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Seattle Real Estate Blog

Local real estate news in the Greater Seattle market: Home prices and trends in Seattle, on the Eastside, and across the Puget Sound region. Written by , Managing Broker with Coldwell Banker Danforth and State Director for Washington REALTORS.

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April 22, 2014

What's Your Home in Seattle Worth? Get An Instant Property Value Online

Seattle home valuationThere is a new tool giving Seattle-area homeowners access to instant property valuations online.  While every online valuation needs some flexibility since you can't price a home without seeing it in person, this tool takes into account some of the best sources of data for the valuation.

What's My Seattle Home Worth?

The Seattle Homes Property Value Tool takes into account public sales data from the area, the sale history of the home, rent values nearby, and property detail changes to give a range of likely value for the home.  With a low range, high range, and confidence factor, a homeowner can estimate how close the tool may be to the actual price they might want to list their home for if they're thinking of selling.

Of course, if you're looking for a true valuation, you need a Realtor to do a professional review of the home, upgrades, surroundings, and current market conditions to create an accurate price, or a Comparative Market Analysis. Analyzing recent sales from the MLS will allow your Realtor to get the most up-to-date market information and price your home appropriately if you decide to put it on the market.

If you're thinking of selling, feel free to call or email us and we can put together a free CMA for you.  If you'd just like to dip your toes in the water for now, give the online valuation tool a try.

Seattle Homes Property Value Tool

See the real Seattle market.  Try The Seattle Homes App.  100% of MLS listings, updated daily.

New real estate listings in SeattleDetailed Seattle home searchWhat is my Seattle home worth?

Seattle Homes Group

© Seattle Homes Group: - Sam DeBord, Managing Broker, REALTOR®, Coldwell Banker Danforth

Director, Seattle King County Realtors - State Director, Washington Association of Realtors
Twitter | Facebook | LinkedIn | Google + | Sam (at) SeattleHome.com

Statistical source if not otherwise noted is NWMLS. The Northwest Multiple Listing Service did not compile or publish this information.

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April 15, 2014

Is There A Real Estate Bubble in Seattle? Inflation and 11% of our Home Equity Says No.

Home prices are on the rise in Seattle, and home buyers who remember the last real estate downturn well are mindful of the possibility of another drop in real estate prices in the future.  So, are we building up to another Seattle real estate bubble?

The most recent data say "No."  While home prices have certainly appreciated in the area for the past few years, much of those gains were simply due to the long-term necessity of reversing that extended real estate downturn of the late 2000s.  Price appreciation, according to historical data, is the unequivocal course of real estate for the long-term, due in large part to inflation.  

Seattle Home Prices and Active Real Estate Listings, 2004-2014

No Seattle Real Estate Bubble

Home prices in Seattle are still almost 11 percent lower than they were at the real estate peak in 2007.  August 2007's median home price for the city of Seattle was $498,000.  As of last month, our current median was at $444,000.  There's no rush to get back to those peak levels immediately, but idea that we're nearing a bubble similar to what we saw in 2007 just doesn't pan out yet.  

There's a bigger reason for this, when we look at the long-term effects of the economy.  Inflation makes general consumer prices rise, no matter if the market is hot or cold (we rarely see price deflation in the overall U.S. economy).  In 2007 we saw 2.8 percent inflation.  In 2008, as the downturn really got rolling, we hit 3.8 percent.   The worst economic year we've seen in decades saw just a 0.4 percent deflation rate, which was immediately wiped out by 1.6, 3.2, 2.1, and 1.5 percent inflation rates through 2013.

The big picture here?  We've probably seen price inflation across the country of around 15 percent since 2007.  Of course, this doesn't translate directly to home prices, but the overall takeaway should be fairly clear--home prices today are nowhere near what they were during the last real estate bubble.  The situation is vastly different, and while that in no way guarantees a healthy real estate market going forward, it certainly makes the comparisons to 2007 unwise.

See the real Seattle market.  Try The Seattle Homes App.  100% of MLS listings, updated daily.

New real estate listings in SeattleDetailed Seattle home searchWhat is my Seattle home worth?

Seattle Homes Group

© Seattle Homes Group: - Sam DeBord, Managing Broker, REALTOR®, Coldwell Banker Danforth

Director, Seattle King County Realtors - State Director, Washington Association of Realtors
Twitter | Facebook | LinkedIn | Google + | Sam (at) SeattleHome.com

Statistical source if not otherwise noted is NWMLS. The Northwest Multiple Listing Service did not compile or publish this information.

