Are you questioning why your property taxes may have gone up? Many people do. Every year I get phone calls from neighbors and clients asking me why their taxes have increased. Most people hope to contest King County's tax assessment if they think the property tax increase is unfair. Before you decide to contest your taxes, it's a good to know how and why the taxes increase. As a citizen and tax payer, you'll have an opportunity to meet Lloyd Hara, the King County Tax Assessor, at a town hall meeting. Mr. Hara will discuss the ins and outs of property taxes and how one can make an appeal.
Below is a a copy of the press release regarding the Town Hall Meeting:
King County Assessor Lloyd Hara from the Department of Assessments will host a town hall meeting on Tuesday, November 12th from 6:00 PM to 7:30 PM to discuss property valuations, taxes and the services the Department of Assessments provides to assist King County property owners. The King County Board of Equalization and Tax Advisor’s Office will also present information on property valuation appeals.
Tuesday, November 12, 2013
6:00 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.
Kirkland City Hall – Peter Kirk Room
123 5th Ave, Kirkland, WA 98033
This town hall will be an opportunity for residents to learn more about their property assessments and values, senior and disabled exemptions, online services and the appeals process.
"We are beginning to see a recovery in the housing market in King County," said King County Assessor Lloyd Hara. "Though property values continue to decline in selected areas, there are also a number of areas where property values are increasing, including in the City of Seattle and the Eastside.”
Property taxes are mixed in King County for 2013, with property values and property taxes down for many. However, some property owners from will see their property values decline while their property taxes increase, and other property owners will see both their property values increase and property taxes increase.
If you would like more information, please visit the King County Assessor’s website at www.kingcounty.gov/assessor or contact Phillip Sit at 206/263-2261 or email@example.com.
Not only is the Seattle Eastside Real Estate market on a roll, the number of distressed sales (bank owned and short sales) has declined dramatically. In the 3rd quarter, only 18% of the homes sold on the eastside were distressed sales. Seattle and the rest of King County also had numbers that were on the lower side when compared to previous quarters.
Actually, it would be great if more distressed homes came on the market. We need more homes to sell. King County and, subsequently, the eastside are at a record low number of homes for sale. Because of this lack of inventory, distressed sales are needed on the market and, unlike previous years, would not have a detrimental affect on home prices. At this point, it would be a good thing for the market by offering buyers more choices.
So bring those homes for sale on the market. Bring them on!
Calling all pet owners and animal lovers in King County. Pets in King County need your help. Several eastside cities, Bellevue, Kirkland, Newcastle, Redmond, and Mercer Island, are thinking of canceling the contract with King County for animal control services . Each of the above cities would be responsible for animal control issues within its city limits. If there’s an animal in Kirkland needing some assistance, Kirkland would be responsible. The problem is none of these cities is equipped to handle our lost, stolen, and stray pets. The infrastructure is not there. Plus, it would bring on added costs to our local cities in a time when cutbacks are needed.
There is another organization which is far better quipped than individual cities to take care of animals, the Humane Society. The Humane Society wants this job. They already know how to do a terrific job in placing animals in homes. They hold animals indefinitely in an effort to find them good homes. They don’t kill dogs and cats, people’s pets.
I know this first hand. This issue is a very personal one for me. My dog Henry was adopted from the Humane Society. He had been picked up and kept for six weeks in the hopes that someone would adopt him. When he was found on the street, he was infested with fleas. The Humane Society shaved his butt in an effort to get rid of the fleas. He was the true picture of “butt ugly.” But, he was cured of his fleas, very adoptable and we got him! If the Humane Society hadn’t taken care of his fleas and kept him alive, we never would have gotten him.
Henry was a fabulous dog. We only had him for 4 1/2 years because he was about 10 when we adopted him. Unfortunately, he had a myriad of health problems, starting with failing sight and hearing. The thing that got him, though, was congestive heart failure. He had 3 1/2 great years and one year in which he gradually lost his sight and got sick because of his heart. We loved having him all of the time he was with us. We wouldn’t have traded him for anything. He was sweet and loving, a true joy.
