Seattle Real Estate Trends: April 2016

Let’s see what happened in Seattle’s real estate market in key neighborhoods this April!

Inventory and Pendings

Below we compare the number of active listings (supply) and pendings (demand) for several of the key Seattle neighborhoods including Central Seattle, Queen Anne and Magnolia, Belltown and Downtown, Ballard and Greenlake, and North Seattle. Our table includes single family residences as well as condos comparing April 2015 and 2016.

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The Future of Puget Sound Area Traffic

Sound Transit has put forth an ambitious plan, called the Sound Transit 3 Plan, to extend Light Rail service throughout the Puget Sound area. The plan is currently receiving public feedback from a number of neighborhood meetings being held throughout the different neighborhoods that will be affected. The finalized plan may be on the ballot in November. All residents (not just homeowners – renters too!) need to be aware of the expansion plan, the timeline, and the bottom line. I encourage you to go to one of the live meetings if you are able to do so. Continue reading

Seattle Real Estate Trends: March 2016

I am glad to see the number of homes on the market picking up as there are a lot of buyers out there who need to buy homes! I have ten listings and six of them pended in about seven days. The others haven’t been on the market yet a week but I expect them to go fast.

Let’s see what happened in Seattle’s March real estate market in key neighborhoods: Continue reading

No Bubble for Seattle Real Estate Market

With median sales prices continuing to rise (median sales prices for Seattle residential in February were 26.3% over February 2015 and 38.9% over February 2014). There is speculation about a bubble developing in the real estate market with over-inflated prices that are going to pop. Continue reading

Seattle Real Estate Trends – August 2015

Boy, could we have had a more amazing summer? Maybe mother nature was trying to make up to us Pacific Northwesterners for the devastating end to the Superbowl. I am excited for the fall and I am excited to see our Hawks play some ball again. Go Hawks!

This has also been quite the summer for Seattle real estate. Our market seems to have naturally slowed down just a little over the last few weeks as we cram in last vacations before the kids start school. Stock market volatility has also caused some to pause, but the fact is Seattle is a great place to invest in and some blips on the DJI aren’t going to change that. Through August, our inventory is still very low in Seattle (we haven’t had even 1,000 properties on the market for any month this whole year) and our pending numbers are high.

But let’s take a closer look at what the end of summer real estate market is like in Seattle and some key neighborhoods:

Inventory and Pendings

Below we compare the number of active listings (supply) and pendings (demand) for several of the key Seattle neighborhoods including Central Seattle, Queen Anne and Magnolia, Belltown and Downtown, Ballard and Greenlake, and North Seattle. Our table includes single family residences as well as condos comparing July 2014 and 2015.


Median Sales Prices

Median sales prices for Seattle residential and condos was up sharply in August, rising to a new all-time high of $537,800. This was 5.97% higher than the previous high of $507,500 set in June. Looking at year over year, August of 2014’s sales price median was $417,500, so we are looking at a 21.56% year-over-year increase.

Looking at the individual neighborhoods, Wow! Check out Belltown/Downtown. That is a significant increase which requires some explanation. In August of 2015 there were 137 sold homes and condos in the area ranging in price from $199,500 to $2,579,610. 27 of these were over $1,000,000. The former median price was $384,375, but there were only 5 of the 137 that sold were under that former median price. Compare that to last year when there were only 42 sales, the lowest was at $169,000 and the highest was $1,800,000 (with only five over $1,000,000). This makes a big difference. Does this mean prices have truly gone up over 80% in one year or is the product on the market different? The product on the market is different, there are more people buying condos as the price for homes is on the rise, so those two factors together is what I see happening in that particular neighborhood.


As I type this, there is massive speculation regarding whether or not the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates at their meeting on September 17th. If they do, this could change the real estate landscape a bit, but as I said before, Seattle will continue to be a great place to invest. Please contact me – your Seattle Home Guy – at or give me a call at (206) 226-5300 to discuss what this market means for you.

Could Rent Control be coming to Seattle?

According to the National Association of REALTORS®, over the last five years in the Seattle Metro area, rents have increased a whopping 22.26% between whereas wages for 25-44 year olds (which comprise a good number of renters) only increased 15.3%. This time period reviewed was quarter 3 2009 to quarter 3 2014 for the rents whereas wages were reviewed 2009-2014. According to Dupre+Scott Apartment Advisors, that number is even more staggering when looking only at Seattle and since spring of 2013 – 18% higher.

