How Was The Real Estate Market In Bellevue, Kirkland, Redmond, and Other Eastside Cities At The Start of 2012?
There’s a lot of “red” on the above Seattle area real estate map! There’s more “red” than we’ve seen in years, and I mean years. What does the “red” mean? It means it’s a seller’s market. The homes that are in the “red” areas sell in less than 3 months on average. In January, most of the eastside was a seller’s market. Mercer Island, West Bellevue, and Kirkland did not quite reach the threshold of a seller’s market, but Kirkland was almost there. The real estate markets in these areas were more evenly balanced between the buyers and sellers as homes sold on average within 3-6 months.
This real estate market is pretty exciting to see after the tough markets of the last few years. But what this really means is that we have a more normal market on Seattle’s eastside. The good homes that are priced right and show well are the homes that are selling quickly and bringing the average market time down. There are and still will be homes that aren’t priced well or don’t show well which will sit on the market and take longer to sell.
The chance of a home selling in the different eastside cities ranged from 15-30%. West Bellevue had the fewest sales when compared to the number of available homes, while the plateau cities of Sammamish, North Bend, and Fall City saw almost a third of the homes sell in one month!
But King County is a big place, and the real-estate market isn’t the same in SeaTac as it is in Sammamish.
A closer look at the statistics reveals significant variations from neighborhood to neighborhood.
It’s good to see the Times recognizing the neighborhood differences, since too many times the media publishes data, which covers too broad an area. This does not give an accurate picture of the real estate data.
How was real estate market in your Seattle-Eastside city in January, 2012?
1. The plateau: Sammamish, Issaquah, North Bend, and Fall City
The odds of selling a home were 30%
Median sales price decreased from $496,000 to $465,000 (y-o-y)**
There were 469 homes for sale
A total of 86 homes sold
Days on the market: 123
2. South Bellevue/Issaquah
The odds of selling a home were 28%
Median price decreased from $575,000 to $484,000
226 homes were for sale
A total of 35 homes sold
Days on market: 90
The odds of selling a home were 27%
Median sales price decreased from $534,000 to $522,000
155 homes were for sale
A total of 34 homes sold
Days on Market: 62
4. Redmond/East Bellevue
The odds of selling a home were 26%
Median sales price increased from $380,000 to $460,000
125 homes were for sale
A total of 32 homes sold
Days on the market: 94
5. Woodinville/Bothell/Kenmore/Duvall/North Kirkland
The odds of selling a home were 25%
Median sales price decreased from $390,000 to $344,000
387 homes were for sale
A total of 64 homes sold
Days on Market: 115
6. Redmond/Education Hill/ Carnation
The odds of selling a home were 21%
Median sales price decreased from $522,000 to $483,000
193 homes were for sale
A total of 30 homes sold
Days on Market: 112
5. West Bellevue
The odds of selling a home were 15%.
Median sales price increased from $650,000 to $1,230,000
118 homes were for sale
A total of 18 homes sold
Days on Market: 86
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.
My last post focused on distressed sales in the counties around Seattle, a huge area. This post focuses on the eastside cities across Lake Washington from Seattle.
The hardest hit area for distressed property sales on Seattle’s eastside is what we Realtors call area 600 (see bottom of the chart above) which encompasses north Kirkland, Juanita, Duvall, Woodinville, Bothell, and Kenmore. Although all of these communities are fairly close to the eastside employment centers, the commute can be longer for many people. Parts of Woodinville and Duvall are still fairly rural in nature. Rural areas around Seattle have been hit harder with the decline in the real estate market. The higher number of distressed sales in these areas fits this model. More people want to live closer to work these days.
The area with the fewest number of distressed home sales was Mercer Island (area 510). Mercer Island is also one of the more expensive eastside cities. Situated between the eastside communities and downtown Seattle, it’s a desirable place to live. It’s a bedroom community located near the top economic centers with top notch schools and an easy commute to Seattle and the eastside.
