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Ready or not, hear Christmas Ships come! Pun intended. Next Friday is the Argosy Cruises Christmas Ship Festival kick-off! For all of our new Seattleites, this holiday celebration has been a holiday tradition since 1949. The Argosy Christmas Ship sails around 65 different Puget Sound waterfront communities bringing holiday cheer. Join your community around a warm bonfire and listen for the arrival of the Christmas Ship!

Next Friday, November 25th, a Lead Boat will be performing from 7:30pm-7:50pm at the Seattle Tennis Club. The 2nd performance will be held from 8pm-8:20pm at the Park Shore Retirement Home. Although these may be private, check out the schedule for the rest of the holiday season!

By Tommy Kulvanish, Ewing & Clark, Inc.

Greetings from Lake Union, where over the last month fireworks lit up the sky for the 4th of July, and the real estate market was booming, as well.

Yes, inventory remains low around Lake Union, but when a property hits the market, a feeding frenzy begins with the number of buyers hoping to find a home they can call their own.

Since May, 13 single-family homes have sold in the area, according to the Northwest Multiple Listing Service (NWMLS). With an average selling price of $949,000, homes are selling at an average of 1.5 percent over asking price, due to such high demand and low supply. Once homes are listed, they sit for roughly seven days before there is an offer accepted.

And we aren’t even talking about large two- or three-bedroom homes; the average size of the homes being snatched up is only 1,700 square feet. That’s it, 1,700 square feet in today’s crazy market.

And let’s not forget about the condo market, which is also very competitive. According to the NWMLS, 28 condos have sold since the beginning of May, with an average sales price of just over $401,000, for roughly 900 square feet. Properties were selling at an average of two percent above asking price. Condos did not sell as quickly as single-family homes, but still only lasted on the market for an average of two weeks.

What does this all mean, you ask? Well, if you have an investment property, there has not been a better time to sell and take advantage of this insanely hot and competitive market. If you’re looking to buy, with the lending rates hovering near four percent, now is the time! But as prices are likely to continue to increase, buyers should move quickly.

If you’re interesting in finding out what your home or condo is worth, or you’re tired of renting and want to see what is out there, please feel free to reach out to me at tkulvanish@ewingandclark.com.

Welcome to Lake Union, where not only has the weather been hot, but the real estate market is as well. With the continued rise of median prices in King County, Seattle and all of its surrounding areas are having a heavy influence on the soaring prices we are seeing. Also adding to record prices is the lack of inventory that has become available so far this year. So, if you’re contemplating on selling high with your investment home or rental, there is not a better time than now to maximize your profits.

In the first six months of 2015, according to the Northwest Multiple Listing Service (NWMLS), 41 residential homes were sold. Of those 41, 34 were two- and three-bedrooms homes, so this tends to be what is highly sought after in Lake Union. The average selling price for two-bedroom homes is approximately $607,000, while three bedrooms were in the ballpark of $782,000. How long are these homes sitting on the market to obtain these prices, you ask? According to the NWMLS, two-bedroom homes were generally on the market for about 18 days and three bedrooms sitting on for only about 10 days.

The condominium market in and around Lake Union was even hotter than the weather these past six months. Per the NWMLS, since the beginning of 2015, 167 condos have sold! That’s essentially one every day, and that’s just in the Lake Union area alone! Of the 167 purchased, 76 of those were studios and one bedrooms, 82 two-bedrooms and nine three-bedrooms.

The average days on the market for studio, one- and two-bedroom condos was just a little more than three weeks (26 days), but it was common for well-priced units to last only 10 days or less on the market. Meanwhile, 3-bedroom condos were on the market for roughly 16 days. The median prices provided by the NWMLS are as follow; studios and one-bedrooms sold for approximately $279,000; but that figure is brought down substantially by studios that sold for much less that the median average. 32 one-bedrooms sold for over $300,000, with most in the high 300 and low 400’s. The average selling price of 2-bedroom condos was nearly $354,000, and 3 bedrooms went for roughly $674,000.

