinets, simply paint your current cabinets for a more affordable update.
Whether it’s built-ins, panels, or an accent wall, Classic Blue can make your furniture and décor pop. Consider this color when you paint your living room or bedroom as a way to encourage calm and confidence in your favorite spaces.
Another banner year for the region has brought tremendous prosperity across a breadth of industries, a wealth of new jobs, flourishing tourism, and the welcoming of several large businesses into our cities.
So, how is the Eastside poised to begin a new decade? Will this growth continue? To find out, 425 Business ditched the crystal ball and talked to Eastside movers and shakers across myriad industries to find out what they believe the year ahead holds.
Residential Real Estate
The Eastside residential real estate market is going to experience significant growth in the next few years. Amazon, Google, Facebook, and other tech giants are rapidly expanding their footprint to the Eastside. Thousands of tech workers relocating to this area, along with new hires for supporting businesses (such as retail and restaurants), will greatly increase the demand for housing. This year, almost half of the buyers who walked through my open houses were relatively new in town.
Condos under $750,000 and single-family homes under $1.5 million will sell very quickly if they are in good condition and priced right. Also, homes with easy access to public transit and future light rail stations will become more and more desirable. Areas in and near downtown Bellevue and downtown Kirkland will still be the hottest submarkets because they are job centers with superb amenities.
– Mei Yang, global real estate adviser and broker at Realogics Sotheby’s International Reality
Commercial Real Estate
(The current) cycle exhibits some significantly different conditions from those that precipitated the “thrift crisis” of the ’80s; the dot-com bust of the ’90s; or, certainly, the “Great Recession” of the last decade. Interest rates are lower, equity is plentiful, and expectations for return on equity across all asset classes are significantly less expensive.
Federal taxes and punitive regulations are generally lower (unfortunately, we can’t say that about state and local), and corporate earnings are remarkably strong (yes, with a few notable exceptions) despite tariffs and turmoil. Perhaps most important is the fact that employers across all sectors are scrambling to attract workers and have tens of thousands more openings to be filled.
My belief is that real estate economics is pretty simple — it’s all about employment. If you have healthy job creation, everything works. It attracts more residents who need housing, businesses that need more lawyers and accountants, kiddos who need teachers, demand for groceries, and so on. Conversely, if employment flattens or falls, the economy constricts.
Bottom line: If you can tell me when Eastside employers are going to quit hiring or start laying off, I’ll tell you when commercial real estate on the Eastside is going to suffer. Until then, land prices and rents on existing buildings will continue to rise, and developers will race to provide the office, apartment, and retail space to support the growth.
– Robert Wallace, CEO of Wallace Properties
Bellevue has a ton of local transportation improvements on tap for 2020 that will make travel safer and easier for thousands of residents. But we’re also excited about the work we’re doing with our regional partners. It has the potential to benefit hundreds of thousands of people in the coming years and will be a big boon for transportation options on the Eastside.
Bellevue and Kirkland are working with King County Metro on a new RapidRide K Line that will connect the Eastgate Park & Ride in Bellevue to the Totem Lake Transit Center in Kirkland starting in 2025. And King County Parks is working with several Eastside cities on Eastrail, a regional pedestrian and bicycle path.
On the roads side, the state Department of Transportation will break ground in 2020 on the I-405 Renton to Bellevue Widening and Express Toll Lanes project. It will add capacity, boost transit options, and improve safety on one of the most congested stretches of highway in the state.
– Andrew Singelakis, transportation director for the City of Bellevue
Next year, I see healthcare in general (and EvergreenHealth) placing an increased emphasis on access — both in the traditional sense and through innovative alternatives. The ever-permeating digital age provides care for patients through new approaches with even greater creativity and efficiency. We also will have the increased benefit of effective solutions, possible through new sources of data analysis and other breakthroughs.
As always, we’ll collectively prepare for the needs of an expanding senior population, offering valuable services to help them sustain their well-being and healthy, active lifestyles.
Finally, we are committed to collaborating with our schools and others, supporting care for students with behavioral health issues.