Kirkland (area 560) is a very desirable location because it has good highway access, is close to jobs, and has a good school system. But the city has the second highest rate of distressed sales, which is surprising. The community encompasses a variety of housing styles and prices.from multi-million dollar waterfront homes to starter homes in the $200,000+ range.
The other eastside cities of Bellevue, Sammamish, Issaquah, and the closer in neighborhoods of Redmond, near Microsoft, had distressed sales ranging from 16-19% of the total real estate sales in the third quarter of 2011.
The theme here as in the last post is close-in locations near jobs is the better place to be. The eastside cities that fit this bill had the least amount of distressed sales.
There are hungry people on the eastside that need you! There’s an easy way for you to help. This weekend marks the start of the Eastside Month of Concern for the Hungry. Many eastside supermarkets will have volunteers from the Emergency Feeding Program standing by to collect food from shoppers. Please help donate all that you can so we can make this annual program successful and feed those who are in need.
If you can’t make it to the supermarket this weekend, there will be other collection days in different eastside areas on Saturdays in October. You can also donate throughout the month at a number of collection sites all over the eastside. There’s also a list of the most needed items. Interested in volunteering your time to help out? Here’s where you can sign up.
Thanks for your help!
I played tour guide and tourist in Seattle and on the eastside last weekend. I had family visiting me who had never been out to the Northwest. So I donned by tour guide guise and off we went. It was the perfect time to do this as the weather was just gorgeous and lots of fun “stuff’ was happening.
Next we paid a visit to Pike Place Market which, I’m willing to bet, was filled with people sightseeing around Seattle before they boarded one of those big ships to Alaska. It was mobbed, but still it was wonderful to be there. We ended up having a great lunch of gazpacho soup along with some take-out seafood appetizers. I had Alaskan King Crab, which was to die for! I also went to one of my favorite bakeries for dessert, 3 Girls Bakery, and had one of their rugula. We took home a whole wheat hazelnut-currant bread. All in all it was a pretty “tasty’ experience.
Check out these $400 truffles! Would you pay that much for imported French truffles? Amazing.
After seeing all the salmon for sale at the market, we finished our day with a tour of the Ballard Locks, which were built 100 years ago to accommodate boats moving from Puget Sound to the Lake Washington Ship Canal. It’s fascinating to see the locks move the ships between the two areas. There’s also a fish ladder where you can view the salmon heading upstream to spawn and die. These fish are amazing to watch as they struggle against the tide, so to speak. The locks are one of my favorite places to visit in Seattle.
On Sunday, we ventured out to the king of art fairs, The Bellevue Museum Art Fair, which is held in the parking garage of the mall. I know that sounds strange, but after 25 years of attending the fair, I’ve gotten used to the fact that it’s in a parking garage. (It’s so Bellevue!). There’s terrific art, crafts, clothing, jewelry, sculpture, you name it, at this fair. It’s hard to find a better art fair anywhere.
The fair also included some live performers.
There’s so much going on in the Seattle area and on the eastside in the summer. If the weather cooperates, as it did last weekend, it’s a fabulous place to visit. What are some of your favorite places to take visiting friends and family?
But most importantly, would you pay $400 to buy truffles?
The last few weeks I’ve spent a lot of time helping soon-to-be home sellers get their homes ready for the market. I’ve spent time creating lists of cosmetic/structural items that need to be done to make a home market ready. I’ve recommended reliable contractors. I’ve helped to pick out paint colors, carpets, tile, vinyl, light fixtures, and then some, so people can do the updates necessary to get their home sold.
My car is on auto-pilot and assumes its heading to the Lowe’s or Home Depot in Bellevue each day!
Sometimes I think I should add interior decorator and project manager to my title. My business card says I’m a Realtor, but more often than not, I’m a decorator/project manager.
Seriously, this is a big part of my job and is one of the most important ways I can help sellers make the most money when selling a home. Recently, I’ve written some posts about how there’s a “hot” market and a “not” market on Seattle’s eastside. The homes that make it into the “hot” market are those that have been updated, staged, and photographed and look their best when out there on the market. These homes are market ready and look fabulous from day one. Nobody gets in to see these homes until the list of work is completed.
