Wednesday Links: September 20

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.

Wednesday Links: May 31 2017

Redfin, the owners of WalkScore, has released its list of the 10 most walkable cities, and Seattle ranks as number 8.  Our current walk score is 73.1, up 0.2 points from last year.  Walkability across the board is increasing, and the article goes into depth on trends and specific areas that have shifted.

The Count Us In report for 2017 has been released.  This is a more scientific, thorough analysis that was implemented this year to replace the previous one night count conducted in previous years in January.  The new report gives a much more comprehensive view of the homeless population in the city and its surrounding areas and has a wealth of good information for anybody interested in this and related issues.

Also out is Zumper’s spring map for median one-bedroom rental prices, broken down by neighborhood.  Rental prices don’t perfectly match to sale prices, but this is a good reference for demographic breakdowns of the city and is particularly useful for anybody looking at investment property.

The are-we, aren’t-we question of a housing bubble question remains very present with the latest Case-Shiller numbers with the March data come out.  As always, the Seattle Bubble has a great analysis for you to take a look at and continue to chew this question over.  It’s definitely starting to look like we’re a bit bubbly, though I’d like to see the numbers in the last graph adjusted for inflation and get a line for what reasonable growth (a percentage based on population growth) would look like.

Wednesday Links: February 15

Maps and stats are the theme for this week.  First up is this mapping project designed to give walking directions that make sense from the pedestrian’s perspective.

FEMA has issued updated flood maps that put 800 more properties in flood zones.  If own or are looking in Pierce county, you might want to check whether you’re affected by the changes.

The road to funding the 2040 transportation budget is nearly there.  At least, it looks like it’s there enough to get started.  (Which is great, because otherwise it might turn into the 2050 plan.)  And it’s definitely needed since commute times everywhere, including the Eastside, are growing.

There is a lot of interesting analysis for stat wonks to pry open in this writeup from the Seattle Bubble.  Particularly interesting is the breakdown on where current market growth is happening and comparisons to prior markets that saw similar growth patterns.

Bussing Broker: Week 17

This week was a Tuesday tour week.  I’ve been running from appointment to appointment ever since and this is the first chance I’ve gotten to write it up.

The weather on Tuesday was pretty nice, so I caught the train downtown and took a look at condos.  I had five I wanted to see, the last on in Belltown, but I cut the Belltown condo from my plans because I was getting tight on time.  The downtown condos were all clustered fairly near Pike Place Market, so walking between them was quite easy – I probably would have opted to walk even if I’d had a car with me just because parking downtown is such a hassle.  My favorite part of looking at condos downtown: the views were fantastic.  Mount Rainier wasn’t out – it was hazy enough in the distance to hide a shy mountain – but the sun on the water was great.  Days like that, I spend a little time wishing I worked out of an office downtown instead of in Capitol Hill.

This tour was definitely a clear victory over using a car, though.  The train to Westlake was easy, and not having to find parking and debate whether I should move the car from one showing to the next was a huge improvement.  So far, the tours in the denser parts of the city have been strong arguments in the no-car column.

Location: Downtown
Time: 1.5 hours
Transit modes: Train, Feet
Cost: $2.25
Cats petted: 0
Tea consumed: No tea
Properties Viewed: 4

Bussing Broker: Week 14

Spring has definitely kicked off, because this week has been astonishingly busy, and it doesn’t look like it’s going to let up any time soon.  Despite that, and clients running me from hither and yon, I did make it out on tour this week.  (I suspect next week isn’t going to happen, though.  We’ll see.) I went on Wednesday, and this is the first chance I’ve gotten to sit down and write it up.

Given the frantic pace this week had, my goals for tour were pretty modest.  Three properties, a condo and two single family homes, in Fremont and Wallingford.  I caught the bus to the first property, walked to the other two, and then used a bus-train combo to get back.  This was slightly less than two hours round trip, including the tour, and I got a lot of correspondence and planning taken care of while I was on the bus, so it worked out pretty well.  Also, the weather on Wednesday was gorgeous, and everything is in bloom, so that was a really nice walk to take in the middle of the day.