This disparity along with comparisons to tech-driven job markets such as San Francisco have many wondering if Seattle could be the next city to jump on the rent control bandwagon.

According to the Puget Sound Business Journal, there was a town meeting at City Hall on April 23rd to discuss this hot topic and Mayor Ed Murray has even created a housing affordability task force to tackle the problem. The hurdle is a big one – rent control is currently illegal in Washington State.

Seattle Magazine reports that renters make up 52% of Seattle’s population, so the effects of such a law – or not passing a law – will be felt by the majority of Seattle’s residents. With the average market rent for a one bedroom, one bathroom apartment in the city of Seattle going for $1,445 per month, there are a number of renters and would-be renters who are going to have to start finding housing further away from the city center.

People for rent control point to issues like transportation that become a bigger challenge when workers cannot afford to live near where they work and have to commute in. However, those who oppose it indicate that rent control will hamper development and reinvestment in the buildings that may be in need of updating.

Whether you are a proponent of rent control or not, this debate and rent increases are driving some to turn to home ownership, even with the inventory shortages that challenging the real estate market.

However, the economics of it make sense. If you are paying $3,000 per month for a three bedroom apartment in Capitol Hill and you can buy a 3 bedroom home in Wallingford for $600,000 (even taking into account multiple offers driving up the price from $500,000 to $600,000), depending on your down payment, that mortgage and principle may only come to $2,300 per month. Add taxes and insurance on there and you might be at $2,800 per month.  Remember, this is just an estimation, and prices vary, but if you are pounding your fist, hoping rent control is passed before your landlord decides to raise the rent again, you owe it to yourself to take a look at home ownership.

And remember! If you have a 30 year fixed rate mortgage, your monthly mortgage payment is your monthly mortgage payment – next year and 25 years down the road. Furthermore, you are building equity which could mean money in your pocket when you are ready to sell. Try doing that while renting!

I would be happy to give you additional information on how to make your housing dollars go further. Give me a call: (206) 226-5300 or send an email to:!

Seattle Real Estate Market Update October 2014

Autumn is usually a time when we see the real estate market slow down a bit. However, that has not been the case so far in many of Seattle’s neighborhoods this fall. How is your area shaping up?

Inventory of Listings

The shift in inventory as we head further into fall is very interesting! A decrease in inventory is expected as our spring and summer are our busy real estate season. However, the number of homes under contract has increased significantly in Central Seattle and Queen Anne/Magnolia along with the decrease in inventory, spelling an uptick in demand in these areas.

Demand, as measured by homes under contract, has decreased in Belltown/Downtown. Ballard/Greenlake and North Seattle are about even.

Below is a table comparing the number of active listings (supply) and pendings (demand) for several of our Seattle neighborhoods:


Median Sales Prices

Year over year median home prices have increased in most areas except Belltown/Downtown. In Queen Anne/Magnolia and North Seattle, prices have continued to increase significantly over last year. Since demand for homes in these areas have continued to be high, the prices have continued to increase.


This has been an intense year for Seattle real estate and the market continues to be brisk despite heading into our “quieter” time. I encourage you to contact me at or give me a call: (206) 226-5300 to learn more about what this market means for your real estate investment. Knowledge is power!

The Equity Formula – Why “Buying Up” Can Net You Thousands

Even though prices in the Seattle markets are continuing to climb, this can be a great time to sell your home and “buy up”. Often when a home seller “buys up” he or she purchases a home that is 1.5 times the value of the current home. So if a seller’s home has a market value of $400,000, their next home will likely be $600,000.

For this example, let’s assume a homeowner owns a home in Queen Anne with a market value of $500,000 purchased eight years ago for $300,000. He put 20% down and he is paying 5.75% for a 30 year fixed rate loan:


His goal is to buy a home in Ballard valued at $750,000 and he qualifies for 4.0% interest rate on a 30 year fixed rate mortgage:


The above assumes all equity from previous home sale minus 7% of sale price for home selling expenses has been put towards this purchase.

