Condo prices in Seattle continue to speak to the strength of the real estate market

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You may have heard Seattle is experiencing a cool down. Not so fast.

The market is definitely slowing within the city (if not Thurston County), but that doesn’t mean that prices have dipped all that much. The median closed sale price fell by about $45,000 from the month before, but it was still up $30,000 from the same time last year, according to the latest Northwest Multiple Listing Service report.

The NWMLS report writes, nearly 60 percent of the current inventory of homes and condos has an asking price of $750,000 or higher, making affordability an ongoing concern. And while the single-family home is still king in Seattle and King County, condos are also seeing higher prices.

The median closed sale price for condos in Seattle during August (the last month for which information was available) was $504,500. That’s a 6.21 percent increase from the same time last year.  Area-wide, that jump looks more like 8.1 percent, while across King County the jump in median condo prices was 11.3 percent.

Some good news is that condo prices are going through the same market-wide cool down as single-family homes: Active listings jumped nearly 58 percent, and closed transactions dropped off by about 15 percent.

But that’s not necessarily enough to turn what was once seen as a “starter home” into an affordable option. It’s also not a sign of a pending bubble or rapid inflation, as far as brokers can tell; like all the other changes in the city, blame it on the strong local economy.

“Even with some doom and gloom about sales being down in many counties, inventory doubling in some areas, and appreciation holding at around 8 percent for the year, our market is still very healthy and recovering from the depleted inventory of the past three years,” George Moorhead, designated broker and owner, Bentley Properties, Bothell said in the report.

~Zosha Millman, Seattle PI

The Best New Condo Project in Seattle Is Actually in Bellevue

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Bosa Development just released new architectural details and renderings of the highly anticipated One88 condo project in Downtown Bellevue.

One88 will be the city’s first high-rise condominium community in nearly a decade, and it will also be the first project in the region for world-renowned architect Hossein Amanat. The 21 story luxury tower will feature 143 residences.

Bellevue, much like Seattle, has been starving for condo inventory. Its boutique, has an amazing location, will overlook Downtown Bellevue Park and has quite a bit of view protection for years to come.

According to a recent press release by One88:

“One88 will truly change the skyline of downtown Bellevue. It will not be an ordinary, cube-shaped tower, it will be a statement-making building with a different application of materials and shape that creates the appearance of movement,” said Amanat, principal of Amanat Architect. “The views of Lake Washington, the Cascades and the surrounding city also heavily influenced my design. I wanted to create a number of private and communal spaces that framed those views and bring the outdoors in.”

“One88 brings a new style of design and a new level of luxury to downtown Bellevue,” said Bemi Jauhal, director of sales and marketing for Bosa.“The demand for downtown’s vibrant urban lifestyle is growing and we feel the city is ready for an unique residential offering.”

“One 88 is located at the intersection of Bellevue Way Northeast and Northeast Second Street. One88 will be just a few steps from Downtown Park and a variety of dining and high-end shopping. Residences will have a range of views from Lake Washington, mountains, The Bellevue Skyline and more.

~ Urban Condo Spaces

Seattle’s Condo Conundrum: Historically Low Supply

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Seattle is experiencing a historic shortage of condos, as developers choose to build apartments rather than market-ready living spaces.

One reason for the shortage is an unusually stringent state condo law that makes it easier for condo owners to sue developers for construction defects.

“This is really an affordable housing issue,” said Kerry Bucklin, condo attorney with Bucklin/Evens in Seattle. “We need more housing. And in order to have more housing, we need to stop suing developers over ticky-tack complaints.”

There are only four tower developments currently slated to include condos in the downtown core.

Before 1999, King County had an average of around 2,000 condos on the market for buyers to purchase. Today, it’s lower than 350 — a record low.

Dean Jones with Realogics Sotheby’s International Realty says clarifying the law is one of several steps that can be taken.”The only solution I see to this affordability crisis on market-rate housing is reduce the headwinds that developers face in getting permitted products,” he said.

One foreign developer sees the void of condos and is ready to take a risk on Seattle. Dali Development from Taiwan has plans to construct the KODA tower at 5th Avenue and Main Street in Seattle’s International District. It’s slated to have 17 floors and 202 units, and will soon hit the market with condos between 400-1,124 square feet for up to $1 million.

“A lot of developers are looking to diversify their portfolio, and Seattle is the place to be,” said Kevin Hsieh with Dali Development.

“Also, Amazon is huge in Asia right now, so it’s become the most attractive place on the West Coast when it comes to growth and potential. Seattle is the city of the future right now,” said Hsieh.

~Jake Wittenberg, KING