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.
This time of year, any day that’s a bikable day is worth snagging, and I snagged this one. It was still a bit drizzly when I headed out, but that cleared up and it wound up being a nice day. I saw five properties, all of them relatively easy to get to via bike from the Burke-Gilman trail. Not gonna lie, that trail is probably my favorite stretch of bikeable territory in the city, so that made abandoning the office for a few hours even more appealing.
Here’s hoping there are more such days as the season wears on.
Location: University District, Fremont, Ballard
Time: 2.5 hours
Transit modes: Bike, train
Cats petted: 0
Tea consumed: N/A
Properties Viewed: 5
A last minute cancellation means I got to sneak out for a very quick tour this week after all. That would have been a victory on its own, (sort of. Clients getting swamped by work isn’t fun for me or them.), I also stuck by my guns and took my bike, despite the presence of August in this fine third week of April.
It’s too hot. Oh my goodness, is it ever two hot.
Still, I checked out two condos right near the canal, and Burke Gilman, in Wallingford. Then I made it to the University District on the awkward side of early for my first afternoon appointment. It was warm, but I was out in Columbia City on Monday and that was worse, so I won’t complain about today too much.
Still, somebody should tell August to stick to its own month.
Time: 1 hr
Transit modes: Train, bike
Cats petted: 0
Tea consumed: Tea Republik Peachee Litchee, iced
Properties Viewed: 2
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
Cats petted: 1
Tea consumed: Tea Republik Vanilla Chai, all the water
Properties Viewed: 5
I have declared iced tea season open. I even have fresh basil growing in my window sill to mix in with the tea. I’m originally from Virginia: Iced tea season is a big deal. (Though, technically, thinking of iced tea as seasonal is not terribly Virginian.) Still, it’s warm, it’s sunny, and this time I’m even more sure that my cursed bike tire is lastingly fixed. Just to be safe, I didn’t put the wheel back on until before leaving for tour today. I’m happy to report that this level of caution worked.
I’m still utterly enamored of the new train stops, and today marked my first light rail trip with bike in tow. I could have biked the whole way, but the train gets across the canal faster than I do, and leaves me much less sweaty. I’m pretty sure listing agents appreciate it if I at least pretend to be professional when I show up to tour their property.
My plan had been to see five properties spread across Bryant and Ravenna, but client work held me up longer than anticipated and I didn’t make it to one of my intended opens before it closed. I think that would have been the case even if I’d driven, so I’m not counting that against my success rate.
I covered a lot of the same ground I covered a couple weeks ago when I toured Ravenna. It’s much, much faster on bike. Hopefully I’m right about curing my tire of recurring-flat-itis and can keep using my handy bicycle for efficient touring.
Also, if you’re interested in a fixer-upper for under $600,000 in Bryant, there’s a good one on offer right now. It’ll either go super fast or linger, depending on whether people feel like taking on a project. I’d love to pair it off with somebody charmed by the bones that are there rather than seeing it torn down for a modern build.
Location: Bryant, Ravenna
Transit modes: Train, Bike
Cats petted: 0
Tea consumed: ICED TEA SEASON COMMENCE
Properties Viewed: 4
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