The Seattle Times has had some good real estate coverage if you’re looking to get a feel for the flavor of the market. One is a behind-the-scenes look at the negotiation for a house in West Seattle. Another is a compilation of Mike Rosenberg’s reddit AMA on the local market and housing in general.
The Puget Sound Business journal dug into demolition and construction permits to find the areas of the city that are the hottest for teardowns and the answer isn’t surprising: Ballard is the winner. Of the hot neighborhoods in Seattle, it’s the one with the largest inventory of property that hasn’t been through an upgrade cycle or wasn’t built to the top of the market in the first place, so teardown activity now makes sense.
The Seattle Bubble appears to be running out of headlines for the perpetual sameness we’re seeing with the latest market numbers. I’m sympathetic to the sentiment, though I think Tim and the NWMLS both missed the important takeaway from the data indicating that more houses are sitting on the market past their review date and other listings having price reductions: it means that marketing a property does still matter and buyers aren’t literally buying anything. That’s good news of a sort, if you’re willing to strain for it. It means things can still get worse.
The light rail station opened! That didn’t help me all that much with today’s touring plans since I was up to the northwest neighborhoods, but I’ve been on and off the train more since the new Capitol Hill station opened on Saturday than I think I had the whole year prior. It’s very nice to neither walk up the hill, nor wait for a bus that may or may not be faster than just walking. Everybody else on the train seems pretty pleased with it, too.
Today’s tour was a bit complicated from the outset. Getting from Capitol Hill to Greenwood isn’t the most direct or speedy of commutes in general. Today had the extra foil of a man in a tree causing quite the diversion of attention downtown.
I’d like to take a moment just to pause here and reflect on this: my commute was disrupted by a man in a tree. I’m not sure you could get more quintessentially Seattle, unless he was drinking coffee up there.
At any rate, the delays were enough, given the ground I needed to cover, that I cheated a little. The Car2Go membership I signed up for after my car wreck so I could have it in case of emergency gave me 30 free minutes since I haven’t actually used it. (Hurray, no emergencies!) When I got downtown and realized I could drive to the first property in Greenwood before I could even get on the bus I wanted to get there, those 30 free minutes were looking pretty attractive. So I hopped in. Overall it was a pleasant experience that definitely rescued my day from becoming a cascading spiral of travel delays, but I’m also glad my first time driving a smartcar wasn’t while I had a client with me. There was definitely some adjusting to do.
It was all feet and buses from there. I didn’t quite get to everything I wanted to see, but I think it was a good showing all the same.
Location: Greenwood, North Beach, Ballard
Time: 3 hr
Transit modes: Feet, Bus, Car2Go
Cats petted: 0
Tea consumed: n/a
Properties Viewed: 3
There were four properties in Fremont and Ballard I wanted to see today. The weather was okay and I was pretty excited because today was the day I was going to try biking to showings. I was so excited, in fact, that I went rushing out of the office and left my helmet in the office. I didn’t notice until I’d gone far enough that I did not want to turn around. My office is on Capitol Hill – leaving is a much more pleasant experience than coming back by bike. So I chased down a bus and still made it to Fremont in time for the first property I wanted to see on tour.
Half way between property one and property two, I noticed that my front tire was going flat. I had just changed the tube in my front tire, so this was rather inconvenient. I was already sticking to low traffic residential streets because I like my brains to stay securely inside my skull, but even I am not so stubborn as to try being a bicycle rider with one tire and no helmet. I walked to the second showing, then hopped a bus back to the office. My first great catastrophe of the experiment, but I still made it to half the tour, so I’m feeling more put out about missing a chance to get in a daylight bike ride when it wasn’t pouring down rain.
I’m counting the cost of the new tube against this tour, though.
Location: Ballard, Fremont
Time: 1.75 hr
Transit modes: Feet, Bus, Bike
Cats petted: 0
Tea consumed: One bottle water, no tea
Properties Viewed: 2
I may have been slightly too enthusiastic about this project. I dashed through my work for the morning and then hopped a bus up to Fremont with a plan to see four properties. The bus got me there much faster than I’d expected it to. So much faster that I was awkwardly early for the open of the first property. I was forced to pass some time browsing the cookbooks at the Book Larder. I’m feeling generous, so I’m not counting the expenses involved in that diversion against the project. This time.
The weather was pretty pleasant, and I was armed with a thermos of tea which I sipped quite contently while wending my way from one property to the next. It was definitely a bit slower than if I’d driven from property to property, but as anybody who’s tried to park in Fremont can attest, I saved a bundle of time by not having to park. Probably a net loss for time by the clock, but definitely a huge gain in terms of avoiding frustration.
All told, it was an excellent and very encouraging start to the project. I’m excited to see how next week goes.
Location: Fremont, Green Lake, Ballard
Time: 2 hr
Transit modes: Feet, Bus
Cats petted: 1
Tea consumed: One Thermos
Properties Viewed: 4