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April 9, 2014

Seattle Makes Top 10 Fastest-Growing Metros in America

The census bureau put out new data this week showing huge growth in the Seattle area.  King County had the fourth-largest population increase in the country from July 2012 to July 2013.  37,000 new residents came to the area during that period, a 1.8 percent increase.

The greater Seattle market, defined as Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue by the census bureau, increased by 57,514 new residents during the same span. That put Seattle at #10 on the list of metropolitan areas gaining the most residents.  The hot job market, reasonable housing prices, and lack of a state income tax are all factors being cited as contributing to the attractiveness of the Seattle area.

See the real Seattle market.  Try The Seattle Homes App.  100% of MLS listings, updated daily.

New real estate listings in SeattleDetailed Seattle home searchWhat is my Seattle home worth?

Seattle Homes Group

© Seattle Homes Group: - Sam DeBord, Managing Broker, REALTOR®, Coldwell Banker Danforth

Director, Seattle King County Realtors - State Director, Washington Association of Realtors
Twitter | Facebook | LinkedIn | Google + | Sam (at) SeattleHome.com

Statistical source if not otherwise noted is NWMLS. The Northwest Multiple Listing Service did not compile or publish this information.

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March 28, 2014

Property Tax Swap or Levy Duty Upshift: Solving WA's McCleary Decision on School Funding

The recent decision by Washington's Supreme Court on school funding is a complex topic. When it's broken down to its basics, however, there may be a straightforward solution to a large portion of the financial demands created by the decision.

In a nutshell, the state constitution says that Washington has a paramount duty to fund basic education. The court decided that, currently, the state is not funding basic education adequately.

To be clear: the court said that the state itself is not meeting its obligation in funding basic education. This means that the overall budget for education needs to come from the state, not other sources. While the state property tax and sales tax fund around 70 percent of the education budget, municipalities across the state pick up around 20 percent of the education tab through local levies on property taxes (the federal government covers the rest). There may be some need to increase the total funding for the state, but making sure all funds come through the state will also be a priority.

This is the focal point of the so-called "Property Tax Swap". If all of the money that local homeowners are paying in levies to their cities was instead being paid to the state and earmarked for schools, the education budget could be funded with those same dollars, but it would be the state supplying the funds it is constitutionally required to provide. It's essentially a levy duty upshift--putting the responsibility of schools back to the state venue where it was meant to be.

It sounds a bit simplistic, but sometimes that's the way accounting works. The state can make up a large portion of its lacking education budget by simply taking in a larger state school levy (increasing the current rate on the school levy portion of the property tax), while reducing local school levies by limiting the local rates charged. Statewide, the plan is revenue neutral. There is no additional tax revenue coming from taxpayers statewide as a group, or going to schools--there's just a larger amount of the money coming from the state to the schools.

There are some side effects that could create dissension. Projections show property owners in wealthier counties or school districts paying more in property taxes than they had before, and vice-versa for lower-income districts. While there is some resistance to that idea, it answers another part of the court's concern, which is the current uneven distribution of state education funds. The idea has bi-partisan support, as it was first posited by Democrat Ross Hunter, and championed by former Attorney General Rob McKenna, a Republican, during his campaign for Governor. The widespread support is due to the more reliable long-term funding mechanism for education that doesn't rely on individual districts renewing their local levies every few years.

Just as importantly, it minimizes the funding gap that now exists in the state's education budget. While there are many other tough decisions to be made in funding the rest of the education budget and satisfying the Supreme Court based on the McCleary decision, this is one fairly painless fix with a big payoff. Taxpayers, on the whole, pay nothing more, and that's preferable to across-the-board tax hikes to nearly any voter.

REALTOR® groups generally approve of the idea. While we oppose most property tax increases, we support sensible property tax rates that build quality schools and infrastructure. Good schools make for good communities, which is why a predictable long-term source of funding is in the best interest of the real estate industry as well as every individual in the state. Maintaining the current funding source for schools, while reducing the need for state government to increase other taxes, is good for Washington schools and for Washington businesses.

See the real Seattle market.  Try The Seattle Homes App.  100% of MLS listings, updated daily.

New real estate listings in SeattleDetailed Seattle home searchWhat is my Seattle home worth?

The Seattle Homes Group

© The Seattle Homes Group: - Sam DeBord, Managing Broker, Realtor

Director, Seattle King County Realtors
State Director, Washington Association of Realtors

Coldwell Banker Seattle: Coldwell Banker Danforth & Associates
Twitter | Facebook | LinkedIn | Google + | Sam (at) SeattleHome.com

Source:  NWMLS Stats - The Northwest Multiple Listing Service did not compile or publish this information.

