Seattle Rents – how do they compare?

It’s the heart of summer and while the weather hasn’t heated up, rents aren’t cooling down.

Apartment list recently released its July rent report and it doesn’t show rents easing in Seattle, though growth is slowing.

Rents are up a mere 0.9 percent since June, at $2,250 per month, based on median rents for similar two-bedroom units. The median rent for a one-bedroom apartment is $1,730 per month, the report found.

Seattle remains the 10th most expensive city to rent in, while her cousin in high-tech to the south, San Francisco, continues to hold the top spot with a whopping $4,650 per month needed to hit the median two-bedroom rent there.

Rents across the city are up 6.5 percent since July 2015, a jump that’s substantial to say the least.

With thousands of apartments set to come online this year (many already have), and more next year, it’s likely that growth of rent prices at least will ease a bit more. But that doesn’t mean those prices will fall.

Much of the stock that’s coming online is in the higher-priced share of the market and not likely to mean much to those renters who need something below that median range.

Bellevue rents are even higher than Seattle proper, at $2,540, according to the report. Meanwhile Lynnwood saw the biggest jump year over year — 13.2 percent.

The staggering growth in rent and real estate prices over the last few years has driven the cost of living in the Seattle area through the roof even as the area has seen a population boom like no other.

Experts aren’t calling it a bubble yet, but some question how stable the growth is. And plenty of Seattleites are worried about what the city will look like if it continues.

To look at the 10 cities with the highest median rents and 10 with the lowest, click here:  http://www.seattlepi.com/local/article/July-rents-How-does-Seattle-compare-to-these-19-8379572.php#photo-8288333

~ Daniel DeMay, SeattlePI

Seattle Seahawks and Windermere Real Estate Announce Partnership

Windermere is partnering with The Seahawks as their official real estate company. Every time The Seahawks make a tackle in the 2016 season the Windermere Foundation will donate $100 to help the homeless. #tacklehomelessness

Seattle Seahawks Partner With Windermere

 

Is it time to refinance again?!?

It’s a good time to check the rate on your home mortgage, because you might save money by refinancing. For that, American homeowners can thank British voters, central banks in Europe and Japan, and a global economy that just can’t get out of first gear.

The average interest rate on a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage was 3.49 percent Monday, which is down from 4.2 percent a year ago and 3.9 percent at the start of 2016 (the rates on 15-year fixed-rate mortgages and various forms of adjustable-rate loans are also down). This movement is being driven by shifts in the global bond markets.

There is even reason to think mortgage rates could fall further in the weeks ahead as banks start to pass more of the savings from low rates in the bond market through to customers — though would-be refinancers would have to be willing to bet that global markets won’t reverse themselves in the interim. Bond yields rose Tuesday, which suggests that some reversal may have already begun.

Using the rule of thumb that refinancing frequently makes sense when rates have fallen by a full percentage point, people who took out loans at the prevailing rate at various points in late 2013 and the first part of 2014 might see favorable economics for refinancing, as will those whose loan was first made anytime before mid-2010.

People with narrower gaps between their interest rate and those that prevail now might also consider refinancing. That makes sense particularly if they expect to remain in their current home for many years, thus allowing time for even modest monthly savings to accumulate enough to justify the one-time expenses tied to refinancing a loan.

Lower rates can make this a good time to refinance for people who want a different type of mortgage, like moving from a 30-year loan to a 15-year one to pay off the home faster.

For a first cut at exploring whether refinancing might make sense in your situation, use any of several online calculators, such as this one created by the housing site Zillow. A mortgage broker or banker can help determine the exact rate, eligibility and fees that would apply.

What no one can know is whether rates will pop back up or continue to drop. As much as mortgage rates have declined in 2016, and especially since Britain voted to leave the European Union on June 23, they actually haven’t declined as much as the long-term interest rates that prevail on the global bond market.

From the end of last year until Monday’s close, the interest rate on 10-year Treasury bonds had fallen 0.84 percentage points, while the average rate on 30-year fixed-rate mortgages was down only 0.41.

Essentially, banks have been able to keep much of the savings of falling global rates for themselves — the gap between those numbers, reflecting strong demand for loans and limited competition.

That gap between long-term rates on global markets and what banks charge their customers for a mortgage has spiked repeatedly in the last few years, as it has in the last month, but those spikes have inevitably been short-lived. Assuming the pattern holds, it would mean that mortgage rates will fall further in coming weeks, as competitive pressure takes hold and more banks pass along the low interest rates prevailing on the bond market to their customers.

That said, there’s no guarantee that will happen. Yes, there’s reason to think that banks will lower the premium they are charging for mortgages. But with Treasury yields at record-low levels, the same technical forces that have driven rates downward in the last few months could reverse. That means that even small improvements in the global economic outlook could cause a rapid rise in rates.

So if refinancing looks desirable now, you might save a little more on mortgage interest if you wait. But if you wait, your lucrative refinancing opportunity could evaporate. And if you have special powers to divine which direction rates are going next in this volatile year, every hedge fund manager on earth would pay handsomely if you would tell them.

