Wednesday Links: April 19

I was just singing the Seattle Bubble’s praises, but I’m going to do it again.  They’ve put up an analysis of housing affordability in the area, with adjustments for what the index would be with different interest rates.  I highly recommend reading the article as a whole, less for its information about affordability rates in the area, and more because it winds up being a very useful discussion of interest rates, where the current rates fall in comparison to historical norms, and the potential affect they can have on the market.  With affordability reaching for historical lows and interest rates creeping back toward more normal ranges, the rising interest rates could put some pressure against rising prices in many markets.  I don’t foresee it having much of an impact on that front in the Seattle market since we have plenty of cash, and high-cash buyers who can avoid or mitigate those effects, but it could start to affect national trends which will, eventually play into the Seattle market.

If you’ve been paying attention to the upzoning going on around the city as part HALA, then you’ll be wanting to pay attention to the next neighborhood up for review: the International District.  And not just because increased density in that neighborhood might increase floorspace for tea shops.  (Though, in my opinion, that’s a very good reason to pay attention.)  The two neighborhoods that have already been through review had unanimous approval, but they were also, arguably, the least controversial choices.  There was small but significant opposition to the downtown plan because many activists wanted an increase in the Mandatory Housing Affordability component of the downtown plan, the opposite of the NIMBY trend expected in most neighborhoods, but overall these were straightforward approvals.  The International District is a different creature altogether, and relatively unique in the city, too.  Paying attention to the conversations going on during its review could be enlightening about what to expect as HALA approvals move into more controversial parts of the city.

And a final farewell to Bertha.  After many years, many breakages, and a lot of disappointment, she’s finished her job and gotten dismantled.  SDOT has continued their support for webcam curiosity and has a video up to let you see the giant drill head for her final resting place. (She’s mostly getting recycled.)

Bussing Broker: Week 15

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.

Location: Wallingford
Time: 1 hr
Transit modes: Train, bike
Cost: $2.25
Cats petted: 0
Tea consumed: Tea Republik Peachee Litchee, iced
Properties Viewed: 2

Bussing Broker: Week 12

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
Time: 2hr
Transit modes: Train, Bike
Cost: $2.25
Cats petted: 0
Tea consumed: ICED TEA SEASON COMMENCE
Properties Viewed: 4

Bussing Broker: Week 9

Granny successfully turned 95 and I got back late Tuesday night.  Despite starting the week behind, I made property tour happen.  I’m feeling extremely virtuous about this.  Also, I saw the sun!  It was out several times.  Also, it rained several times.  Many of these times overlapped.  I genuinely adore Seattle springs.

Tour today was a lunch time walk around Capitol hill.  Listings have been thin here so far this year, but it looks like they’re picking up a bit.  One of the units on tour today I’d seen last summer when I had clients looking at another in the building; it was impressive how much better it looks now.

Location: Capitol Hill
Time: 1.5 hr
Transit modes: Feet
Cost: 0
Cats petted: 0
Tea consumed: Tea Republik Peachy Litchee, Iced
Properties Viewed: 5

Bussing Broker: Week 8

It is a fact that has been consistent for every single one of the 5+ years I’ve been doing this: business picks up right before I go out of town.  In this case, I’m taking a long weekend in Virginia to visit my grandmother for her 95th birthday.  I’ve told her she should have scheduled turning 95 for a more convenient time of the year, like November, but she just pointed out that she’s been getting older in March several decades longer than I’ve been alive, let alone selling houses.  Fair point, Granny.  Fair point.

That does mean, though, that this week has been the sort of busy where I’m not going to get in a proper property tour trip.  I did drop into a couple opens in Laurelhurst and Windermere between clients, but I don’t think any of the data from this week will be useful for tracking carless property tour convenience.

Location: Laurelhurst / Windermere
Time: ?
Transit modes: Car
Cost: 0?
Cats petted: 0
Tea consumed: ALL THE TEA, THIS WEEK, THE TEA
Properties Viewed: 4

Bussing Broker: Week 6

Yesterday was supposed to be my tour day.  That didn’t happen.  I had the properties I wanted to see picked out, packed everything up, gloried in a rain-free sky, and went to fetch my bike for rolling around Belltown.

My front tire was flat.  Again.

This is the third time I’ve replaced the tube, gone for a ride, and found it flat when I planned to go out again.  There will be some heavy diagnostics done on that wheel this weekend because I suspect there’s something systemic at play.

I could have done a bus/walking combo, but had so many things squeezed into my agenda anyway that I skipped tour.  Instead, I toured Kirkland today.  I was meeting a client out there, so snagged a car for the tour.  Alas, a failure.  But I saw just about everything to see in Kirkland today, so there’s a silver lining.

I’m counting the portion of the car time spent on touring, but not the bridge tolls.

Location: Kirkland
Time: 3 hr
Transit modes: Car
Cost: $24.56
Cats petted: 0 (8 properties and no cats?!)
Tea consumed: Medium “The Subway to Venus,” from Tea Republik, iced.
Properties Viewed: 8

Bussing Broker: Week 5 Part 1

Today was a trip to the U District-Wallingford-Green Lake corridor, with a showing in each.  It rained.  I got very damp.  Also got off to an inauspicious start when I missed not one, or two, but three buses I wanted to take to the first open in the U District.  That meant I didn’t leave my office in Capitol Hill until eleven when I’d meant to be at the first property by then.

Things recovered nicely from there, though, and the rain let up halfway through.  I was very pleased to have brought a thermos with tea in it.  English tea with bergamot and a bit of honey cures rain.

I had to transfer buses to get to the first open, but the transfer went smoothly! Bus from first to second, and foot to the third, then bus back to the office with another transfer en route.  But, I made the final transfer less than two hours after getting onto the first bus.  I call that success.

Location: University District, Wallingford, Green Lake
Time: 2.25hr
Transit modes: Buses / Feet
Cats petted: 1
Tea consumed: 1 Thermos
Properties Viewed: 3

Bussing Broker: Week 1

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
Cost: $5
Properties Viewed: 4