I was slightly off in the timing, but I was right about the weather punishing me for declaring Autumn’s arrival last week. And it’s expected to get warmer tomorrow? Seattle, you and I need to have a serious conversation about appropriate temperature choices for late September.
I suppose it makes sense, though, given the Case-Shiller numbers. As always, the Seattle Bubble has a great analysis, and looks at the local market trends in comparison with national trends for an illuminating picture. Growing that much faster than the national rate is interesting, but I’m not convinced it’s the kind of interesting that’s good. All real estate is local, but national trends have a tendency to correct local anomalies.
At least we’re doing our part to put that market heat to work combating the weather heat. Seattle is ranking pretty well nationally for LEED-certified residential building. Those are buildings that are certified for their “greenness” focusing mostly on energy efficiency. I’ve been a big fan of the current building trends prompted by LEED-certification because in addition to being more environmentally friendly, the construction is frequently higher quality, with better noise control, than the typical construction trends of the ’90’s and aughts.
Autumn is here and we have the drizzle to prove it! I understand that this isn’t a universal opinion, but I am quite pleased to have the return of the chilly damp that is Seattle at its best. (Watch it get sunny and shoot up to the 80’s this weekend just to spite me.)
MyNorthwest has a slightly fluffy article about how apartment building trends in Seattle are preventing condo building. Or maybe it’s about how difficulties around condo development in Settle are causing that problem. It’s a little light on actual content, but does capture the very warranted feeling that there’s a gaping hole where the entry-level housing market ought to be. Useful if you’re looking to capture the flavor of the current market and aren’t fussed about details.
Less fluffy and more interesting, this article from HousingViews takes a look at the effect of the tax Vancouver instituted on non-resident foreign buyers in 2016. News of the tax was received in some quarters with the assumption that those buyers would leave Vancouver and come to Seattle. From the data presented in that article, it looks to me like they stayed in Vancouver, they just stopped paying as much on the houses to be there. (Price growth slowed, but transaction rates didn’t.)
If you’re more interested in the infrastructure we already have, Curbed did a ranking of Seattle neighborhoods to find the ones that make car-free life the easiest. They look at transit access, walkability, and bikability. It’s a handy guide, especially if you’re interested in details about upcoming transit shifts for some of the neighborhoods discussed.
The Seattle Bubble has their analysis for the August numbers from the NWMLS. Things are still trucking along. What struck me in this was actually the quoted bit from the MLS saying that 1/3 appraisals are coming in low. That…surprises me. I’ve been hearing about low appraisals here and there, but haven’t run into one or heard nearly enough to suspect they were that common. Granted, cash offers usually don’t have an appraisal, but while cash is a significant portion of the market right now, not enough that I’d expect it to hide the fact that a third of the appraisals are coming in significantly low. On the one had, woah. On the other, I’m glad to see there’s a check in place on pricing in the market and that it’s getting triggered that often.
Curbed Seattle did a great writeup on the “missing middle” of Seattle’s market. It’s been true that there’s no such thing as a starter home in Seattle for a while. Starter-condo, maybe, but single-family home? Nope. The fact that the rental market isn’t really stepping in to fill that gap is a significant part of what’s driving people out of Seattle and into the surrounding areas. I see a lot of people going further north, up to Mountlake Terrace, Lynnwood, Everette, and Lake Stevens, but there’s a significant southern movement, too.
Anybody paying attention to rental properties in the area may have been following the federal suit against the owner of three buildings in Edmonds who advertised her buildings as restricted to adults, and turned away families with children. That suit has been settled, for $95,000, which is a sizable chunk of change.
Cities in Washington overall made a good showing in a recent list of best cities to live in, but Seattle, and Bellevue particularly so, both making the top 10. Shockingly, they didn’t perform very well on the affordability metrics.
Speaking of affordability, this article has a good breakdown of the long term trends in housing costs in the area, and what factors are likely to drive it going forward. The comparisons to California are particularly apt – I see a lot of interest from people currently residing in California and comparing their current living arrangements to Seattle with an eye toward reduced expenses.