For most people, it’s work to get to the point where they are in the “hot” category. Most home sellers need a few weeks or months to get ready to sell. Some people even call me a year ahead, which is smart move. These people can then take their time to get their home ready. There’s no rush. But more often than not, I get the call a few weeks or months before the move. I’m okay with that time frame, but are you? Can you get your home ready for the market in just weeks or months?
Pick up the phone and call if you’re thinking of selling in the next year and want to be one of the “hot” homes.
It’s simple. Mix one part law of supply and demand; one part the more positive economy; and one part more ready, willing, and able buyers. Mix with more realistic pricing that meets the market demand. You now have the well priced homes selling and the most positive real estate market the eastside has had since mid 2007.
The supply of King homes and condos, the number of those for sale, is shown above. This week, near the end of the first quarter of 2011, there are about 2000 less homes and condos for sale in King County than last year at this time. This means there are 16% less homes and condos for sale. That’s a big difference. It’s noticeable in a lot of neighborhoods. It’s noticeable to a lot of buyers.
The eastside statistics mirror those in the county. There are pockets on the eastside where home sales are popping, because there are only a few really great homes that come on the market. I’ve seen this happen in different price ranges and different cities all over the eastside, including Bellevue, Kirkland, and Sammamish.
Supply is key to the more positive eastside real estate market. With less supply out there and more homes selling (other than March and April of 2010, which was the result of the tax credit) than any other month in a few years, this is a stronger real estate market.
With less supply, it’s a faster paced market. It’s happening in many eastside neighborhoods, but not all. It’s happening with some homes, but not all. With less to choose from, the better valued homes are selling more quickly. There are some great homes that I’ve previewed or shown over the last month and I can almost tell which homes will be sold inside of a week or two. Almost everyday we see the number of pending sales outstrip the number of new listings coming on the market. And yes, there are homes still sitting on the market for a long time, are distressed sales or homes that don’t sell. Despite this, there’s a big difference in the eastside real estate market.
Now I know you’re going to say this is not what you’re reading in the media. Here’s the latest real estate article in The Seattle Times continuing with the same doom and gloom report about the real estate market. From the this article:
In the Seattle metropolitan area, which includes King, Snohomish and Pierce counties, prices are back where they were in September 2004, according to Case-Shiller.
Two things to consider when evaluating the above statement. The first is Case-Shiller lumps King County statistics in with Pierce and Snohomish Counties. King County has a far more positive economy than the other two counties. Seattle and Bellevue, the economic hubs of the region are both in King County. The number of distressed properties is much smaller in King County than elsewhere in the region.
The second thing to remember is Case-Shiller is reporting on the past few months, not what’s happening in the market today.
I agree with Case-Shiller regarding home values, although home values may not be quite as low as 2004 pricing in some areas. Prices are down and probably will stay at these levels for a while. I don’t anticipate prices going up any time soon.
But I do see a stronger market in many eastside neighborhoods. People are ready to move on, literally, and they’re tired of waiting. Buyers are ready to buy and more sellers are pricing their homes to meet the current market demand. All in all, right now the Seattle-eastside has the best real estate market it’s had since 2007. It’s not the old real estate market of the past, but it’s a good, realistic market.
There are two different real estate markets on Seattle’s eastside. I didn’t make this up. I heard this from several buyers at an open house this past weekend.
I held an open house at a home which I knew would attract buyers. It’s new on the market, shows fabulously, has little competition, and is in a great Kirkland location. I had this conversation with several different buyers, which prompted me to write this post. They told me there were a lot of homes sitting on the market and then there were the other homes. These are the great ones. The great ones sold quickly. Hence, there are two real estate markets out there on Seattle’ eastside.
Real Estate Market #1- This market is filled with the best homes. They’re priced well, show beautifully with minimal work needing to be done, and sell in less than a week. These are the homes where it makes sense to hold a public open house. Because the home shows so well, when the buyers find it online, they come specifically to see the home. They’re already excited before they come through the door. You get “real” buyers who are checking the house out as a potential buy, not just neighbors and “lookie loos.”