There are lots of other Henrys out there, so please support The Humane Society in their efforts to do a good job for the animals on the eastside. If you can help this cause for all eastside pets, please contact your City Council people. Let them know you would like the Humane Society to take over the animal control services for the individual cities of the eastside.
Here’s a copy of the letter sent to us from David Loewe, the CEO of the Humane Society:
I am writing to share some exciting news that could improve the care of homeless, lost, stray and abandoned pets in Kirkland, and I would like your support.
As you probably know, many of the cities on the Eastside are contracting with King County, located in Kent, for the sheltering of stray animals. The contracts with King County are due to expire this year.
Seattle Humane Society has been approached by concerned citizens and Eastside city officials about our interest and ability to provide sheltering services, because the county contract is so expensive.
I’m confident that Seattle Humane Society is in a strong position to help and can provide better care for the animals, lower cost to taxpayers, and better service to the public. Please support us, by letting your city officials know that we are the best agency to provide these services.
As a donor-supported charity, we’ve provided shelter services to animals in our community for more than 115 years. Our medical and foster care for pets is among the best in the nation, resulting in an animal shelter save rate that is among the highest in the nation at 96 percent.
The cities interested in our services – Bellevue, Redmond, Kirkland, Mercer Island and Newcastle – are in our own backyard. In truth, many animals from these cities are brought to us already. If Seattle Humane Society receives the sheltering contract, cities will pay less for services, and there is an increased chance that a pet owner will be united with their lost companion. If Seattle Humane Society holds the sheltering contract, and you lose your pet on the Eastside, you can find your pet on the Eastside – at our shelter in Bellevue.
As additional background, I’ve attached a copy here of the letter that I presented to the Bellevue City Council in their study session on Monday, March 26th.
How can you help?
As a Seattle Humane Society supporter and an animal lover, we hope you will write to your city officials and let them know that contracting with Seattle Humane Society is a “win-win” for the animals, for their owners, for the cities and for Seattle Humane Society.
Click here for a list of council members in your city. Click here to view a proposed message you can send by mail, email, or a phone call. If you would like further details on the plan, please contact me by phone at 425-649-7556 or by email atDavid@seattlehumane.org.
Thank you for making your voices heard for the animals!
Contact the Bellevue City Council at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I thought we were finally past the negative headlines in Seattle real estate, but apparently not. Both The Seattle Times and the PI had articles about the decline in prices. The articles take a look at the latest Case-Shiller Index for January, 2012, which shows closings for December of 2011. The offers for the homes sold in December, 2011 were written a couple of months earlier than December, so the latest Case-Shiller report examines data that is 3-5 months old. The focus in these articles is the decline in real estate prices. There was a small decline in Seattle area real estate prices from January, 2011 to January, 2012.
Is this an accurate picture of today’s local real estate?
Besides the fact that the Case-Shiller report is examining older data, we have to remember to look at pricing over a 3-6 month period to see a real trend and in a very local real estate market. When you examine trends in a more localized area, you see true numbers. The numbers that affect you. Case-Shiller examines 20 metropolitan areas, including the Seattle area. However, this includes not only Seattle, but the surrounding counties: Snohomish, Pierce, and King. The counties are very different real estate animals. Aubrey Cohen said in the PI:
Pierce and Snohomish counties are weaker than King County, dragging down statistics for the metro area.
Within counties, real estate markets are different. In King County, the south is very different from the east. In East King County, in such cities such as Bellevue and Redmond or Sammamish, there are differences. Looking at the Seattle and the surrounding counties does not give the true picture of what is happening in Kirkland, Woodinville or Duvall. Case-Shiller does not tell the local story , the local real estate story that affects you and your home.
What’s really happening with real estate on Seattle’s eastside?
As March comes to a close, we’re in a “hot” market in Seattle and on the eastside in Bellevue, Redmond, Kirkland, and Issaquah. etc. This week in all of King County, there are 6,802 properties for sale. Last year at this time, 10,772 properties were for sale. The eastside is a reflection of these numbers. There is a small supply of available properties. Every day the NWMLS, Northwest Multiple Listing Service, tallies up the number of new listings and sales. On most days, pending sales outpace new listings by about one-third. Many homes are receiving multiple offers, which means their prices are, more often than, not remaining stable. There’s too much demand for housing and not enough houses for sale.
