Amid coronavirus concerns, Seattle homebuying frenzy continues

The condo a quarter-mile away from the Life Care Center of Kirkland — the long-term care facility at the epicenter of the U.S. novel coronavirus outbreak — hit the market at $365,000 last week, one day after the first resident of the nearby facility died of the flulike illness.

By Monday, roughly 34 groups of home shoppers and looky-loos had toured the property, not one expressing concern about the viral disease, according to the listing agent.

The condo sold five days after it was listed, with the winning offer of nearly $400,000 waiving all contingencies.

Even as concern over the rapid spread of the novel coronavirus mounts, the most recent data on area home sales from the Northwest Multiple Listing Service (NWMLS) shows the market for Seattle-area residential realty remains hot.

It’s too early to tell just what the impact of the novel coronavirus will be in the coming weeks, but all else being equal, low inventory and price increases are expected to continue into the spring, brokers said.

An emergency interest-rate cut Tuesday — the first time the Federal Reserve has used emergency powers since the depths of the 2008 financial crisis — could add further fuel to property markets around Puget Sound, brokers said.

“Our agents aren’t yet seeing any impact on open house attendance due to the COVID-19 outbreak,” said Mike Grady, president and COO of Coldwell Banker Bain in Bellevue, in a statement. “We continue to be bullish on the Puget Sound economy and real estate market.”

In February, median home prices in King County spiked 7% over the previous month, to $675,000, representing a 3% gain year-over-year. There were also more new listings in King County, 2,271, than any time since September.

Meanwhile, inventory plunged even lower than January’s already-tight market, by one metric. There were 40% fewer homes on the market in King County in February than there were in January, the NWMLS data shows.

But months of inventory — a measure of how long it would take to sell all the homes currently on the market — stayed constant at 1.2 between January and February, indicating that homes weren’t moving quite at January’s greased-lightning pace.

Prices rose more slowly in Seattle than anywhere else in King County, to $730,500, a less-than-1% bump over this time last year. Elsewhere in the county, from the tonier neighborhoods of the Eastside to less-expensive parts of Southwest King, price growth saw an increase of roughly 10% compared to last year.

Elsewhere in Puget Sound, home prices continued a meteoric rise, especially in Kitsap County, where they rose by an eyeball-popping 18% year-over-year. Growth in Pierce and Snohomish counties hovered around 10% compared to last year, with median prices hitting $395,000 and $515,000, respectively.

Seattle’s condo market saw rocket-powered growth in sales compared to last year, with a 47% increase in closed sales and a corresponding 8.4% rise in median sale price, to $481,225.

It was joined by the Eastside condo market, with a 25% rise in closed sales and a 6.7% jump in prices, to $475,000. Together, those two markets account for one-third of condo sales in Western Washington.

Brokers said they planned to wait and see how the spread of the coronavirus impacts Puget Sound’s sweltering home markets, with most predicting it would have little to no effect on home sales.

At the condo down the road from Life Care, “people were coming and going” at open houses last weekend, said listing agent Alena Pushkina, of Skyline Properties.

At least nine people associated with the center have died of the new coronavirus, and more than a dozen other cases have been linked to the nursing home.

Realogics Sotheby’s International Realty broker Mei Yang said foot traffic at open houses during the upcoming weekend would show whether area home shoppers are caught up in the worries over the virus.

She’s preparing to list a house next week, she said, and out of an abundance of caution asked colleagues whether they thought she should postpone the open house until after the progress of the disease had slowed.

“Their sentiment was to just go ahead,” she said. “So I plan to go ahead.”

Some brokers, though, are taking precautionary measures to protect themselves and their clients from disease.

The National Association of Realtors issued novel coronavirus guidance Thursday advising brokers to require all visitors to open houses to disinfect their hands and inquire about their clients’ travel histories before meeting in person.

Engel & Völkers agent Freddy Delgadillo, who toured the Kirkland condo near Life Care with a client, said they wore masks while in the unit.

Delgadillo said he also wore a pair of black leather gloves while in the condo. As for his client, “I didn’t have her touch anything,” he said, “just in case.”