– Jeffrey J. Tomlin, CEO of EvergreenHealth
Bellevue and the Eastside’s tourism and hospitality industry is positioned for continued growth. Demand is projected to increase due to the growing corporate presence on the Eastside, a strong consumer economy, healthy airline capacity, and popularity in the Pacific Northwest as a destination. In recent years, the Puget Sound region has seen significant hotel supply increases, which have caused property rates and occupancy to level out, but we are hopeful that this additional demand will offset the recent inventory surge.
As a whole, travel growth in large technology markets like San Francisco, San Jose, Seattle, and Vancouver have recently slowed, compared with previous years. With that said, many business travelers now book rooms and visitor experiences outside of the large city centers — which positions areas like Bellevue and the Eastside well for 2020 and beyond.
– Brad Jones, executive director of Visit Bellevue Washington
(Next year) is the year that cybersecurity will turn inside-out. Malware, ransomware, and phishing attacks are all significantly on the rise, and (historically) 61 percent of data breach victims have been small businesses. These businesses can no longer rely on legacy tools like antivirus and networks that only protect them at the office.
Security must go mobile and leave traditional technologies behind. It’s also time to eliminate SMS-based authentication in favor of hardware keys that support Universal Two Factor authentication.
– Riley Eller, chief technology officer at Rubica
We expect the rapid growth of technology companies of all sizes based on the Eastside or expanding their operations to the Eastside to continue, many of which will be focused on intelligent connectivity, including 5G, AI, IoT, and Quantum computing. With that, we expect to see more regulatory attention on consumer privacy and data usage.
This regulatory attention will increase the demand for legal service providers, especially those who have a stake in the Eastside community and a desire for more personal interaction with their clients.
– Barry Stulberg, counsel, and Carly Chan, associate, Davis Wright Tremaine’s Bellevue Office
Eastside residents and business owners should have a plan in place for when times are good and when times are bad, regardless of the Federal Reserve’s actions. The Fed cut rates by 25 basis points, to 1.5 percent (from) 1.75 percent. This means that the Fed is helping prolong the economic expansion. The Fed is not expected to reduce rates further in the coming year, barring a recession. However, consumer confidence fell for a third straight month (as of Nov. 1), and consumers have not shown signs of slowing down.
Fed rate cuts to prop up an otherwise-slowing global economy generally mean that they are prolonging the inevitable — a recession. However, the bigger effect is to Americans saving for later. Because of low interest rates, American consumers are forced to take on more risk than necessary to make their money work for them. It would be prudent to include in one’s portfolio insurance and real estate to complement their investment portfolio.
Because of the technology industry and the various Silicon Valley companies coming into the Seattle-Eastside area, our economy will not be as affected as other economies when we experience a recession.
Clients at local technology companies have indicated that hiring has slowed down, and jobs that were eliminated aren’t being replaced with new workers. This can mean they are bracing for a possible recession or slowdown in the economy.
Consumer confidence is still not at a level where they are pulling back from spending; this explains why housing is still strong in the area and consumers are stretching their budget to buy into a hot real estate market.
Restaurants in the area are feeling the effects of a low interest rate environment, which generally follows inflation of raw materials and commodities. It is evident in the exorbitant prices we are experiencing when we go out to eat.
– Tony Sablan, wealth manager at Eagle Strategies LLC
This article was originally posted on 425 Business.
Some states shine in health care. Some soar in education. Some excel in both – or in much more.
Considering numerous metrics and thousands of data points, a new study by the U.S. News and World Report ranks Washington state as number one in the nation.
Using 71 different metrics and thousands of data points, the magazine measured how well states are performing for their citizens. In addition to health care and education, the metrics take into account a state’s economy, its roads, bridges, internet and other infrastructure, its public safety, the fiscal stability of state government, and the opportunity it affords its residents.
Named the best state overall, Washington ranked fourth in health care and education, third in economy, second for infrastructure, 14th in natural environment, 15th for public safety, and 19th for opportunity. Our lowest ranking was 22nd for fiscal stability for our residents.
The data supporting these rankings were “drawn from extensive and reliable governmental and private sources,” along with a national survey of what matters most to citizens around the country, according to the magazine.