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March 22, 2014

Open House in Queen Anne Today - 2429 1st Ave N, Seattle WA 98109

We'll be open from 1-4pm today and tomorrow.  Come by and see a beautifully-crafted contemporary home with the traditional style to fit the historic Queen Anne neighborhood.

Click here for the full MLS listing for the home

Current list price:  $1,300,000

2429 1st Ave N front of houseExperience the sophisticated style of this custom-built Queen Anne residence. Natural surroundings complement the traditional Northwest style of the home. High-end finishes give a rich texture to the open layout. Relax in your spacious master suite, or converse with friends on the sun deck. Walk to nearby shopping, or entertain at home in the spacious kitchen and dining rooms. With an entire suite of amenities downstairs, this home is perfect for large groups of guests, or quiet relaxation.

---


The entire top floor of this home is the master suite, with an expansive bedroom and bath, plus a private balcony, walk-in closet, and laundry room.  Limestone, glass, and tile keep the bathroom luxurious and bright.

The main floor is perfect for entertaining, with an open kitchen, formal dining space, and comfortable living room.  Walk out the french doors to the sun deck on top of the garage, or out to the lush gardens in the full fenced from yard.  Quarter-sawn white oak floors and custom box beams give a warm, traditional feel to the open spaces.

Listing: 2429 1st Ave N Seatle WA 98109Downstairs is perfect for guests, with two bedrooms, a kitchen, a full bath and a half bath, as well as a large family room and utility hookups.  

Live in the comfort of contemporary construction with the style of a traditional home that fits the historic Queen Anne neighborhood.

Built in 2008 - 3 bedrooms, 2 full baths, 2 half baths, 3,240 square feet - MLS 607613

Call Sam DeBord for a showing or any additional information:  206-658-3225 

See the real Seattle market.  Try The Seattle Homes App.  100% of MLS listings, updated daily.

New real estate listings in SeattleDetailed Seattle home searchWhat is my Seattle home worth?

The Seattle Homes Group

© The Seattle Homes Group: - Sam DeBord, Managing Broker, Realtor

Director, Seattle King County Realtors
State Director, Washington Association of Realtors

Coldwell Banker Seattle: Coldwell Banker Danforth & Associates
Twitter | Facebook | LinkedIn | Google + | Sam (at) SeattleHome.com

Source:  NWMLS Stats - The Northwest Multiple Listing Service did not compile or publish this information.

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March 20, 2014

2429 1st Ave N Seattle WA 98109 - For Sale

2429 1st Ave N, Seattle WA 98109

Just Listed:  Custom-built home at the top of Queen Anne hill 

Click here for the full MLS listing for the home

Current list price:  $1,250,000

2429 1st Ave N front of houseExperience the sophisticated style of this custom-built Queen Anne residence. Natural surroundings complement the traditional Northwest style of the home. High-end finishes give a rich texture to the open layout. Relax in your spacious master suite, or converse with friends on the sun deck. Walk to nearby shopping, or entertain at home in the spacious kitchen and dining rooms. With an entire suite of amenities downstairs, this home is perfect for large groups of guests, or quiet relaxation.

---


The entire top floor of this home is the master suite, with an expansive bedroom and bath, plus a private balcony, walk-in closet, and laundry room.  Limestone, glass, and tile keep the bathroom luxurious and bright.

The main floor is perfect for entertaining, with an open kitchen, formal dining space, and comfortable living room.  Walk out the french doors to the sun deck on top of the garage, or out to the lush gardens in the full fenced from yard.  Quarter-sawn white oak floors and custom box beams give a warm, traditional feel to the open spaces.

Listing: 2429 1st Ave N Seatle WA 98109Downstairs is perfect for guests, with two bedrooms, a kitchen, a full bath and a half bath, as well as a large family room and utility hookups.  

Live in the comfort of contemporary construction with the style of a traditional home that fits the historic Queen Anne neighborhood.

Built in 2008 - 3 bedrooms, 2 full baths, 2 half baths, 3,240 square feet - MLS 607613

Call Sam DeBord for a showing or any additional information:  206-658-3225 

 

See the real Seattle market.  Try The Seattle Homes App.  100% of MLS listings, updated daily.

New real estate listings in SeattleDetailed Seattle home searchWhat is my Seattle home worth?

The Seattle Homes Group

© The Seattle Homes Group: - Sam DeBord, Managing Broker, Realtor

Director, Seattle King County Realtors
State Director, Washington Association of Realtors

Coldwell Banker Seattle: Coldwell Banker Danforth & Associates
Twitter | Facebook | LinkedIn | Google + | Sam (at) SeattleHome.com

Source:  NWMLS Stats - The Northwest Multiple Listing Service did not compile or publish this information.