Neil Irwin, New York Times

Run the numbers! Refinance calculator

Summer Fun in Seattle

He Blue Angels fly by the Space Needle in Seattle, Washington

Beach naturalists

Aug. 1-3 Seattle Aquarium naturalists share their knowledge exploring marine plants and animals at low tide, for all ages; drop-in 9:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Aug. 1; 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Aug. 2; 11 a.m.-1:30 p.m. Aug. 3, Saltwater State Park, Des Moines; Olympic Sculpture Park, Broad Street and Elliott Avenue, Seattle; Des Moines Beach Park, Des Moines; free (seattleaquarium.org/beach-naturalist).

Shoreline Lunchtime Concert Series

Aug. 2-16 Live music, noon Tuesdays, Richmond Beach Saltwater Park, 2021 N.W. 197th St., Shoreline; free (cityofshoreline.com).

Kent Summer Concert Series

Aug. 2-17 Live performances, noon Tuesdays and 6 p.m. Wednesdays, Kent Station, 417 Ramsay Way, Kent, Town Square Plaza Park, Smith Street and Second Avenue, Kent, 7 p.m. Thursday, Lake Meridian Park, 14800 S.E. 272nd St., Kent; free (kentwa.gov/arts/summer).

Edmonds Summer Concerts

Aug. 2-23 Live performances, 3-4 p.m. Sundays, Edmonds City Park, Noon-1 p.m. Tuesdays; 5-6:30 p.m. Thursdays, Hazel Miller Plaza, Edmonds; free (edmondswa.gov/summer-concerts.html).

Kirkland Summer Children Concert Series

Aug. 2-23 Live music in the park, 10-11 a.m. Tuesdays, Juanita Beach Park, 9703 N.E. Juanita Drive, Kirkland; free (kirklandsummerconcerts.weebly.com).

Dancing ’til Dusk

Aug. 2-30 Live music and social dancing, starting with a beginner lesson at 6 p.m. Aug. 2-30, Westlake Park, 401 Pine St., Seattle; free (downtownseattleparks.com).

Bellevue Live At Lunch

Aug. 2-31 Outdoor concerts, noon Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, downtown Bellevue; free (bellevuedowntown.com/events/live-at-lunch).

“Bollywood” Summer Art Event

Aug. 3 Food, entertainment, India-inspired food, auction, call for hours, Dumas Bay Centre, 3200 S.W. Dash Point Road, Federal Way (253-874-1257 or fusionfederalway.org).

Seafair Fleet Week & Boeing Maritime Celebration

Aug. 3-7 Parade of ships through Elliott Bay, parade of flight showcases aviators in vintage and contemporary aircraft. Naval vessels from U.S. Navy Third Fleet, U.S. Coast Guard and Canadian Maritime Forces visit, with ship tours 9:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m. Aug. 4-6, and 12:30-3:30 p.m. Aug. 7. Pier 66, Bell Street and Alaskan Way, Seattle; free (206-728-0123 or seafair.com).

Kids SummerStage

Aug. 3 and 10 Entertainment for kids, noon Aug. 3 and 10, Les Gove Park, 11th Street and Auburn Way South, Auburn; free (253-931-3043 or auburnwa.gov).

Woodinville Concerts in the Park

Aug. 3 and 10 Live performances, 5:30-8 p.m. Wednesdays, Wilmot Gateway Park, 1730 N.E. 131st Ave., Woodinville; free (celebratewoodinville.com).

Shoreline-Lake Forest Park Concerts in the Park

Aug. 3, 10 and 17 Weekly concerts, 6:30 p.m. Aug. 3 at Richmond Beach Park, Richmond Beach Road at 21st Avenue Northwest, Shoreline, Aug. 10 at Kruckeberg Botanic Garden, 20312 15th Ave. N.W., Shoreline; Aug. 17 at Cromwell Park, Meridian Avenue at North 192nd Street, Shoreline; free (shorelinearts.net).

Burien Music in the Park

Aug. 3-11 Live music, 6:30-8 p.m. Wednesdays at North SeaTac Park, 128th and Des Moines Memorial Drive, Des Moines, and 6:30-8 p.m. Thursdays, Lake Burien School Park, Southwest 148th Street and 16th Avenue Southwest, Burien; free (206-988-3700 or burienwa.gov/concerts).

Seattle Art Fair

Aug. 4-7 Local, regional, and international galleries present modern and contemporary art. Special activities, performances and installations at fair site and nearby. Opening/preview Aug. 4; public hours 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Aug. 5-6, noon-6 p.m. Aug. 7. CenturyLink Field Event Center, Seattle; ticket prices to be announced (212-518-6912 or seattleartfair.com).

 Kirkland Summer Evening Concert Series

Aug. 4, 11, 18 Weekly concert series, 7-8:30 p.m. Thursdays, Marina Park, 25 Lake Shore Plaza, Kirkland; free (kirklandsummerconcerts.weebly.com).

Friday at the Fort

Aug. 5 Summer-evening party, 6-9:30 p.m. Fort Nisqually Living History Museum, 5400 N. Pearl St., Tacoma; $12-$15 (253-591-5339 or metroparkstacoma.org).