 


This article was written by reporter and originally appear on SeattleTimes.com

Posted on March 13, 2020 at 4:35 am
Sheri Putzke | Category: Local Market News, Real Estate, Real Estate Trends | Tagged , , , , , ,

What I’m Seeing – March 2020

Naturally the most frequent question I’m getting lately is about how the coronavirus is impacting our local market.  So far, traffic remains brisk and multiple offers with escalations continue for well-presented listings. Savvy buyers are taking advantage of the increased buying power that historically low interest rates afford. Investors looking for a reprieve from stock market volatility are also looking to real estate for stability. Inventory remains extremely tight and demand strong.  My advice to my Sellers is to proceed as planned. We are taking appropriate preventive measures by providing hand washing stations at my listings and cleaning surfaces for open houses. As we are all aware, the situation is evolving rapidly.

I am monitoring real estate activity closely and welcome your questions  – please don’t hesitate to reach out to me!

BY THE NUMBERS

Click the images below to download your neighborhood’s recent real estate figures!

 

EASTSIDE

SEATTLE

KING COUNTY

SNOHOMISH COUNTY

Posted on March 12, 2020 at 6:00 am
Sheri Putzke | Category: Local Market News, Statistics | Tagged , , , ,

What I’m Seeing – February 2020

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

Posted on February 13, 2020 at 4:49 am
Sheri Putzke | Category: Local Market News, Statistics | Tagged , , , ,

As Big Tech’s Eastside Presence Expands, Bellevue Preps For More Commuters

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.

A version of this article was originally posted on U.S. News by Michelle Baruchman

Posted on February 13, 2020 at 4:45 am
Sheri Putzke | Category: Local Market News | Tagged

Eastside 2020 Growth Forecast

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

Transportation

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

Healthcare

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

Tourism

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

Technology

(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

Legal

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

Finance

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.

Posted on January 15, 2020 at 7:54 pm
Sheri Putzke | Category: Local Market News, Real Estate | Tagged , , , , , ,

Washington Ranked Best State Overall

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.

This was originally posted on U.S. News & World Report and on king5.com 

Posted on January 15, 2020 at 7:51 pm
Sheri Putzke | Category: Local Market News | Tagged , ,

What I’m Seeing – January 2020

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

Posted on January 15, 2020 at 5:35 am
Sheri Putzke | Category: Local Market News, Statistics | Tagged , , , ,

Local Market Update – September 2019

A decrease in inventory coupled with an increase in sales activity led to fewer options for home shoppers in August. There is some good news for would-be buyers as mortgage rates have dropped to their lowest level in three years. Demand remains high but there simply aren’t enough homes on the market. Brokers are hoping to see the traditional seasonal influx of new inventory as we move forward.

EASTSIDE

The median price of a single-family home on the Eastside was $935,000 in August, unchanged from a year ago and up slightly from $925,000 in July. New commercial and residential construction projects are in the works. Strong demand for downtown condos has prompted plans for yet another high-rise tower to break ground next year.

VIEW FULL EASTSIDE REPORT

KING COUNTY

Home prices in King County were flat in August. The median price of a single-family home was $670,000, virtually unchanged from a year ago, and down just one percent from July. Southeast King County, which has some of the most reasonable housing values in the area, saw prices increase 9% over last year. Inventory remains very low. Year-over-year statistics show the volume of new listings dropped 18.5% in King County.

VIEW FULL KING COUNTY REPORT

SEATTLE

Homes sales were up 12% in Seattle for August, putting additional pressure on already slim inventory. There is just over six weeks of available supply. There are signs that prices here are stabilizing as the median home price of $760,000 was unchanged from a year ago and up less than one percent from July. With its booming economy, demand here is expected to stay strong.

VIEW FULL SEATTLE REPORT

SNOHOMISH COUNTY

Buyers looking for more affordable options outside of King County pushed pending sales, mutually accepted offers, up nearly 16% over a year ago. Home prices have softened slightly. The median price of a single-family home in August was $490,000, down slightly from the median of $492,225 the same time last year.