The reality is prices will not go up by much, but they also will not go down on the eastside in most areas with this lack of supply and high demand for homes. Let’s not go back to the past. Let’s focus on the present as much as we can. The Eastside real estate market is hot!
That should be the headline for today’s real estate news.
Real estate on Seattle’s eastside had a great start to 2012. Pending sales were up by 38% and there were 26.5% fewer homes on the market this year than in January, 2011! This is a recipe for a positive real estate market here in the cities of Bellevue, Kirkland, Redmond, Issaquah, Sammamish and Woodinville. In January, 2011 there were over 2300 homes for sale, in July 2011 there were 2879 homes for sale, and this past January there were just 1757 available homes! There were 1000 fewer homes for sale in January, 2012 than in July of 2011. That’s a huge difference. In the first 7 weeks of 2012, the number hasn’t change much, remaining fairly stable. Usually by the this time of the year, we’ve seen a jump in the number of homes for sale.
We expect this year to be a fast paced market for the homes that are priced well and show well. We can already see the increase in activity with one of our listings. We recently listed a home and 20 different groups came to the open house. This means there are lots of buyers out there actively looking for a home.
I also think most people feel like the worst is behind us and it is safe to go out again and buy a home. NPR had a piece with positive economic news on several fronts. Housing starts are up and unemployment is down.
The wrap up for January, 2012 Seattle-eastside real estate:
- 26% fewer homes were on the market in January this year than in 2011.
- The average time a home took to sell was 105 days.
- Sales prices on average were just 9% below the seller’s original asking price.
- 26.5% percent of the homes for sale this January received offers and sold.
As in December, the actual number of homes sold did not change much. Last year 420 homes sold. This year 453 sold. The difference? There was much more competition last year because there were 634 more homes on the market! The lack of supply definitely contributes to a faster market.
What’s happening in your neighborhood? Is the real estate market off to a better start this year?
*The numbers are a result of the real estate sales activity that happened that particular month only. In order to see a trend, it is important to look at a number of months together. One month is only indicative of that particular month’s sales.
Predictions for 2012 Seattle-Eastside Real Estate?
I’d just written a post with predictions for this year’s real estate market, when I happened to come across this post from 2 1/2 years ago with positive predictions about the 2012 Bellevue/Eastside real estate market.
Looking at the reprinted post below, how much looks like it could be true for 2012?
Rebound in Seattle/Eastside real estate? Wait until 2012.
A rebound in Seattle real estate? Yes, but not just yet, and it will probably be a small rebound, IMHO. Both Yahoo, via the Plugged in Finance blog and Businessweek had articles projecting a faster return to a more positive real estate market for Seattle than for many other parts of the country. Seattle ended up on the top 10 real estate rebound lists on both Yahoo and Businessweek.
Why a rebound in Seattle? Seattle’s chances are among the best in the country and for the same reasons the Seattle/Eastside area was so strong for most of the last two decades. It’s our economy and our geography.
First, the geography. (Bear with me for this brief geography lesson. This brings me back to my roots as a social studies teacher who loves geography.) There’s a lot of empty space east of Seattle, Bellevue and other parts of King County. This is where the foothills of the Cascade Mountain range begins. It looks like there’s lots of open space out there, and there is, but it gets pretty steep! It’s certainly not conducive to building a home. Couple this with strict land use regulations, protecting salmon streams as an example, and even less land is available for development. It’s double-edged sword. We need to maintain a healthy balance between people and nature, to maintain our wildlife, our trees, and our quality of life. But the natural elements of the Seattle area, Puget Sound, Lake Washington, and the Cascade Mountains do provide a challenge to our growth. Less land to develop=higher prices, but it won’t happen for a few years and increases should still be modest.
The economy in the Seattle area is hurting like the rest of the country. But there’s a strong economic base that will re-emerge as things start to turn around. The old stand-bys, Microsoft, Starbucks, and Boeing are struggling now, but should bounce back.