Seafair Weekend hydroplane races and air show

Aug. 5-7 Hydroplace races on Lake Washington, air show featuring Navy Blue Angels, music, food vendors, 8:30 a.m.-6 p.m. Aug. 5-6, 7:30 a.m.-6 p.m. Aug. 7, air shows 1:30-2 p.m. Aug. 5-7, Genesee Park and Playfield, 4316 S. Genesee St., Seattle; $10-$35 (206-728-0123 or seafair.com).

Umoja Fest African Heritage Festival

Aug. 5-7 Entertainment, African heritage parade, children’s day, African drum and dance, hip-hop fest, basketball tournament, marketplace, community resource fair, 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Aug. 5, 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Aug. 6, 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Aug. 7. Judkins Park & Playfield, 2150 S. Norman St., Seattle (206-728-0123 or umojafamilyfest.com.

Magnolia Summerfest

Aug. 5-7 Beer garden and entertainment, 5-10 p.m. Aug. 5; parade, 10:30 a.m. Aug. 6; sidewalk sale and entertainment, Aug. 6-7, Magnolia neighborhood, West Smith Street and 33rd Street, Seattle (206-795-4624 or magnoliasummerfest.org).

SalmonFest Seattle

Aug. 5-7 Salmon bake, noon-7 p.m. Aug. 5, 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Aug. 6, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Aug. 7, Lake City Community Center, 12531 28th Ave. N.E., Seattle (206-492-5030 or salmonfestseattle.com).

Stanwood Camano Community Fair

Aug. 5-7 Entertainment, parade, lip-sync contest, carnival, vendors, 9 a.m.-10 p.m. Aug. 5-6, 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Aug. 7, Stanwood Camano Community Fair, 6431 Pioneer Highway, Stanwood; $7-$10 (360-629-4121 or stanwoodcamanofair.org).

Gumshoe 5K Walk

Aug. 5-14 Fundraising detective walk in Seattle’s Phinney Ridge and Greenwood neighborhoods, Greenwood Senior Center, 525 N. 85th St., Seattle; $15-$20 (206-783-2244 or dothegumshoe.org).

From Hiroshima to Hope

Aug. 6 Annual lantern-floating ceremony commemorating the anniversary of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan; 6 p.m., Seattle Public Theater at the Bathhouse, 7312 W. Green Lake Drive N., Seattle; free (206-453-4471 or fromhiroshimatohope.org).

Seattle Youth Empowerment Day

Aug. 6 Event for young people to imagine ways to make an impact in their communities, 9:30 a.m.-4 p.m., Museum of History & Industry (MOHAI), 860 Terry Ave. N., Seattle; $10 (206-324-1126 or mohai.org/youth).

Seattle Children’s Hospital & Hydrocephalus Association Walk

Aug. 6 Fundraiser for research at Seattle Children’s Hospital and Research Institute, includes 3 routes, 9 a.m., Magnuson Park, 7400 Sand Point Way N.E., Seattle; free (425-649-0080 or hawalk.kintera.org/seattle).

Lake City Pioneer Days Parade

Aug. 6 Clowns, pirates, floats, drill teams, marching bands, 6 p.m., Lake City Way, Seattle (lakecitypioneerdaysparade.org).

Index Arts Festival

Aug. 6 Music, food vendors, 10 a.m.-10 p.m.; arts and crafts vendors, 10 a.m.-6 p.m., local poetry readings and open mic, children’s art activities, 11 a.m.-4 p.m., Doolittle Park, 300 Fifth Ave., Index (indexartsfestival.org).

Art in the Garden

Aug. 6-7 Art sale featuring 35 artists from Washington, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Aug. 6, 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Aug. 7, Matson Family Farms, 46620 228th Ave. S.E., Enumclaw; free (253-350-5691 or plateauartsalive.org).

Washington Midsummer Renaissance Faire

Aug. 6-21 Jousting, country dancing, games, music, puppet show, 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Aug. 6-7, 13-14, 20-21, Kelly Farms, 20021 Old Sumner Buckley Highway, Bonney Lake; $13-$50 (800-587-0172 or washingtonfaire.com).

Bicycle Sunday

Aug. 7-28 Scenic boulevard for biking and walking, closed to motorized vehicles, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Aug. 7, 14, 28; Lake Washington Boulevard from Mount Baker Beach to Seward Park, Seattle (seattle.gov/parks/bicyclesunday).

Tacoma’s Beer & Blues Festival

Aug. 8 Samples from 30+ Washington State breweries and cideries, local food vendors and live music, 1-8 p.m., downtown Tacoma; $25-$30 (253-591-5894 or broadwaycenter.org).

Pierce County Fair

Aug. 11-14 Entertainment, 4-H exhibits, hours vary, Pierce County Fairgrounds, 21606 Meridian Ave. E., Graham; $5 (253-847-4754 or piercecountyfair.com).

South Lake Union Block Party

Aug. 12 Music, food vendors, South Lake Union Discovery Center, 101 Westlake Ave. N., Seattle (slublockparty.com).

Kirkland Summerfest

Aug. 12-13 Celebration of art, outdoor entertainment and community spirit, 1-11 p.m. Aug. 12, 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Aug. 13, downtown Kirkland (425-822-7066 or kirklandsummerfest.com).