Health care and education were weighted most heavily.
The top 10 states following Washington were New Hampshire, Minnesota, Utah, Vermont, Maryland, Virginia, Massachusetts, Nebraska, and Colorado in that order.
View all of the results and full rankings for this year and previous years on U.S. News & World Report.
2020 is off to a great start! We normally see a bit of a lull in January, but my open house traffic is already up significantly this month. In particular, I’m seeing heightened activity in the “affordable” range (under $1M). Extremely tight inventory and excellent rates are motivating buyers off the fence in what is shaping up to be a brisk Spring market. Buyers – it’s critical to get pre-approved before starting your search so you are shopping within your budget and are ready to offer when the perfect home comes along. Reach out to me for a referral to a trusted loan officer. Sellers – timing is everything! To plan ahead for the Spring market, contact me now for a complimentary listing consultation.
BY THE NUMBERS
Click the images below to download your neighborhood’s recent real estate figures!
|EASTSIDE||SEATTLE||KING COUNTY||SNOHOMISH COUNTY|
The Washington real estate excise tax, otherwise known as REET is faced changes January 1, 2020. What are the changes and how will it affect you? If you are planning on buying, selling, or transferring real estate, these are questions you need to know the answers to. This is your guide to how REET is changing and everything you need to be aware of in 2020.
What is the Real Estate Excise Tax?
The real estate excise tax (REET) is simply a tax on real estate when it is sold or interests are transferred. The seller of the home or piece of property is typically the party responsible for paying REET. However, this is a mandatory tax that the buyer is obligated to if the seller doesn’t pay. REET must also be paid when 50% or more of controlling interests are transferred to a different party. In cases where interests of real estate are transferred, the person transferring their share is liable for the tax.
What Changes are Being Made to the Real Estate Excise Tax?
REET is facing monumental changes come the first of the year. The most important change to be aware of is the fee structure. There will no longer be a flat rate percentage for REET. Instead there will be a graduated tier that is as follows:
- Real estate sales of $500,000 and below will pay 1.60% in REET
- Real estate sales between $500,001 and $1,500,000 will pay 1.78% in REET
- Real estate sales between $1,500,001 and $3,000,000 will pay 3.25% in REET
- Real estate sales $3,000,001 and above will pay 3.5% in REET
It is important to mention that the municipality tax of 0.50% is included in the above rates.
Agricultural real estate and timberland are exempt from the new tiered structure. Real estate sales on these two types of properties will continue to remain at 1.28% for REET.
Controlling Interest Transfer Changes
The transfer period will be extended from 12 months to 36 months. The second change is that any transfers of 16% or more will have to be reported during the annual corporate renewal cycle.
How Will REET Changes Affect You?
The changes will have significant impacts on both the sale of real estate and the transfer of controlling interests. Concerning the sale of real estate, valuable properties will see a significant tax hike. Even though the seller is responsible for paying REET, buyers need to beware of purchasing properties with a hidden tax lien for failure to pay REET. As the owner, you may very well be responsible for the unpaid tax.
In order for REET to apply to a controlling interest transfer, 50% or more of the interests must be transferred. However, REET doesn’t apply to just the percentage of interests transferred. It actually applies to 100% of the property’s value.
The Bottom Line on the New REET Changes
How much REET affects the sale of real estate will in most cases depend on the value of the property. Sellers of more valuable properties will feel the changes more than sellers in the first two tiers. Controlling interest transfers are in the same boat as property sellers, meanwhile, agricultural and timberland properties will not feel the effects at all.
If you are buying, selling, and transferring real estate it is important to stay in the know on all changes concerning the real estate transactions. Send me a message to help navigate the changes in the market and get you the most from your next real estate transaction.
This post originally appeared on the RainerTitle.com Blog.
Favorable interest rates and soaring rents boosted activity in the housing market in November. More buyers competing for less inventory kept home prices strong. With the supply of homes far short of demand, sellers can expect well-priced properties to sell quickly this winter.