Another thing to watch is the number of homes for sale, the housing inventory. We’re still at higher numbers, but things are starting to balance out. If you look at the maps, you’ll see the Seattle real estate market of 2009 is far more balanced than the Seattle real estate market of 2008. (A balance market is when the number of homes for sale in an area is less than a 6 months supply. Yellow on the attached maps indicates a balanced market in the area.
Builders are NOT buying land right now. Over the years, builders would have huge amounts of land tied up for future building. This is no longer the case. It can take a couple of years to develop a site and to start building homes. With less land available for building and less land owned by builders and ready to be built out, existing homes will be more in demand in the future.
On yesterday’s “Morning Edition” on NPR Station, KPLU, John Maynard interviewed Richard Hagar about another issue, the influx of new people moving to Washington State, the majority of whom are moving to King County. Some of these people rent and some buy condos and homes. The in-migration of people will only help our real estate and economy over time.
The year 2012 seems like a long way off, but we’re halfway through 2009. It’s around a really long corner and it’s not going to be an easy “walk” to get there.
Now we’re at the end of the first month of 2012, what’s happening with Seattle-Eastside Real Estate? There are differences from what I wrote in 2009 that actually bode well for the Bellevue, Kirkland, Redmond, Sammamish, etc areas:
Builders are buying land now. We have a client who was approached by no less than 4 builders last year when his property was not even listed for sale. Within the same week, he received several builder solicitations. He’s not the only homeowner with land who has been approached. Builders are actually looking to beef up their inventory of land so they can build again.
The number of homes on the market has reached the lowest level since February, 2007. In all of King County there are approximately 7500 homes and condos for sale.
The geography hasn’t changed and I believe it will take millions of years before it does and the economy is still performing at a far better pace in the Seattle area than in other parts of the country. Amazon, Microsoft, and other companies are hiring.
What does your crystal ball say?
- 2011: 10,008 homes for sale
- 2010: 9726 homes for sale
- 2009: 11,363 homes for sale
The old law of supply and demand is at work here and is starting to favor sellers more than it has for years. There’s a 3.6 months supply of homes for sale in King County. This means there’s a balanced market between buyers and sellers with the market tipping towards the sellers. (Less than 3 months of inventory indicates a sellers market.)
On Seattle’s Eastside, the market is looking really strong, particularly around the Microsoft area of East Bellevue and Redmond. The number of homes for sale has dropped dramatically.
What should buyers and sellers expect in the first quarter of 2012 on Seattle’s eastside?
Fabulous interest rates.
A more positive real estate market.
The market will continue to be affected by short sales and foreclosures.
Home prices are not up nor will they go up. There is no indication on the immediate horizon that indicates anything about price increases. On the flip side, the lack of supply of homes for sale helps to stabilize the market and prices. Fewer homes means more competition, which helps pricing. The real estate market will vary neighborhood by neighborhood. One size does not fit all.
Location matters. Homes close to economic centers that offer a good commute, good schools, and good amenities will be more in demand.
Condition matters. Homes should go on the market in the best possible condition to command the best price.
Some home sales will be good deals depending on the available competition, the condition of the home, and the seller’s motivation.
Some homes will sell for full price, in a matter of days, and with multiple offers This, too, will depend on the same factors mentioned in my previous statement.
It is important to know your area. Buyers and sellers should both be aware of the competition, pricing, and condition of nearby homes to determine the value of a specific home.
Homes need to be priced right or they will not sell. I heard a seller say the other day, “I’m not going to give away the farm.” If you, as a home seller, have far more money into your home than it’s worth and you have no interest or are financially unable to price your home to meet the market, then this is not be the time to sell your home.
Gee, it sounds like a normal real estate market to me! What do you see happening in your market place?
Brooks and I just sold a home in Redmond which had multiple offers. A contract was in hand, when the very next day I received phone calls from both an agent and a prospective buyer who wanted to see the home. They were a day late. It was gone. It was sold.
Here on the eastside, the market is doing well for the good homes, but not for all homes. These are the homes that are the best of the competition in terms of price, condition, style, floor plan and location.
One reason why the good homes are selling with multiple offers:
Less than 9000 properties are for sale in King County, for the first time in years. Supply is dwindling fast. If you compare the number of homes for sale with this time last year, 3000 fewer homes are on the market. As the year heads to a close, more sellers will take their homes off the market.