Through the first half of this year, the real estate market in and around Lake Union has shown no reason to slow down through this summer and into the fall. In a lot of cases, there are multiple offer situations that homes and condos are dealing with. With most offers coming in at full price or above, why wouldn’t you want to sell now? If you have any questions regarding what your home may be worth or if you would like a tour of what is available in Lake Union, please do not hesitate to reach out to me.

Just as the lane configurations on Mercer Street seem to change daily, the Seattle Department of Transportation is constantly reevaluating what can be done to reduce gridlock for drivers and headaches for pedestrians in South Lake Union and Lower Queen Anne, an area experiencing unprecedented growth. After implementing several changes this fall, SDOT continues to facilitate communication among construction companies and community members as part of its Construction Hub Coordination Program.

Anyone who has spent time sitting in their car on Mercer Street, watching traffic lights cycle through green and back to red without moving an inch, knows that improving traffic flow on the main thoroughfare is a high priority for the neighborhood. With input from the South Lake Union Community Council, SDOT has made the following changes:

  • Traffic signal at 5th Avenue North and Mercer Street has been reconfigured to allow flow of both eastbound and westbound traffic simultaneously.
  • Revised signal at Queen Anne Ave. North and Roy Street to prevent vehicles from blocking the crosswalk.
  • Left-turn-signal time extended at Fairview Avenue North and Mercer Street.
  • Rapid Ride D Line bus given priority signal.
  • New signal timing for special events at Seattle Center.
  • Facilitated coordination between construction companies to ensure that sidewalks aren’t closed on both sides of any street, improving access for pedestrians.

While the Mercer corridor reconfiguration project is expected to be completed in mid 2015, construction in booming South Lake Union shows no signs of letting up, meaning your input will be as important as ever. Any questions or feedback can be submitted to the Construction Hub Coordination Program at SDOTConstructionHub@seattle.gov.

If you prefer a nautical spin on your holiday events, the Greet the Season celebration at Lake Union Park on Saturday, November 29, is for you. This all-day event offers maritime-inspired activities for the whole family, capped off with a performance by the always-popular Argosy Christmas Ship.

Tour the historic ships docked at the park, including the Virginia V, Arthur Foss, and M/V Lotus; and wander through the exhibits at the Center for Wooden Boats (also free to enter) to learn about the influence of small boats on the culture of the Pacific Northwest. MOHAI will be open from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. for the regular admission price of $17 (free for kids 14 and under), and will be offering free admission to the atrium between 5:00 and 8:00 p.m.

Kids will have the opportunity to build toy boats, sail boats on the pond, make maritime signal flag necklaces, learn knot-tying techniques, decorate cookies, make holiday cards and ornaments, and much more. Crafts, music, and dance performances should be enough to keep them occupied all day! Though most of these activities are free, donations are greatly appreciated.

The Christmas Ship will begin its performance on Lake Union, featuring the Dickens Carolers, at 7:15 p.m., and hot beverages will be available to keep you warm through the evening. Don’t miss out on this quintessentially Seattle way to greet the holiday season!

Join the South Lake Union Community Council at MOHAI this Tuesday, November 4, for it’s monthly meeting covering neighborhood issues and events. This month’s meeting will feature presentations by the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance, and by the Department of Planning and Development regarding incentive zoning, plus updates on the Construction Hub Coordination Program, and discussion of upcoming meeting speakers Seattle City Councilmember Sally Bagshaw and Seattle Police Chief Kathleen O’Toole. Click here to see a full meeting agenda. The meeting runs from 4:00-6:00 p.m.

The last South Lake Union Art Walk of the season is set for Friday, December 5, and since it is sure to be a chilly night, organizers will be setting up hot-beverage stations throughout the neighborhood where walkers can warm up between art viewings. Stations will be located at the pedestrian plaza at 515 Westlake, Common Table, the Y @ Cascade People’s Center, Immanuel Lutheran Church, Pilates Seattle International, and Seattle Unity Church.

More than 30 businesses, including Glazer’s Camera and Winston Wachter Fine Arts Gallery, are participating in the December walk, which will also feature window displays at 518 YALE and Graphica Inc.; and a guided walking tour of the eight Storefronts Seattle installations. The tour starts at 6:00 p.m. and will leave from the corner of John and Boren.

