Where are Bellevue Condo Values Headed?

downtown-park-fountain-2-compressed2016 was a challenging, fast paced residential real estate market with multiple offers and sales over list prices the norm. So far 2017 is set to match or out pace last year, crushing any concerns about another real estate bubble. Downtown Bellevue continues to be a high demand destination for people working on either side of the lake. With Amazon, Microsoft, Google, Facebook and numerous other companies continuing to expand and hire, its unlikely the local demand for housing will decline. Last year when Expedia announced it would be moving its offices from Bellevue to Seattle there was concern downtown Bellevue might have an excess of available office space  –  that lasted just a few minutes. Amazon has leased the entire Centre 425 office tower, Salesforce and other companies occupy most of the 929 Tower, and there isn’t much space left at the Lincoln Square 2 office tower. Its likely the Expedia space will be leased before its even vacated.

New residential rental units have been built downtown but there’s been little in the way of new condo construction. A few condo and townhouse communities are under construction and in design review, but most are less than 20 units. One88, developed by Bosa Development, is the only condo community scheduled to start construction downtown in the next 60 days. As seen in Seattle, expect buyers to line up around the block when the 140 units are offered for sale. (one88bybosa.com)

What does the city’s robust economy and high demand for housing mean for existing condos in the 98004 zip code? Multiple offers will continue and buyers will stretch their budgets to secure an urban residence. Last year the median condo sales price in the 98004 zip code was $580,072. So far this year the median sales price is just over $700,000 – a 21% increase. Until inventory, resale or new construction, can satisfy demand, expect condo values to continue to increase in double digit numbers.

 

 

 

 

 

black townhouse & skyline logo            ROBIN MYERS
CONDO MARKET SPECIALIST

As an industry expert I keep track of the Eastside’s condo inventory, market trends and new projects under construction or in design review. Contact me if you need information about buying or selling or just want to know what projects are on the horizon.

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Amazon Expanding to Bellevue

centre-425

Centre 425 (NBBJ) rendering by Neoscape

After a 20 year absence, Amazon is returning to its Eastside roots as it prepares to occupy the recently completed Centre 425 office building in downtown Bellevue. Amazon employees are scheduled to move into the 354,000 SF space this summer. The initial plan is to move about 1,000 people into the new office with the potential for growth in the future.

Amazon currently employs 40,000 people in Washington State with many working in several buildings in Seattle’s South Lake Union and Denny Triangle neighborhoods. As the company continues to grow, it is anticipated the move to Centre 425 won’t be the last Eastside location for Amazon.

Centre 425, located at the corner of NE 4th Street and 106th Avenue NE, will once again be home to a Bank of America branch. B of A originally occupied the street level retail space in the former building and moved to temporary quarters during construction.

Senior Property Tax Assistance

social security

flickr/Backdoor Survival

Did you know WA State law provides tax benefit programs for senior citizens and the disabled? in the form of property tax exemptions and property tax deferrals. As you pack this year’s tax records away, you may want to look into whether you, a family member or someone you know might qualify for a property tax exemption, reduction or property tax deferral program. To qualify for taxpayer assistance or tax relief a person must apply for a senior citizen or disabled exemption and meet program qualifications. Its worth looking into  – visit the King  County Assessor website at http://www.kingcounty.gov/depts/assessor or call 206-296-3920 for more information and forms for the Senior Property Exemption and Deferral Program.

It may well be worth the time and effort to save money on future property tax bills.

Selling in a Hot Market

cleaning

flickr/sgrace

Yes, its a seller’s market, but if you’re planning to sell your home, don’t think you can forego the typical prep work associated with getting your home ready to show to buyers. This is the time of year more homes are listed for sale, and more inventory brings more competition. With more to choose from buyers may not be willing to pay top dollar for a dirty, dated or poorly maintained home.

There are easy, inexpensive tasks a homeowner can complete in a weekend or two that make a big difference.

  • CLEAN (and clean again) – pay special attention to the kitchen and baths.
  • DE-CLUTTER – remove clutter in closets, cabinets, drawers and garages. “Martha Stewart” your house and show off the storage space.
  • PAINT – If a room or hallway is looking tired a fresh coat of paint is inexpensive and makes a big difference.
  • MAKE A GOOD FIRST IMPRESSION – Curb appeal is huge. The saying “you only get one chance to make a good first impression” is true in any market. Paint the entry door (if the HOA permits), install a new kick plate, toss tired winter plants and put fresh flowers and mulch in entry pots or gardens.
  • LET THE SUN SHINE IN – open window treatments, remove or replace tired drapes or blinds. Clean the windows – maximize your home’s natural light.

Some work will require professional help but its worth the investment. Have the furnace and A/C serviced. If other systems, appliances or fixtures need repair get it scheduled.