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March 3, 2014

Report: Seattle Real Estate Prices To Rise 12% by 2015, 18% by 2018

Seattle homesThe Demand Institute recently did a nationwide study on home prices and made forecasts for the next few years.  While the outlook for the country is quite different depending on your location, the Seattle market looks to fare very well in the near future.

The report projected a 12 percent rise in Seattle real estate prices over the next two years.  Over the next four years we should be seeing an 18 percent increase in home values.  Those numbers represent just one more research outlet viewing real estate as a healthy investment in our market.

The metro region studied in this case was the Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue market.  While Seattle and Bellevue usually track in a similar fashion, Tacoma can be an outlier and is often less reliable when added to a "Seattle market study".  Either way, market reports for the Puget Sound region all seem to be pointing upward.  

See the real Seattle market.  Try The Seattle Homes App.  100% of MLS listings, updated daily.

New real estate listings in SeattleDetailed Seattle home searchWhat is my Seattle home worth?

The Seattle Homes Group

© The Seattle Homes Group: - Sam DeBord, Managing Broker, Realtor

Director, Seattle King County Realtors
State Director, Washington Association of Realtors

Coldwell Banker Seattle: Coldwell Banker Danforth & Associates
Twitter | Facebook | LinkedIn | Google + | Sam (at) SeattleHome.com

Source:  NWMLS Stats - The Northwest Multiple Listing Service did not compile or publish this information.

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Feb. 26, 2014

Why You Can't Find That Home For Sale on Zillow or Trulia

I talk with home buyers and sellers every day.  Most are in the initial stages of deciding if the market is right for them.  They're searching on Google for real estate sites with local home listings and prices.  The first search results they receive are often big, national websites that aggregate listings and look great.

These usually include sites like Zillow and Trulia.  While consumers gravitate to these sites because of the high-end user experience, very few realize that they're missing a huge portion of the market.  It seems counter-intuitive, but for all of the programming horsepower of the largest nationwide sites, there are actually far more timely and accurate listings on the average real estate agent's site than there are on these monstrous property portals.

Zillow Trulia Seattle HomesBig Portals Have Fewer Real Listings, More Duplicates and Expireds

To cite just one example, a recent study compared agent websites to portals in the Seattle market.  While agent websites with a regular MLS feed had 100% of the agent-listed homes available, on that same day, Zillow had just 72% available on their website.  Trulia only had 63% of those same homes.  Consumers searching on these sites for homes were literally missing out on 30% or more of the market.

How can this be?  It all comes down to where real estate listings are created and how they're distributed.  

Agent Websites Receive Direct Feeds While Portals Patch Together Secondary Sources

Real estate agents create and enter their "for sale" listings into the local MLS database.  Those listings are available for the public to see, the very same day, on the website of every real estate agent that signs up for the listing feed.  It's fairly simple.  The day the listing goes live, it shows up on the agents' websites, and the day it's sold, it goes away.  There are no outdated listings or duplicates, just the raw list of homes for sale, straight from the MLS.

With a big property portal, on the other hand, there are a multitude of different sources being pulled in to attempt to construct a full market picture.  Some agents send their listings directly to the portal, some brokers do it for them, some indirect feeds are pulled in, and some listings are just never submitted to the portal at all.  

The inefficient process creates delays in the display of new home listings, and a backlog of sold and expired listings that remain on the portal websites long after they should be gone.  The inventory of listings on a portal site balloons with outdated listings, while the newest homes often show up days or weeks after they've already been on the market.

Serious Home Buyers And Sellers Are Using Their Agents' Websites For Listings

While it's clear why a consumer would enjoy browsing homes on a beautifully-designed portal website, it's also important that real home buyers and sellers are informed about their choices.  If you're truly looking to buy a home, or to assess your chances of selling, you need to see the entire market picture to make a good decision.  Portal websites' beautiful graphics and charts notwithstanding, inaccurate data in an attractive format will not overcome missing out on that perfect home, nor will it help you find the right set of comparable homes to make a good decision for your sale.

So, if you enjoy browsing real estate on a national portal's website, just remember that while the local information and statistics are interesting, the listing portion of the site is merely an advertising platform, not the full picture of homes for sale.  If you're a serious buyer or seller, use an agent's website.  Whether it's SeattleHome.com, SeattleCondo.com, or your favorite local REALTOR®'s site, you'll feel much more secure knowing you can see that perfect home on the first day it's available.  In a market where many homes are selling within a week, you'll never miss out because you were looking in the wrong location.