A Taste of Edmonds

Aug. 12-14 Four stages of entertainment, arts, crafts and food vendors, 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Aug. 12-13, 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Aug. 14, Edmonds Civic Center Playfield, 230 Sixth Ave. N., Edmonds; $4 (425-776-6711 or atasteofedmonds.com).

Marysville Street Festival

Aug. 12-14 Marketplace of local produce, artisans and musicians, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Aug. 12-13, 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Aug. 14, downtown Marysville (facebook.com/marysvillestreetfestival).

Festival at Mt. Si

Aug. 12-14 Food entertainment, music, Si View Park, 400 S.E. Orchard Drive, North Bend (425-888-8535 or festivalatmtsi.org).

Fred Hutch Obliteride

Aug. 12-14 Fundraising bike ride for cancer research at Fred Hutch; 10-, 25-, 50-, 85- and 100-mile routes, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, 1100 Fairview Ave. N., Seattle; $100-$200 (206-667-7433 or obliteride.org).

Iranian Festival

Aug. 13 Performances, poetry, food, 11 a.m.-7 p.m., Seattle Center Armory, Seattle (206-684-7200 or iaca-seattle.org).

Experience Historical Kent

Aug. 13 Experience Historical Kent event in conjunction with the city of Kent, 10 a.m.-4 p.m., Soos Creek Botanical Garden, 29308 132nd Ave. S.E., Auburn; free (253-639-0949 or sooscreekbotanicalgarden.org).

Celebrate Veterans Event

Aug. 13 Celebrate veterans with a live performance of the National Anthem and Color Guard Ceremony, 9 a.m.-3 p.m., Redmond Saturday Market, 7730 Leary Way, Redmond; free (425-556-0636 or redmondsaturdaymarket.org).

J.J. Hill Train Festival

Aug. 13 Small-scale train rides, food, music and activities, 10 a.m., Great Northern & Cascade Railway, 101 N. Fifth St., Skykomish; free (360-282-6676 or skytrainfestival.com).

Auburn AugustFest

Aug. 13 Entertainment, food, car show and parade, 11 a.m.-8 p.m., downtown Auburn (253-931-3043 or auburnwa.gov).

Covington KidsFest

Aug. 13 Entertainment, vendors, bike rodeo, 10 a.m.-2 p.m., Kohl’s, 17002 S.E. 270th Place, Covington (covingtonwa.gov/events).

Rainier Valley Culturefest

Aug. 13-14 Parade, street party with music, beer garden, vendors, noon-6 p.m., Othello Park, 4351 S. Othello St., Seattle (206-728-0123 or seafair.com).

Brigade Encampment

Aug. 13-14 Travel back to 1855 as re-enactors set up dozens of tents, 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Aug. 13-14, Fort Nisqually Living History Museum, 5400 N. Pearl St., Tacoma; $5-$9 (253-591-5339 or metroparkstacoma.org).

Stillaguamish Festival of the River & Pow Wow

Aug. 13-14 Entertainment, events celebrating the environment and Northwest communities, gates open at 10 a.m., River Meadows County Park, 20416 Jordan Road, Arlington (festivaloftheriver.com).

Lake Union 10K

Aug. 14 Race starts and finishes in Lake Union Park, registration begins 6 a.m., Lake Union Park, 860 Terry Ave. N., Seattle; $20-$40 (206-330-5967 or lakeunion10k.com).

Thirsty Summer Nights 5K

Aug. 17 Run through the park for all ages, after party for adults, 7 p.m., Titlow Park, 8425 Sixth Ave., Tacoma; $20 (253-305-1022 or metroparkstacoma.org).

Central Area Community Festival

Aug. 19-20 Food, music, showcase of local businesses and resources, hours vary, Garfield Community Center, 2323 E. Cherry St., Seattle (cacf.com).

Seattle Tattoo Expo

Aug. 19-21 Celebration of tattoo art and culture, hours vary, Fisher Pavilion, Seattle Center (206-447-7725 or seattletattooexpo.com).

Snoqualmie Railroad Days

Aug. 19-21 Festival celebrating the railroad and logging town, and the home of the Snoqualmie Indian Tribe, including parade (11 a.m. Aug. 20), 5-8:45 p.m. Aug. 19, noon-4 p.m. Aug. 20, 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Aug. 21, Northwest Railway Museum, 38625 S.E. King St., Snoqualmie;(425-888-3030 or railroaddays.com).

Flute Quest

Aug. 19-21 Annual celebration of the Native-American flute, music in the park all day, 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Saltwater State Park, 25205 Eighth Place S., Des Moines (waflutecircle.org).

Celebrate Shoreline

Aug. 20 Celebrate the city of Shoreline’s 21st birthday, two stages with live music and shows, beer garden, noon-9 p.m., Cromwell Park, North 179th Street and Meridian Avenue North, Shoreline; free (206-801-2600 or shorelinewa.gov/celebrateshoreline).

Classic Car Show

Aug. 20 Coordinated by the Shoreline Historical Museum, 10 a.m.-3 p.m., Aurora Square, 15505 Westminster Way N., Shoreline; free (206-801-2600 or shorelinewa.gov/specialevents).

