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Wednesday Links: June 7

Everybody knows the first three rules of real estate are location, location, location.  This story gives you a pretty good idea of why.  A mining company is having to pay to move a town out of the risk zone created by its mine, and it’s expected to cost around one billion (not a typo) dollars.  It really is easier to move house than to move a house.

The Seattle Bubble has the breakdown on the preliminary stats from May.  The big takeaways are that inventory was up month over month, but down year over year.  May being up over April is to be expected – we should see that continue through August and a taper in September or October – but I am perennially hoping for inventory to be up year over year, too.  Or at least to be the same.  Inventory, please!  We needs it.

Rent price stats are out, too, and Curbed Seattle has a good breakdown of them.  The headline takeaway is that median rent prices are up year over year, but that’s not what’s most interesting about this article.  Read past the headline for a breakdown on where the data is coming from and how it’s calculated.  There are meaningful differences in methodology across sites that means you’re going to have a preference for one over another depending on why you’re looking at rental prices.

A very long saga involving redevelopment of Key Arena took a significant step forward today with the Oak View Group getting selected for the project.  They’ve already had additional partners sign up in the relatively short time since the official announcement.  Queen Anne and the city at large are going to be watching the progress of this project pretty closely, especially since it’s being touted as one with low risk to public funds.

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Wednesday Links: April 26

Transportation is this week’s theme, with SDOT announcing a new pilot program that will allow shuttles for private companies to use regular bus stops for their pick ups and drop offs.  This is pitched as an effort to more efficiently use public curb space.  The shuttle stops are currently available only to Microsoft and Children’s Hospital shuttles, and the shared stops are concentrated mostly in the dense neighborhoods near downtown and the canal, but there’s also a pilot stop in West Seattle.  It’ll be interesting to see how sharing the space will work out.

Sharing space is part of what helped the new 520 bridge bag the prestigious ACEC award for engineering on an infrastructure project.  Not only does the bridge float, but it has capacity to support pedestrian and bike traffic and, someday, will support the light rail’s expansion across Lake Washington.  That is, in fact, pretty nifty, and it’s great to see our bridge get that level of recognition.

Speaking of congestion and increased capacity…okay this is a stretch, but the Seattle Bubble has a good analysis of the new Case-Shiller numbers for February.  We’re still growing faster than we were before.  Yay!  (This is going to be a long, long summer market.)

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Bussing Broker: Week 27

This week was a car week in Queen Anne.  I made it to five places before I had to dash off to meet a client.  I went for houses in the less transit-accessible portions of the neighborhood.  There was a fun range available, with some in need of a lot of TLC and others that have had a full overhaul.  It was also practically a textbook example of what different price points will get you in terms of finish quality and views.

Of course, the low end of that text book example was still listed for over $500,000, and I wouldn’t consider it over priced.  Oh, Queen Anne.  So charming, so expensive.

It has been a long time since I found a kitty to pet on tour.  I’m tempted to call the local staging companies and put in a request for decorating houses with flesh and blood felines.  With the trend toward listing vacated properties, that’s probably the only way I’m going to keep getting my cat-fix at work.

Location: Queen Anne
Time: 2 hours
Transit modes: Car
Cost: $0.00
Cats petted: 0
Tea consumed: None 🙁
Properties Viewed: 5

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Bussing Broker: Week 26

Queen Anne hill remains my great nemesis.  Someday I will take my bike there without suffering ignominious defeat.  Today was not that day because I opted to leave the bike home.  I have no regrets.

If we use a very generous concept of lunch break, I snuck off to tour during today’s.  The 8 runs very near to my office, so I hopped on, took it all the way to its end, and got started.  A new townhouse development on Olympic was open for tour and I checked out the offerings there.  (I’m only counting it as two properties even though there were technically four.)  Between that, the nearby co-op apartment, and the condo on Roy, it’s very fresh to me right now how easy it is to have a gorgeous view in Queen Anne.

After the condo on Roy I hopped on the SLU Streetcar toward Denny and took a look at two condos on Blanchard.  More views, but very different.

The best part was the lucky timing; the 8 arrived to take me back to the office just as I reached its stop.  Very efficient!  And this was yet another tour where I noticed distinct envy from others when I didn’t have to find parking.  I’m definitely a huge fan of that part.