Multiple offers are common and many homes are selling quickly and for more than list price, but that doesn’t mean a free pass for neglecting repairs or cleaning. A home should be delivered to the new owner in clean and good condition.

It takes considerable time and energy to get a home ready to sell, but the payoff (return on investment) is worth the effort. I specialize in condos. I know what’s been happening in your neighborhood and your home’s market value. When its time to sell let’s talk . . . I have information and referrals for cleaners, contractors, landscapers, resources for donating or disposal and can help you maximize your return on investment.

Eastside Condo Market is on Fire

Bellevue skyline from Lake WA #1In the past condo sales and values lagged a bit behind single family homes – not anymore. Eastside condo sales have accelerated in recent months with record attendance at open houses, shorter market time (less than 10 days), multiple offers and sales prices averaging 5% over list prices.

The number of available resale condos downtown is at an all time low. Since the first of the year 59 condos have sold (an average of 20 per month). With just 20 resale condos currently listed for sale, that’s just a one month supply to choose from. There are 20 pending condo sales, so you can easily see the available inventory is being gobbled up as soon as it comes on the market.

Downtown Kirkland is no different  –  since January 1st 54 condos have sold and there are currently only 21 active listings, or a 1.1 month supply of inventory, but with 37 pending sales, those 21 active listings clearly won’t satisfy buyer demand. With the continued hiring pace at Google, new companies moving into the office space at Kirkland Urban in the next 18 months, plus the new retail and dining experience Kirkland Urban will offer, there are a lot of reasons for wanting to be in Kirkland.

If you’re a seller, you’re in the driver’s seat, but you need to be ready to move quickly and have your rental or new purchase lined up for quick occupancy. Investors should seriously think about selling in this market to maximize their return on investment. Buyers . . . there are a lot of cash offers out there, but they don’t always offer the best price or the best terms for sellers. Get your financing together, listen to your Realtor® (if you don’t have a Realtor®, find a good one), be flexible, realistic, creative and patient. Prices aren’t going to go any lower and with 1,000 people a week moving into the Puget Sound region, demand will continue. Now is the time to get your foot in the door of home ownership, move-up for more space or a view or downsize to a lower maintenance lifestyle. Its not a secret anymore . . . this is a great place to live.

Don’t Miss these Tax Deductions

Its that time of year  –  everyone is organizing receipts and information for tax preparation. If you bought a home this year, refinanced your home or made energy improvements to your home, don’t overlook these important deductions.

  • MORTGAGE INTEREST  –  the interest paid on your mortgage is probably your biggest allowable deduction.
  • POINTS – If you purchased a home in 2016 and paid points to get a better interest rate, that expense is tax deductible. Points on refinance loans and home equity loans are also deductible but must be spread over the life of the loan instead of all in one year’s return.
  • ENERGY CREDITS – If you made any improvements that improve the energy efficiency of your home you may qualify for a tax credit. Those items could include insulation, windows, doors and roofs. A tax credit is better than a deduction because its a dollar-for-dollar savings instead of simply saving you whatever tax you paid based on your income bracket. There are limits on energy credits depending on what you purchased, so be sure to check with a tax professional.
  • PROPERTY TAXES – Property taxes paid on your primary residence are deductible. You may complain about your real estate taxes, but at tax time they work in your favor and can save a lot on your tax return.

Check with your tax professional to be sure you’ve taken advantage of all the possible tax savings on your 2016 taxes and going forward, keep receipts and information for this year organized to make next year’s tax preparation job easier.

Buyers Need Patience, Sense of Humor

down paymentIn a recent search of 2+ bedroom condos in Bellevue the results were pretty bleak. Just 28 homes listed for sale with prices ranging from $300,000 to $13,950,000. Of those 28 homes 13 were priced under $1 million and of those 13, only three were priced under $500,000. Just 28 condos for sale in the entire city  –  we’re definitely experiencing a shortage of available homes.

Downtown Bellevue is one of the hottest addresses on the Eastside, and while many condo buyers focus on the city’s urban communities, with limited inventory they are expanding their search beyond downtown. In the past this would have opened up the selection of available homes, but inventory is in short supply everywhere on the Eastside.

If you’ve been searching for a home in recent months you already know, with high demand and low inventory, that multiple offers are common. For every house for sale there may be 3, 4, 5 or more offers submitted. Only one buyer can prevail, so the other buyers are back in the search for the next new listing. As we head into spring there should be an increase in the number of homes coming on the market, but rather than the typical 8-10 per week it’s likely to be just 2-3 per week. Buying a home should be fun, but this year its going to require patience, preparation and a sense of humor. Buyers need to be positioned to win, so now more than ever it pays to work with an experienced lender and a Realtor® who know the market and will serve as your advocates and guide you through the process.