Old Bellevue Taste of Main

Aug. 20 Fine cuisine, dessert and wine to benefit the Detlef Schrempf Foundation and Boys & Girls Clubs of Bellevue, noon-5 p.m., 103rd Avenue Northeast and Main Street, Bellevue; free (206-464-0826 or tasteofmainbellevue.com).

Zucchini Races

Aug. 20 Kids build cars out of market fresh vegetables and race them, 11 a.m.-1 p.m., Redmond Saturday Market, 7730 Leary Way, Redmond; free (425-556-0636 or redmondsaturdaymarket.org).

Sausage & CiderFest

Aug. 20 General admission begins at 4 p.m., Covington Community Park, 17649 SE 240th St., Covington; $15-$50 (253-480-2402 or sausageandciderfest.com).

Columbia Winery Charity Run, Walk & Kids’ Dash

Aug. 20 10K Run, a 5K Run/Walk & Kids’ Dash in the wine country of Woodinville, to support Seattle Children’s Hospital, 8:30 a.m., Columbia Winery, 14030 N.E. 145th St., Woodinville; $45 (206-987-4816 or runforchildrens.org).

Celebrate Woodinville

Aug. 20 Community parade, music, arts and crafts, noon-5 p.m., Wilmot Gateway Park, 1730 N.E. 131st Ave., Woodinville (celebratewoodinville.com).

Everett Craft Beer Festival

Aug. 20 Beer from 30 Washington breweries (21+ only), noon-7 p.m., downtown Everett; $20-$25 (washingtonbeer.com).

Neely Mansion’s Doll Tea

Aug. 20 Tea time, tour of Victorian farmhouse, Neely Mansion, 12303 Auburn-Black Diamond Road, Auburn; $15 (253-833-9404 or neelymansion.org).

Arts in Nature Festival

Aug. 20-21 Eclectic festival of art and performance in the woods, Camp Long, 5200 35th Ave. S.W., Seattle (206-923-0853 or naturec.org).

Viking Days

Aug. 20-21 Nordic entertainment, food, activities, 9 a.m.-7 p.m. Aug. 20, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Aug. 21, Nordic Heritage Museum, 3014 N.W. 67th St., Seattle (206-789-5707 or nordicmuseum.org).

Fourth Annual Urban Sketchers West Coast Sketch Crawl

Aug. 20-21 Urban Sketchers sketch crawl events, 9 a.m., various locations in central Tacoma; free (4thwcuskskcrawl.blogspot.com).

Hudson’s Bay Heritage Days

Aug. 20-21 Classic-car show, western themed carnival, salmon bake, historic re-enactments, Dupont Historical Museum, 207 Barksdale Ave., Dupont, Pierce County; free (253-312-3273 or visitdupont.com).

Fresh Paint: Festival of Artists at Work

Aug. 20-21 Artists in action, glassblowing, activities for kids, Port of Everett Marina, 1700 W. Marine View Drive, Everett; free (425-259-5050 or schack.org).

BrasilFest

Aug. 21 Carnival of music, martial arts, food and culture of Brazil, 11 a.m.-7 p.m., Seattle Center, Seattle (brasilfest.com).

Sandcastle Contest

Aug. 21 Registration starts at 11:30 a.m. Richmond Beach Saltwater Park, 2021 N.W. 197th St., Shoreline; free (206-801-2600 or shorelinewa.gov).

Golf Classic

Aug. 21 Course contests with prize opportunities, Golf Club at Newcastle, 15500 Six Penny Lane, Newcastle (bhsgolfclassic.com).

Tri-Five Chevy Show

Aug. 21 Northwest Classic Chevy Club display of 1955 through 1957 cars and trucks, 8 a.m.-3 p.m., Triple XXX Root Beer Drive-In, 98 N.E. Gilman Blvd., Issaquah (206-601-1762 or nwccc.net/wp).

Swim for Life

Aug. 21 2½-mile, team-based swim across Lake Washington, fundraiser to support Bloodworks Northwest, check-in 6:30 a.m., Medina Beach Park, 501 Evergreen Point Road, Medina (swimforlife.bloodworksnw.org).

Evergreen State Fair

Aug. 25-Sept. 5 Horse shows, rodeo, animals, exhibits, demonstrations, carnival, food vendors, 10 a.m.-10 p.m., Evergreen State Fairgrounds, 14405 179th Ave. S.E., Monroe; $6-$12 (360-805-6700 or evergreenfair.org).

Belltown Crush Party

Aug. 27 Wine and beer festival, 1-5 p.m., Bell Street Park, Bell Street between First and Second avenues, Seattle; $25 (206-683-3288 or seattleuncorked.com/events).

Seattle Summer Parkways

Aug. 27 Exploring the Ballard neighborhood, Market Street and Ballard Avenue, Seattle; free (206-684-7623 or seattle.gov).

Mallets in Wonderland: An Afternoon of Whimsical Croquet in the Gardens

Aug. 27 Alice in Wonderland-inspired event, noon-4 p.m., Dunn Gardens, 13533 Northshire Road N.W., Shoreline; $50/person or $100/family (206-362-0933 or dunngardens.org).

PAWSwalk

Aug. 27 Fundraiser for animals in need, 9 a.m.-1:30 p.m., Marymoor Park, 6046 W. Lake Sammamish Parkway N.E., Redmond (425-787-2500 or paws.org).