* By the way--apps have the same problem.  See the real Seattle market.  Try The Seattle Homes App.  100% of MLS listings, updated daily.

New real estate listings in SeattleDetailed Seattle home searchWhat is my Seattle home worth?

Seattle Homes Group

© Seattle Homes Group: - Sam DeBord, Managing Broker, REALTOR®, Coldwell Banker Danforth

Director, Seattle King County Realtors - State Director, Washington Association of Realtors
Twitter | Facebook | LinkedIn | Google + | Sam (at) SeattleHome.com

Statistical source if not otherwise noted is NWMLS. The Northwest Multiple Listing Service did not compile or publish this information.

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Feb. 22, 2014

The Seattle Homes Group - New Name, Same Company

As our team has continued to expand over the past few years, we've taken on new roles and gained significantly more exposure.  While Brian and I have always sold real estate under the banner of Coldwell Banker and our websites, SeattleHome.com and SeattleCondo.com, we feel like it's time to give greater recognition to the real estate agents who we work with.

We've rebranded our team as Seattle Homes Group.  Our local agents across the Puget Sound region are a huge part of our success, and they are the reason we can service so many buyers and sellers with local neighborhood knowledge, superior professionalism, and plenty of experience.

We will continue to serve you with the same level of quality you've always experienced, and are happy to chat with you any time, even if you're not ready to buy or sell yet.   If you're a first time buyer looking for a condo in Seattle, or a waterfront homeowner on the Eastside, our team has sold every kind of property in the Greater Seattle market.  Whether it's Brian, myself, or one of our neighborhood specialists, give us a call, send us an email, or text us and we'll get you in touch with the right person to make your home purchase or sale successful and stress-free.

- Sam

 

New real estate listings in SeattleDetailed Seattle home searchWhat is my Seattle home worth?

 

© Seattle Homes Group: - Sam DeBord, Managing Broker, Realtor

Director, Seattle King County Realtors
State Director, Washington Association of Realtors

Coldwell Banker Seattle: Coldwell Banker Danforth & Associates
Twitter | Facebook | LinkedIn | Google + | Sam (at) SeattleHome.com

Source:  NWMLS Stats - The Northwest Multiple Listing Service did not compile or publish this information.

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Feb. 19, 2014

Chinese Real Estate Rush to Accelerate in Seattle? Canada Cuts Off "Buy a Green Card" Immigration Policy

Vancouver, British Columbia has been a favorite international destination of Chinese real estate investors for decades.  Immigration laws in Canada have allowed for wealthy foreign investors to "buy" citizenship through a direct investment in the domestic economy, and Vancouver was the poster child for Asian investment.

That investment appeal is now shifting South toward Seattle, as Canada's immigration policies have abruptly changed this year and altered the benefits of buying in these two nearby cities.  Canada has ended their policy of granting citizenship to foreign investors, while the United States has recently streamlined its investment program, allowing for an easier route to a "green card" for foreigners.

The U.S.'s EB-5 program has been in existence for years, but its application and review process had previously been painstakingly slow.  Created to generate job growth, its applications numbered only in the hundreds per year and investors were wary of being tied up in bureaucracy.  Recent changes to the program promise to cure those bottlenecks, though, and as applications are now rising into the thousands per year, it appears that the timing couldn't be better with the change in international interest.

In the simplest terms, the EB-5 requires foreign investors to:

  • Make a $1,000,000 investment
  • Create or preserve 10 jobs locally

There are some exceptions, but these rules apply to most applicants.  The applicants receive in return:

  • Conditional permanent resident visas for applicant and dependents
  • 2 years to prove the creation of those jobs and the investment

As thousands of applications pour in every year now, the numbers will likely balloon as Chinese investment shifts to the Puget Sound region.  Real estate prices are significantly lower in Seattle than they are in Vancouver, and the ability to buy a luxury home, get a world-class education for your children, and live in a healthy, beautiful, and safe area like Greater Seattle is unmatched.  Foreign home buyers on the Eastside already make up a significant portion of the buying market today.  The trend will likely accelerate moving forward if the immigration policies of the two countries continue on their current courses.

 

New real estate listings in SeattleDetailed Seattle home searchWhat is my Seattle home worth?

 

© The Seattle Homes Group: - Sam DeBord, Managing Broker, Realtor

Director, Seattle King County Realtors
State Director, Washington Association of Realtors

Coldwell Banker Seattle: Coldwell Banker Danforth & Associates
Twitter | Facebook | LinkedIn | Google + | Sam (at) SeattleHome.com

Source:  NWMLS Stats - The Northwest Multiple Listing Service did not compile or publish this information.

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