I expect to see December and January be good markets for sellers because of the decrease in competition. Quality homes will go fast, and possibly with multiple offers.
Does this mean it’s a bad market for buyers? No, there are still a lot of good homes for sale. Plus, it’s the most affordable market we’ve had in the Seattle area 17 years. With the lower interest rates, a mortgage is starting to rival rental costs.
So if you snooze, you can lose. Do you homework. Determine what’s most important to you. Is it the location, is it the good floor plan or a combination of many factors? Know the prices of homes in the area. Learn what’s selling and for what price. Know your wants and needs, study the market by visiting homes, and learn what sells well in the area.
If you do all these things. You won’t snooze and lose. You’ll know which homes work best for you and which are the best values. You can then jump in and buy a good home and not lose.
Homes in East Bellevue and Redmond near Microsoft sold the fastest on Seattle’s eastside in October. Homes sold in under 2 months, at 59 days. Market time for the other eastside cities, ranged from 99-117 days or just shy of 4 months. This is a reasonable market time as it shows a more of a balanced market between buyers and sellers. It’s actually a normal market and is better for “both sides of the table.”
The odds of selling a home in the Redmond and East Bellevue areas stood at 30%, which also was the strongest absorption rate to be found on the eastside.* Chances of selling ranged from 19-26% in the other eastside cities.
The Redmond and East Bellevue area near Microsoft comes out on top for market time and a higher absorption rate because of more affordable housing, good jobs, an easier commute and good schools. With the main Microsoft campus in Redmond right on the Bellevue line, there are lots of jobs right there. In addition, there’s easier freeway and bus access to Seattle than in the outlying suburbs.
The higher price point in West Bellevue means fewer buyers can afford to live there. Affordability issues increase the market time. Longer market time here is a function of pricing, not desirability. West Bellevue is considered to be one of the best locations on the eastside.
Two of the areas had an increase in the median pricing, Redmond and East Bellevue and Redmond and Education Hill. Changes in median pricing, however, need to be looked at over a period of months since the median price for this month reflects the sales for this month only.
Why is market time important? It’s one indication of the desirability and affordability of an area. Both are key to future growth and appreciation. People like to live in convenient areas with good schools and affordable housing.
The cities below are grouped together to follow our MLS areas (multiple listing service) and shows how our statistical information is reported. How did your city do this past month?
Which Seattle-eastside city had the fastest selling homes in October, 2011?
1. Redmond/East Bellevue
The odds of selling a home were 30%.*
Median sales price increased (y-o-y)** to $435,000 from $427,000.
193 homes were for sale
A total of 58 homes sold.
Days on the market: 56
The odds of selling a home were 26%.
Median price decreased from $592,000 to $501,000.
234 homes were for sale.
A total of 60 homes sold.
Days on Market: 99
3. Redmond/Education Hill/ Carnation
The odds of selling a home were 19%
Median pricing increased from $541,000 to $580,000.
321 homes were for sale.
A total of 62 homes sold.
Days on Market: 100
The odds of selling a home were 22%.
Median price was down from $377,000 to $370,000.
540 homes were for sale.
A total of 117 homes sold.
Days on Market: 101
5. South Bellevue/Issaquah
The odds of selling a home were 24%.
Median price decreased from $580,000 to $500,000.
338 homes were for sale.
A total of 81 homes sold.
Days on market: 104
6. The plateau: Sammamish, Issaquah, North Bend, and Fall City
The odds of selling a home were 23%.
Median sales price decreased from $500,000 to $460,000.
There were 650 homes for sale.
A total of 158 homes sold.
Days on the market: 108
7. West Bellevue
The odds of selling a home were 22.5%.
Median pricing decreased from $985,000 to $878,000.
128 homes were for sale.
A total of 31 homes sold.
Days on Market: 117
If you’d like more specific information about your neighborhood or home, feel free to contact either Brooks or me.
*(The odds of selling a home in each area is a result of the number of homes for sale divided by the actual number of home sales, so if 10 out of 100 homes sold, the odds of selling would be 10/100 or 10%)
** (y-o-y) median pricing is comparing year over year numbers.