LeMay Car Show

Aug. 27 500 vintage vehicles from the LeMay Family Collection on display, LeMay Marymount Event Center, 325 152nd St. E., Tacoma; $15 (253-272-2336 or lemaymarymount.org).

Tibet Fest

Aug. 27-28 Himalayan arts, music and stories, 11 a.m.-5 p.m., Seattle Center, Seattle (206-684-7200 or washingtontibet.org).

Art in the Garden

Aug. 27-28 Art show and sale featuring outdoor sculpture and garden art by more than 30 Pacific Northwest artists, 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Bellevue Botanical Garden, 12001 Main St., Bellevue; free (425-452-2750 or artinthegardenbellevue.com).

Dahlia Show

Aug. 27-28 Puget Sound Dahlia Association display of dahlia varieties, noon-6 p.m. Aug. 27, 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Aug. 28, Sky Nursery, 18528 Aurora Ave. N., Shoreline; free (206-546-4851 or skynursery.com).

Artists in Action at Sky Nursery

Aug. 27-28 Admire a variety of paintings and sketches in progress, 11 a.m.-5 p.m., Sky Nursery, 18528 Aurora Ave. N., Shoreline; free (206-546-4851 or skynursery.com).

Harvest Festival

Aug. 27-28 Theatre, knightly combat, puppetry, crafts, archery, minstrels, food at living history village in England in the year 1376, the realm of King Arthur, period costume rental available, noon-5 p.m.; Camlann Medieval Village, 10320 Kelly Road N.E., Carnation; $6-$10, ages 5 and younger free (camlann.org).

Alki Beach 5K Walk and Run

Aug. 28 All-ages walk and run to support NW Hope & Healing Foundation, check-in at 8 a.m., Alki Beach Park, 1702 Alki Ave. S.W., Seattle; $100 suggested fundraising goal (206-215-2888 or alkibeachrun.com).

How will US real estate be affected by Brexit?

Chief Economist for Windermere Real Estate, Matthew Gardner, who just happens to be British, gives his opinion on the impact of Brexit on the U.S.:

The decision of the British public to leave the European Union is a historic one for many reasons, not least of which was the almost uniform belief that there was absolutely no way that the public would vote to dissolve a partnership that had been in existence since the UK became a member nation back in 1973. However, rightly or not, the people decided that it was time to leave.

As both an economist, and native of the UK, I’ve been bombarded with questions from people about what impact Brexit will have on the global economy and U.S. housing market. I’ll start with the economy.

Since last Thursday’s announcement, there have been exceptional ripples around the global economy that were felt here in the U.S. too. This isn’t all that surprising given that the vast majority of us believed that the UK would vote to remain in the EU; however, I believe things will start to settle down as soon as the smoke clears. The only problem is that the smoke remains remarkably dense.

The British government does not appear to be in any hurry to invoke Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, which allows a member country to leave the conglomerate. Additionally, nobody appears able to provide any definitive data as to what the effect of the UK leaving will really have on the European or global economies.

As a result, you have those who suggest that it will lead to a “modest” recession in the UK, as well as extremists who are forecasting a return of the 4-horsemen of the apocalypse. But in reality, no one really knows, and it is that type of uncertainty that feeds on itself and can cause wild fluctuations in the market.

It’s important to understand that last Thursday’s vote does not confirm an actual exit from the European Union. There is a prolonged process of leaving that is set out in the EU Treaty which requires a “cooling off” period. And during this time, even confident political leaders, such as Boris Johnson who championed the exit campaign, might be tempted by reforms that would see Great Britain actually remaining in the EU.

The EU itself has been shaken by the vote, and there are already signs that many of its leaders are talking about moving away from the Federal structure of the Union in favor of a looser, intergovernmental agreement, that would allow greater sovereignty for its member states.

This is clearly an obvious attempt to accommodate what is already a groundswell of opposition to the Union that is much wider than just Britain, and now includes France, Spain, Greece and Portugal, all of whom are considering their own exits.

So what does this mean for the U.S.?

As far as any direct impact of the Brexit on the U.S. economy is concerned, I foresee a continued period of volatility given the aforementioned uncertainty. That said, any predictable effects on the U.S. will be limited to a “headwind” to growth, but not enough to drive us into a recession. Our financial system is solid and U.S. exposure to European debt is still limited. I wouldn’t be surprised to see a slowdown in U.S. exports as the dollar continues to gain strength against European currencies, but those effects will be fairly modest.

As for the impact on housing, U.S. real estate markets could actually benefit. Uncertain economic times almost always lead to a “flight to safety”, which means global capital could pour into the United States bond market at an aggressive rate. With this capital injection, the interest rate on bonds would be driven down, resulting in a drop on mortgage rates. And a drop in mortgage rates makes it cheaper to borrow money to buy a home.

On the flip side, one thing that concerns me about lower interest rates is that it could draw more buyers into the market, compounding already competitive conditions, and driving up home prices. And housing affordability would inevitably take yet another hit.

Let’s not fool ourselves; what we’re seeing is a divorce between the UK and a majority of Europe. And like most divorces, there are no good decisions that will make everybody happy. We need to be prepared for the fact that it is going to be a very ugly, nasty, brutal, lawyer-riddled, expensive divorce.