The walk, which runs from 5:00-8:00 p.m., will also serve as a shoe drive for Redeeming Soles, an organization that provides footwear to homeless and underprivileged people in the Puget Sound area. If you have new or gently used shoes that could use a new home, drop them off at Common Table anytime during the art walk.

Click here for a map of participating venues!

If you had your heart set on buying a piece of Hollywood real estate history, your choices just narrowed by one. The houseboat that was featured in “Sleepless in Seattle” has been sold to a local tech executive for a sum that reportedly tops $2 million, according to the Puget Sound Business Journal.

The houseboat, which sits at the end of a dock off Westlake Avenue North, has unobstructed views of Lake Union and is surprisingly large at 2,200 square feet. The buyer, who has chosen to remain anonymous and whose main residence is also in Seattle, reportedly bought the iconic houseboat as a convenient summer house for his family.

According to the PSBJ article, the previous owners of 21 years listed the home in 2008, only to take it off the market after hoards of photo seekers flocked to the dock where the house is moored. The recent sale happened mostly under the radar, as the home was never listed on the Multiple Listing Service.

So, if you’ve been waiting patiently to own Seattle’s most famous houseboat, looks like you’ll have to wait and see if it hits the market again some day!

 

 

If you had your heart set on buying a piece of Hollywood real estate history, your choices just narrowed by one. The houseboat that was featured in “Sleepless in Seattle” has been sold to a local tech executive for a sum that reportedly tops $2 million, according to the Puget Sound Business Journal.

The houseboat, which sits at the end of a dock off Westlake Avenue North, has unobstructed views of Lake Union and is surprisingly large at 2,200 square feet. The buyer, who has chosen to remain anonymous and whose main residence is also in Seattle, reportedly bought the iconic houseboat as a convenient summer house for his family.

According to the PSBJ article, the previous owners of 21 years listed the home in 2008, only to take it off the market after hoards of photo seekers flocked to the dock where the house is moored. The recent sale happened mostly under the radar, as the home was never listed on the Multiple Listing Service.

So, if you’ve been waiting patiently to own Seattle’s most famous houseboat, looks like you’ll have to wait and see if it hits the market again some day!

 

 

The bustling area known as Lake Union has seen quite a transformation over the years as major corporations have continued to move their massive campuses  around the lake. This in turn has had a positive effect on the property values of Lake Union condos and single family homes. Low inventory, rising rents and proximity to major employers make this area desirable and extremely competitive when selling or buying. According to the Northwest Multiple Listing Service (MLS), condominium sales in the first half of 2014  have increased from 86 properties to 92 properties compared to the first half of 2013 and single family home sales for 2014 have increased from 38 parcels to 47 parcels compared to over the first half of 2013. The average residential sales price for 3 bedrooms increased from $678,000 to $681,000, however, the average condo sales price of a 2 bedroom increased from $338,000 to $380,000 in the first half of 2014 vs the first half of 2013. Condominiums are the driving force in this area, as they account for the majority of sales in the Lake Union real estate market. Inventory is low, as there are only 14 condominiums currently available in South Lake Union.  Despite rising prices, it is still much cheaper to buy than rent in this area. According to a Feb 2014 Trulia report,  homeownership remains cheaper than renting nationally and in all of the 100 largest metro areas. Rising mortgage rates and home prices have narrowed the gap over the past year, though rates have recently dropped and price gains are slowing. Now, at a 30-year fixed rate of 4.5%, buying is 38% cheaper than renting nationally, versus being 44% cheaper one year ago. In the Seattle Area, Trulia estimates it’s 34% cheaper to buy than rent so if you’re contemplating diving into the market, now is a great time, as prices will almost certainly be higher next year. Lake Union is a rapidly developing area and the real estate market that surrounds it is no different. It is becoming very desirable for young and old alike for it offers a little bit of everything that you would want in city living. If Lake Union sounds like a place to start a new chapter in your life feel free to contact me;  I would love to show you around this fantastic area.