Seattle-eastside new condo buildings are standing half empty. American Public Media took a look at the Seattle and Bellevue condo market in a piece aired on NPR last week. Below are some of the key points:
Escala, here in front of us, it’s 230 units. And they’ve only sold two in the last year-and-a-half.
The over-building is visible in surrounding cities as well, like Bellevue, where the new Bellevue Towers added 550 condos to the market.
Jeff Tyler interviewed Michael Brandt, who purchased a unit in Bellevue Towers last year.
Brandt: I’m actually not paying home owners’ dues right now, and won’t be for potentially a year-and-a-half or two years down the road.
So, the perks for condo owners now are no home owners dues or lines to use the public spaces and/or equipment and the quiet. The negatives are no representation on the home owners’ association board until 60% of the units sell, a mostly empty building, and real difficulty reselling a condo now, since there are still so many unoccupied units for sale.
Some buyers may still want to buy in one of the condo towers because the hope is to get a screaming deal. For certain buyers who plan to stay and make one of the new condos a home, then it may make sense to do so. The Bellevue-Seattle condo real estate market should come around again, But don’t buy in one of the towers if your plan is to sell anytime in the next 5 years. In fact, I’d plan to stay put for a good 10 years. Maybe the condo market will change before that time, but I’d go for a really good deal and plan to stay for a long time if I were buying a Seattle or downtown Bellevue condo.