My biggest concern for the U.S. is that the Federal Reserve must now pause in its desire to raise interest rates (I now believe that we will not see another increase this year as a result of Brexit). This is troubling because we need to normalize rates in preparation for a recession that is surely on the way in the next couple of years. The longer we put that off, the less prepared we will be when our economy eventually turns down.

~ Mathew Gardner, Chief Economist Windermere Real Estate

Cost versus Value – 2016

2016 Cost vs. Value Report

This report compares average costs for 30 popular remodeling projects with the value those projects retain at resale in 100 US Markets and more specifically the Pacific region.

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2016 TRENDS

Bigger and more expensive projects, rising new-home prices, curb appeal, and energy efficiency all contributed to a slight gain in remodeling projects’ payback at resale, the 2016 Cost vs. Value report shows.

The average cost and average return at resale for the 27 projects in this year’s report resulted in an average of 64.4% of a project’s investment dollars getting recouped if the home is sold within a year. That’s up from 62% in the 2015 report and the second-highest return in the past eight years.

Click here for more information about this year’s key trends

Increase Your Home Value for under $1000

10 Upgrades Under $1,000 That Increase Home Values

A clean, well-maintained home in tiptop condition will yield maximum profit when it comes time to sell. However, you don’t have to shell out the big bucks to make sure your house is in mint condition. There are a number of upgrades you can do for under $1,000 that will impress buyers and prompt strong offers.

Add a water filtration system

Installing a whole-house water filtration system is a serious game changer. Additional filtering to remove pollutants and chemicals from our drinking water has become necessary in many cities across the U.S. However, many homeowners have been dealing with the issue on their own, by either using a clunky, refillable filtering pitcher or purchasing drinking water in environmentally unfriendly plastic bottles. Increase your home’s value and impress buyers with filtered water directly from any faucet in the house — it’s pure luxury, and this amenity will pay off now and in the future when it’s time to sell.

Install a programmable thermostat

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, heating your home accounts for more than 40% of its total energy usage. Programmable thermostats allow you to customize a temperature profile throughout the day. Reducing the temperature inside your home by a degree or two while you sleep can lead to huge savings on a monthly basis. And with energy costs on the rise, many buyers will appreciate your forward thinking in assisting them with long-term savings — especially if you put in a Wi-Fi–enabled thermostat that can be controlled by your smartphone or computer.

Add more grounded outlets, or upgrade the outlets you have

If you live in an old house, chances are, two- prong-receptacle outlets outnumber grounded, three-prong outlets in your home. Adding more three-prong outlets is a small project that can greatly improve the functionality of your home. It’s possible to retrofit a new three-prong or GFCI receptacle into the two-prong outlet box without rewiring, as long as the box itself is grounded. Or if you’re happy with the electrical structure you have but are sick of looking at dingy tan switches, consider updating to new white ones. You can even add fancy new outlets that have USB ports or timers to control lights.

Update your fixtures

Updating tired, worn fixtures will breathe new life into any space. Give your bathroom and kitchen a critical look — could the drawer pulls and cabinet handles use an update? If new kitchen cabinets are outside your budget, new hardware is a simple way to update the room’s entire look and feel. What about the faucets? A sleek new kitchen faucet with a sprayer combines practicality with design and will be appreciated by buyers. Anticipating and tackling these smaller projects will have a big selling impact. And — bonus! — you can enjoy them in the meantime.

Replace the toilet

Replacing an old, cracked, or outdated toilet can make a significant impact on your bathroom aesthetics. Purchase a stylish new one for a few hundred dollars or take the environmentally friendly route and opt for an almost-new secondhand toilet (just be sure to buy a new seat). Repurposed construction material outlets offer a variety of well-priced goods.

Reglaze the bathtub

You can see buyers hold their breath as they slowly pull back the shower curtain, hoping for a sparkly new tub. Exceed their expectations for just a few hundred dollars by reglazing your existing bathtub. The process can be accomplished in a day and will be ready to use in just a few days. Roll up your sleeves for a DIY weekend or call in the professionals; either way, you’ll come in under budget.

Install a tile floor

A shiny new tile floor can breathe life into the darkest bathrooms. They’re easy to clean, resist microbes and allergens, and wear well in high- traffic areas, making them a perfect material for the bathroom. Flooring liquidators typically sell a variety of quality tile, so start there. If your bathroom is small, you can probably even splurge on some designer options! Then save the rest of your budget for a professional installation.

Add new blinds or plantation shutters

Is your home still sporting aluminum blinds or old-school vertical blinds? Consider replacing them: New window coverings can really modernize a room. If your windows are a standard width, you can buy basic wood blinds at a home improvement store (and most allow you to customize the length). If your window size is irregular, you’ll have to special-order them. To add a truly upscale look to a room, try plantation shutters — they can be a major selling point with the next people to own your home.

Replace the front door

The front entry is the focal point of your home’s curb appeal. Give your home a face-lift and replace — or repaint — the front door. With security and safety in mind, choose a door that will appeal to a buyer’s practical side (and don’t forget to consider new hardware too). Another way to add interest and style to your home is by adding color to make your front door a statement.