Location: Fremont, Wallingford
Time: 2 hr
Transit modes: Bus, feet, train
Cost: $2.50
Cats petted: 0
Tea consumed: No tea
Properties Viewed: 3

Bussing Broker: Week 10

Today will get no prizes for efficiency.  The sun was out, I didn’t have any client commitments, and it feels like ages since I got in a good bike ride.  I had a productive morning and when lunch time came around I tromped merrily to my bike, ready to go look at some property.

I’m officially convinced that my front tire is cursed.  I thought it was fixed.  The very friendly folk at the bike shop assured me that everything was fine and diagnosed my series of flats as “bad luck.”  It must be very persistent bad luck because it struck again! So, no bike ride for me.

But the sun was still out, I still had a few hours I could comfortably spare, and there was still property I wanted to tour.  So I changed plans, hopped on the bus, and set off.

My original plan had been to take a look at properties in Laurelhurst and Ravenna.  The new plan required me to scale back and I only made it to Ravenna.  Bus service through those areas is not awesome in the middle of the day, and my feet are only so fleet. I only made it to half the properties I wanted to.

I’m not going to put this one in the fail column, though.  I didn’t realize it until today, but I’ve never walked up 55th through Ravenna.  You get a different feel for a commercial street on foot than you do driving, and I’d been missing that for this neighborhood.  So I may have seen less of what’s on the market, but I got a better feel for a neighborhood and that, especially in a market moving as quickly as this one, has much more value.

Also, I may or may not have spent some time at the Queen Mary Tea room.  If I did, it was entirely because I am that dedicated to knowing the gritty details of neighborhoods.

Location: Ravenna
Time: 2.5 hr
Transit modes: Feet, Bus
Cost: 2.50
Cats petted: 0
Tea consumed: Queen Mary Tea Room
Properties Viewed: 3

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 7

Oh my gosh, the weather today is gorgeous.  The mountains are out, and it was a great day for a walk.  I hopped on a bus to head over to Belltown for tour there and it was so nice that I walked up Alaskan Way to look at condo near Pike Place Market before coming back.  I couldn’t have designed a nicer lunch break, and not having to park in Belltown was approximately the best thing ever.

I would complain that this was the second tour day in a row where I did not encounter a single kitty, but I’m entirely too pleased with my mountain-view intake to mind.  Victories all around today.

Location: Belltown / Downtown
Time: 1.45 hr
Transit modes: Bus / Feet
Cost: $2.50
Cats petted: 0
Tea consumed: 0
Properties Viewed: 4

Bussing Broker: Week 5 Part 2

Today was three properties in Capitol Hill.  A condo on Broadway, a co-op on 15th, and a new construction townhome on Denny.  The plan was to cross my fingers against rain and walk to all three.  I could have biked, but I’ll confess that biking up the incline from Broadway to 15th is a bit demoralizing, especially when I’m dressed for work and not cycling.  I made it to all three without incident.  The whole trip was over (from desk chair back to desk chair) in an hour and a half.  There were a few rain drops, but I made it mostly unscathed.  Hurray!

Location: Capitol Hill
Time: 1.5hr
Transit modes: Feet
Cost: $0
Cats petted: 0
Tea consumed: None
Properties Viewed: 3

Bussing Broker: Week 3

This was a busy week full of client meetings and showings, so I didn’t make it to much of tour.  I did squeeze in two Capitol Hill properties today, though.  I’d hoped I’d get a chance to test out the new street car for tour, but the tour options weren’t convenient to the street car route.  That test will have to wait for another day.

Instead, I went on foot to two condos near the Group Health Hospital.  Both were cute, but neither had cats.  I’ll get to ride the street car this weekend, but this catless tour will never be repaired.  Alas.

Location: Capitol Hill
Time: 1 hr
Transit modes: Feet
Cats petted: 0
Tea consumed: None
Properties Viewed: 2