Real Estate Market #2 This market is filled with homes that are the good, and the not so good. They aren’t priced well or don’t show well. Most of these homes eventually sell, although some do not. When they do sell, it’s often after one or two price reductions. Distressed home sales, the homes that are short sales or bank owned properties, are part of this group of homes. But this market isn’t filled with just distressed sellers. It includes those homes which may not have been maintained well, are not updated, are overpriced or fit all of these labels. If a home doesn’t show well, have professional photos, and isn’t priced well, it will be part of real estate market #2.
If you want your home to be part of real estate market #1, prepare your home properly for sale. This means doing the updating you’ve wanted to do but never had time to get around to doing. Take out the blue flowered vinyl in your bath. Change your carpet so it’s no longer green. It means having your maintenance items done. Get your furnace serviced, the drainage issues resolved, your water heater checked, and your roof in good shape. Don’t go on the market until these items are done. Then make sure your home has professional photos, staging, a video, and a great price tag. There’s a very good chance your home will sell quickly, if it meets all these criteria.
Otherwise, your home will be in real estate market #2 and you’re going to have the “for sale” sign in your yard for a long time.
Despite what’s broadcast by the media, there are homes selling in a flash. Buyers are seeing this in the eastside real estate market. These homes fit real estate market #1. Buyers are in a great position to know what’s really happening with homes for sale because they’re out there on the eastside. They’re living it everyday as I’m doing. These buyers are in the real estate market trenches with me.
It’s too bad the media only reports on real estate market #2 and hasn’t gotten in the trenches with us to see the full picture.
Attention all you Seattle eastsiders: Have a Very Merry “Green” Holiday!
Give a tote bag or sign someone up for weekly home deliveries of local produce. Full Circle Farms has terrific produce available.
Can you re-use a potato chip bag to wrap presents? Check this video out to find some interesting sources for wrapping presents.
Is it better to have a natural or artificial tree? Which is better for the environment?
And if all else fails for inspiration, The Examiner has a compilation of holiday “green” sites.
Does Microsoft still have a positive affect on Seattle’s eastside? Yes! Microsoft still has a huge impact on the eastside.
The map below shows only some of the eastside campuses:
Recently, the news has focused more on layoffs. There are a number of people who have been laid off and are struggling, which is truly unfortunate. This post is not an attempt to minimize what those who are without jobs are going through, but to focus on the strong influence Microsoft still has on Seattle’s eastside.
There’s little said about the increase in the number of Microsofties on Seattle’s eastside since 2007. There are now over 40,000 employees in the area. Back in 2007, there were just over 35,000. Imagine the impact these additional 5,000 employees and their families have on the eastside economy and quality of life. Imagine the impact of 40,000 people on the local economy. Since 2007, these five thousand more people are renting or buying homes, going out to eat, buying goods at stores and using local services.
Microsoft has had a huge impact on the real estate in the surrounding neighborhoods. The Bellevue and Redmond neighborhoods near Microsoft have consistently performed better than any other area on Seattle’s eastside. The number of homes that sell compared to the number that are for sale, the absorption rate, is almost always the strongest on the eastside. Most every month of the past few years, the Microsoft area of Redmond and Bellevue has had more homes selling when compared to the number for sale.
Does this make this area more expensive?
No, not by a long shot. The good news is there’s been a huge benefit to the whole eastside because of Microsoft and there are homes in most price ranges in the area.
The least expensive home in Bellevue is on the market for $227,000. The most expensive Bellevue home is a waterfront property on Lake Sammamish for $4,250,000. Most of the homes in the area are priced under $500,000. Most homes for sale right now, almost 1/2, fall into the $300-500,000 price range.
These 40,000 jobs help keep our economy and our real estate market going, even with the lay offs. The real estate market is still challenging, but homes are still selling. Clearly, the competition is tougher for the sellers right now as pricing and condition are everything. This very realistic real estate market should continue for a year or so.
The eastside, particularly near Microsoft, should fare better than many other parts of the country as the economy improves. People will continue to move in and out of the area for jobs.
What do you think?