Now, let’s look five years into the future and make some assumptions regarding appreciation. Assuming the Seattle area appreciates at an average of 5% per year, let’s compare his investments if he had stayed in the same $500,000 home with the same mortgage versus if he moved up to the $750,000 home:


Wow! Both the reduction in the mortgage interest rate plus appreciation on the higher-priced home meant more equity! Now let’s project out ten years using the same variables:


Of course, these are not a guarantee that an investment will perform as illustrated here, but the value of compounding interest (both on the mortgage and on appreciation) should not be underestimated. Please give me a call at (206) 226-5300 or send an email to  to learn more and strategize your next move.

Mortgage examples are for illustrative use only and are not an offer for a mortgage nor an indication that reader qualifies for such mortgage. Future market value amounts are examples of what could happen and are not a guarantee of future performance. Agent is not responsible for any financial losses that occur as a result of investments made as a result of this publication.

Multitudes of Millennials in Position to Purchase in Seattle Metro Area

According to the National Association of REALTORS® the Seattle Metro Area is one of the top ten markets in the country with the Millennial generation poised to lead the charge of first time homebuyers. Seattle, along with metros such as Austin, Dallas, Denver, Des Moines (Iowa), Grand Rapids (Michigan), New Orleans, Ogden, and Salt Lake City have strong job markets with jobs that appeal to this generation and the demand for housing hasn’t priced first time homebuyers out of the market like in New York, Los Angeles, and San Francisco.

According to NAR Chief Economist, Lawrence Yun, “NAR research finds that there are…metro areas millennials are moving to where job growth is strong and home ownership is more attainable. These markets are well-positioned to soon experience a rise in first-time buyers as the economy improves.”

The homeownership rate for young adults (under the age of 35) was 43% in 2005 (the peak) and the rate has fallen from that peak to 36% in the first quarter of 2014.

NAR measured current housing conditions, housing affordability (measured by incomes, interest rates and median home prices), job creation, and population trends across the country in metro areas that have a large millennial presence. NAR expects that as life events present themselves (marriage, kids) millennials will want to settle down and purchase a home rather than rent and live in close quarter. As long as market conditions hold and affordability is maintained, millennials are poised to be our next wave of first time homebuyers.

What does this mean for current homeowners? I expect demand will continue to be strong in our region as job growth is strong in our region. Over the next few years, if you own a home with market value under about $400,000, I expect that price point to increase in demand unless our builders complete new homes to meet that growing need. If you have questions for me or would like to learn more, please give me a call or send me an email: (206) 226-5300 or

Build Wealth Through a Seattle Real Estate Investment

Often I am asked about the profitability of real estate investing. Real estate can be a very lucrative investment and there are a number of different avenues you can take depending on the amount you can invest, your preferred level of involvement, and your desired investment return.

Rent in the Seattle market is very high due to the demand for housing. Employment in the city limits is strong and the Seattle Times reported that average apartment rents jumped 4.1% in the second quarter of 2014 alone. Although rent rates and appreciation varies from area to area and type of rental, according to the Seattle Times, vacancy rates in King and Snohomish County are at the lowest number in nine years.

So how does this translate into a real estate investment?

Let’s take a look at one of my current listings at 12526 8th Ave NE in Pinehurst. The list price is $375,000 and with 20% down, and assuming the rent is $1,750 per month, you can see the monthly cash flow is in the negative:


Negative cash flow? How on earth can this be a good investment? Read on!

Let’s look five years down the road. If the property has appreciated at a very modest 5% per year, the $375,000 investment which had $75,000 equity when purchased now has $207,786 in equity (due to appreciation and the investor paying the mortgage for five years).

But what about the cash flow? It is true that the investor was paying out more than $100 per month in excess of what they were bringing in, but remember, that rent was at market five years ago. Let’s also account for a 5% per year increase in property taxes and insurance, and even rent (although current demand indicates this rate could be much higher). Where does that leave our monthly cash flow?


This is only for a 5% annual increase in rent. What if it were more like 7.5%?


That cash flow is in addition to the increase in equity!

Of course, this is assuming that the owner is managing the property his or herself and it doesn’t take any repairs or modifications into account. However, each property is different and has different needs.

Intrigued? Please contact me to learn more! Email me at or give me a call: (206) 226-5300