With just over a month of available inventory, demand on Eastside remains very strong. Sales are brisk, with 45% of single-family homes selling in 15 days or less and 20% of homes selling for over list price. The median single-family home price in November rose 2% from a year ago to $900,000 and was unchanged from October.
With more buyers vying for fewer homes, King County remains a solid seller’s market. While inventory traditionally shrinks in the winter, this November saw the number of new listings at historic lows. Demand was strong, with the number of closed sales up 12% over the same time last year. The median home price ticked up 3% over the prior year to $661,000 and was unchanged from October. The strong market sent prices higher in the more affordable price ranges, with some areas in South King County seeing double-digit increases.
Activity in Seattle was very strong in November. The number of closed sales was up 29% over the same time last year. With just over one month of homes available for sale, the city is starved for inventory. Seattle homes prices have ebbed and flowed slightly from month to month for much of this year. The median price of a single-family home sold in November was off 3% from a year ago to $735,000.
With an increasing number of buyers driving to affordability, the Snohomish County housing market remains robust. Inventory is very tight and continues to fall. The county finished November with just over one month of supply. The median price of a single-family home rose 5% over a year ago to $495,000. That figure is unchanged from October.
This post originally appeared on GetTheWReport.com
Agent tend’s most recent award winner is Sheri Putzke, of Windermere Real Estate. Sheri is based out of Kirkland, but serves the Greater Seattle area. Sheri has demonstrated values that are important for winners of the Best in Real Estate award. Not only does she work with builders/developers in the area, but she is passionate about everyday people loving where they live. In August 2019, she was featured on the cover of Seattle Real Producers magazine.
BEST IN REAL ESTATE AWARD
The Best in Real Estate Award is the central focus and heart-beat of Agent Trend. The Best in Real Estate Award is awarded yearly to agents who excel in production, customer service, ethics, and peer reviews. This annual award helps to maximize real estate agents’ careers and propel them to move forward in a highly-saturated industry. We look to award and recognize agents that fight through the grey areas of the Real Estate industry with honesty and integrity.
ABOUT AGENT TREND
Agent Trend is a company dedicated to recognizing top agents from around the nation. Agent Trend is an award-based company for agents who excel in sales and leadership within the real estate industry. Agent Trend is a platform where real estate agents can be nominated to receive our Best in Real Estate Award, which is awarded yearly. We believe production Real Estate Agents fighting through the grey with honesty and integrity deserve to be recognized. In an industry that affects the very pulse of America, we strive to recognize and promote these agents that meet Agent Trends values. Agent Trend values consist of strong ethics, customer service, valued reputation, and consistent sales production.
A steady influx of buyers continued to strain already tight inventory throughout the area in October. Home sales were up, as were prices in much of the region. With our thriving economy and highly desirable quality of life drawing ever more people here, the supply of homes isn’t close to meeting demand. Homeowners thinking about putting their property on the market can expect strong buyer interest.
As the Eastside continues to rack up “best places” awards, it’s no surprise that the area is booming. Development is on the rise, fueled primarily by the tech sector. The appeal of the Eastside has kept home prices here the highest of any segment of King County. The median single-family home price in October was stable as compared to the same time last year, rising 1% to $900,000.
King County’s 1.74 months of available inventory is far below the national average of four months. Despite the slim selection, demand in October was strong. The number of closed sales was up 5% and the number of pending sales (offers accepted but not yet closed) was up 11%. The median price of a single-family home was down 2% over a year ago to $660,000. However, some areas around the more reasonably-priced south end of the county saw double-digit price increases.
Seattle home prices took their largest year-over-year jump in 12 months. The median price of a single-family home sold in October was up 3% from a year ago to $775,000, a $25,000 increase from September of this year. Seattle was recently named the third fastest-growing city in America. Real estate investment is surging. A growing population and booming economy continue to keep demand for housing –and home prices—strong.
Both the number of home sales and home prices were on the rise in Snohomish County in October. Overall homes sales increased 7%, and the median price of a single-family home rose 5% over a year ago to $495,000. Supply remains very low, with just six weeks of available inventory.
This post originally appeared on GetTheWReport.com