Location: Lower Queen Anne, Cascade
Time: 2.5 hours
Transit modes: Bus, Feet, Streetcar
Cost: $4.50
Cats petted: 0
Tea consumed: Honeybush with Lychee Syrup, Iced
Properties Viewed: 6

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Bussing Broker: Week 18

I tried Queen Anne again.  I was more sensible this time.  Instead of tackling the whole hill, I just hit three properties in lower Queen Anne.  Lower, as in, trying to bike there isn’t an act of idiotic masochism.  (For me, at least.  I’ve seen other people bike up that hill.  I am in awe.)

Okay, I confess, I had an ideal list of seven properties, four of which required me to get all the way up the hill.  I thought, perhaps, if I was feeling very athletic, or if bus timing was convenient, I’d hit the whole list.  It was looking possible for a moment, there, even.  The third property I went to was a sort of transition property.  It was on Ward street and to get there you have to tackle a non-tiny part of the steep incline.  But the best route there, as determined by me in the moment, was to take a public set of stairs.  My bike is heavy.  I chained it up at the bottom of the stairs rather than carry it up, in anticipation of yet more uphill biking.

And then I was done.  Also, sun burned.  All of a sudden, a lot of people are sunburned this week.  I’ve already complained about this weather, but I’d like point out, it’s too early for it to be this sunny!

Location: Queen Anne
Time: 1.5 hours
Transit modes: Bike
Cost: 0
Cats petted: 0
Tea consumed: Blushberry black tea
Properties Viewed: 3

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Bussing Broker: Week 16

You may recall earlier this month when I decided to conquer Queen Anne Hill with nothing more impressive than my bicycle and my poor judgment.  You may also recall that this wasn’t one of my more graceful tours and I may have been inclined to deploy some choice language on the subject of me and foolish ideas.  I short, I was defeated, heartily, and though I persisted and completed tour, there was a reckoning left to be made.

This week, I decided to make that reckoning.  Monday night I worked out the plan for where I wanted to go and it looked easy enough.  Tuesday dawned, the weather was great, I didn’t have any appointments until the evening, and I had a hill to bike.

You can probably guess where this is going.

The morning went haywire and I didn’t leave until much later than I’d meant to.  Then, after I made it to the first property I got a call form a client and suddenly I had an appointment to get to.  Tour canceled.  I did get to stop and pet a cat before abandoning my plans, at least.

But the spring market means more things on inventory and Capitol Hill’s broker tour today had more offerings than I’ve seen so far all year.  I ducked out on my lunch break for a stroll to four different places and made it back before anybody missed me.  It’s not the same as settling accounts with the hill that shamed me, but I’ll have other opportunities for that.

Location: Capitol Hill
Time: 45 min
Transit modes: Feet
Cost: 0
Cats petted: 1 (I’m counting Tuesday’s cat)
Tea consumed: Assam milk tea
Properties Viewed: 4

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Bussing Broker: Week 13

My front bike tire continues to do an excellent impression of being uncursed, which has been great fun.  I may have skipped checking out the festivities around the opening of the 520 bridge over the weekend in favor of making my meandering way up the Burke-Gilman trail just to test how broken the curse might be.  It was lovely – people can say what they like about Seattle weather being dreary and gray, but I adore it.

Which is the present prelude to a story of agony and woe.  I had such a nice time over the weekend that I came up with the, in retrospect, terrible idea of biking through a Tuesday tour of Queen Anne and Magnolia.  I had a meeting in Fremont at 1pm and the timing seemed perfect to me.

Here’s some interesting trivia: The office where I spend most of my desk time is in Capitol Hill, which is on the fifth tallest hill in the city.  That makes going other places by bike fairly pleasant, and coming back less so.  Queen Anne hill, however, is the third tallest hill in the city.  The part of Queen Anne Ave that climbs the hill is one of the steepest streets in the city.  The alternative routes near it aren’t exactly flat.

I’m not eager to go biking up Queen Anne Hill again any time soon.  Once I got to the first property everything was great because I’d more or less finished the whole climb, but getting there was a beast.

The ride to Fremont when I was finished was glorious, though.  Biking down one of the steepest hills in the city is great fun.

Getting to Magnolia later for evening tour probably would have just been a nice challenging ride.  I made it, but it was a little much after the morning.  Next time I think I’ll take the bus up the hill and reap lazy rewards.

Location: Queen Anne, Magnolia
Time: 2.5 hr
Transit modes: Bike, Sheer force of will
Cost: $0
Cats petted: 1
Tea consumed: Tea Republik Vanilla Chai, all the water
Properties Viewed: 5