Add a walkway

A new path leading to the front door can really elevate the look of your home. While brick pavers add a traditional and classic look to the exterior of your home, you can also choose stone, concrete, or even rocks — just make sure the look of the pathway matches your home’s style. Regardless of the material, a walkway is a welcoming feature, beckoning guests (and buyers!) inside to have a look around.

~ Trulia

Bellevue 2nd most livable city in US; Kirkland #25

BellevueWhere is the most livable city in the U.S.? Is it by sun-soaked beaches, near majestic mountains, or smack-dab in the middle of the country where temperatures fall into single digits in winter and snow piles up by the foot? 

2. BELLEVUE, WA

Boasting some of the best schools in the country along with Bellevue College and City University of Seattle, the city offers a small-town environment but many entertainment options and events, such as the annual Bellevue Arts and Crafts Fair. It often hosts technology companies which has helped develop its downtown.

Population: 128,209

Median Household Income: $90,333

Median Home Price: $525,000


25. KIRKLAND, WASHINGTON 

On the coast of Lake Washington, Kirkland offers a host of enviable features from a charming downtown to an abundance of trails and a dynamic economy. Residents enjoy pools, community centers, nearby wineries and fine restaurants.

Population: 75,835
Median Household Income: $87,480

Median Home Price: $415,300

If you guessed beaches or mountains, a recent ranking of the most livable small cities in the U.S. may surprise you.

An annual study from Livability, a marketing company that helps cities attract residents and businesses, finds that Rochester, Minnesota, is the most livable small city in the U.S. The top 25 cities are located in just 13 states, with California having the most at five, followed by Colorado (4) and Washington (3). Only two cities are located on the East Coast — one each in Maryland and Virginia — while 14 are along the West Coast.

Of the top 25, only nine had populations over 100,000, while three came in under 50,000. The average population among the 25 cities is 91,574. The median household income among them is $65,149, with only one city recording median income over $100,000. The median price of a home for all 25 is $373,756.

Other characteristics found among the 25 top cities include strong local economies with big employers, the existence of major universities or other research institutions, and dynamic downtowns that provide residents with an array of dining, shopping and cultural experiences. Beautiful outdoors and recreational activities also popped up frequently.

Livability ranked 2,000 cities with populations between 20,000 and 350,000 to come up with its top 100 places to live in its third annual ranking. It considered more than 40 data points in eight categories: amenities, demographics, economy, education, health care, housing, social and civil capital and transportation and infrastructure.

         ~Janna Herron, Fiscal Times

2015 State of the Real Estate Market

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The NW Multiple Listing Service recently sent out their annual summary of the year that was in Western Washington real estate. We probably don’t need to tell you that most of those numbers are up, up, up. Especially if you’ve been trying to buy a house all year long. We perused the report, which was chocked full of numbers, and picked out some of the most shocking, revealing and fascinating numbers within.

 

 

2015 saw 88,331 closed sales amongst NWMLS members in 2015, up 14.3 percent from 77,276 in 2014.

The value of every NWMLS member single-family home & condo sale was over $34 billion, up almost 23 percent from 2014.

Both of those numbers are higher than the previous highs of 2007 when the housing market peaked.

Average area-wide supply was 2.4 month, down from the 3.5 months number of 2014. King County was the lowest of all, averaging only 1.3 months of supply. 4-to-6 month supply is considered a balanced housing market.

2,676 single family homes sold at $1 million or more, which was up over 29 percent from 2014. Add 237 condos priced at $1 million and up in as well.

The median price for a 3-BR home was $283,250, about 7.9 percent higher than 2014. Highest median price for 3-BRs came courtesy of San Juan County with $452,500.

Six of every 10 condo sales (61.9 percent) were located in King County.

As well as older sales did, new construction sales did even better. 8,548 newly-built single family homes sold for a median price of $425,000 while 1,018 new condos sold for a median price of $449,950.

The highest-priced single family home sold in 2015 by a NWMLS member? This $13.8 million Mercer Island estate. Topping the chart of high-priced condos was an Escala 3-BR that went for just over $3.1M.

There was a tie atop the list of cities with the most $5M+ home sales. Mercer Island and Bellevue both saw seven, while Clyde Hill (5), Medina (4) and Seattle (4) were close behind.

~ Sean Keeley

What To Expect From the 2016 Housing Market

Are you wondering what’s in store for the 2016 housing market? Here’s a look at current trends and some experts’ predictions for the year ahead.

Most experts are calling for the U.S. housing market to maintain its momentum throughout the coming year. Here are some of the top predictions for 2016.

Zillow expects home prices to rise by around 3.5 percent in 2016, while CoreLogic, a data and analytics company, predicts a 4 to 5 percent increase. Either figure is likely to be somewhat lower than the final tally for home price appreciation in 2015, which CoreLogic measured at around 6 percent.

The average 30-year mortgage rate remains historically low at under 4 percent, even though the Federal Reserve raised the federal funds rate by .25 percent in December. Many experts expect the 30-year mortgage rate to reach 4.5 to 5 percent by the end of the year, assuming one or two more rate hikes occur in 2016.

What To Expect From the 2016 Housing Market