VIEW FULL SNOHOMISH COUNTY REPORT


This post originally appeared on GetTheWReport.com

Posted on September 14, 2019 at 8:08 pm
Sheri Putzke | Category: Local Market News | Tagged , , , , ,

Local Market Update – August 2019

The real estate market continued to moderate in July. Inventory rose and home values softened, providing buyers with increased selection and more favorable pricing. With strong job growth and interest rates holding at below 4 percent, brokers expect the market to remain solid through fall.

EASTSIDE

The market remains strong on the Eastside. The current tech boom continues to fuel demand, buoyed by Google’s recent plans to build out another office in Kirkland. An increase in inventory gives buyers more time to find the right home for their budget. The median price of a single-family home on the Eastside was $925,000 in July, down 2 percent from the same time last year.

VIEW FULL EASTSIDE REPORT

KING COUNTY

Home prices in King County continued to ease. Buyers took advantage of lower prices and new inventory to boost home sales in July. The median price of a single-family home was $680,000, a 3 percent decline from the same time last year. More moderately-priced areas in the south end of the county saw continued price growth.

VIEW FULL KING COUNTY REPORT

SEATTLE

It’s no surprise that Seattle is the top city in the country where millennials are moving. Apple plans to add 2,000 jobs in Seattle. The first of 4,500 Expedia employees will start moving into Interbay soon. While demand here is expected to stay strong, prices continue to cool. The median price of a single-family home was $755,000, down 6 percent from a year ago and a decrease of 3 percent from June. Southeast Seattle, which generally has more affordable homes, saw the median home price rise 9 percent over the same time last year.

VIEW FULL SEATTLE REPORT

SNOHOMISH COUNTY

Inventory remains very tight in Snohomish County. The number of listings on the market were up 6 percent over last year, and the county has only six weeks of available supply – far short of the four to six months that is considered balanced. The median price of a single-family home in July was $502,000 – up slightly from the median of $495,000 a year ago.

VIEW FULL SNOHOMISH COUNTY REPORT


This post originally appeared on GetTheWReport.com

Posted on August 14, 2019 at 1:06 am
Sheri Putzke | Category: Local Market News | Tagged , , , , , ,

Local Market Update – July 2019

The market in our region appears to be moderating. Inventory is up, prices are relatively stable and homes are taking a bit longer to sell. However, with less than two months of available inventory, supply is still far short of demand. Steady buyer activity, low interest rates and a thriving economy are making for a strong summer in the housing market.

Eastside

>>>Click image to view full report.

The median price of a single-family home on the Eastside was $950,000 in June, down 3% from the same time last year and up $21,000 from May. Many buyers are looking to take advantage of the Eastside jobs boom with Amazon announcing plans to build a 43-story tower in Bellevue and Google expecting to reach 1 million square feet of office space in Kirkland.

King County

>>>Click image to view full report.

There was good news for buyers in June as a growing supply of homes helped boost inventory close to 2012 listing levels. The median price of a single-family home in King County was $695,000. That figure is a 3% drop from a year ago and virtually unchanged from May. 33% of homes sold above list price; another sign prices are moderating when compared to 52% of homes sold over list price this time last year.

Seattle

>>>Click image to view full report.

Home inventory in Seattle inched slightly higher in June. However, with less than two months of supply, the city is still a solid seller’s market. Apple’s plan to turn Seattle into a key engineering hub can only add to demand. The median price of a single-family home in Seattle was $781,000, down 4% from a year ago and nearly unchanged from May.

Snohomish County

>>>Click image to view full report.

After hovering around $500,000 since March, home prices in Snohomish County crept up in June. The median price of a single-family home was $515,500, as compared to $511,500 last June. Snohomish County continues to attract buyers priced out of the King County market, putting an additional strain on supply which stands a just 1.5 months of inventory.

This post originally appeared on GetTheWreport.com

Posted on July 14, 2019 at 6:46 pm
Sheri Putzke | Category: Local Market News | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , ,