AS BIG TECH’S EASTSIDE PRESENCE EXPANDS, BELLEVUE PREPS FOR MORE COMMUTERS

Back then, planners designed wide six-lane arterials meant to move vehicles fast. The road grid creates 600-foot-wide superblocks on former farmland.

Now, tremendous growth is straining transportation. Traffic stacks up during afternoon commutes, and Interstate 405 slows to a crawl.

As Amazon, Microsoft, Google, and others grow their Eastside workforces, City staff anticipate a net gain of roughly 18,000 downtown jobs by 2025, joining the more than 52,000 people who currently work in the city core.

Roughly translated, this would boost employment higher than the current numbers in Seattle’s busy South Lake Union.

But local leaders acknowledge remaking a car-dominated landscape doesn’t happen overnight. The City aims to cut the share of downtown commuters who drive alone to work to about one-third by 2035, a reversal of today’s pattern where more than two-thirds drive alone.

To do this, they’re planning for trains, buses, bicycles, walking, vanpools — and maybe even autonomous vehicles — to keep people moving.

In past years, the Bellevue City Council voted to create a safer walking network by converting Sixth Street to a 60-foot-wide, tree-lined walking corridor and shortening a street to complete its circular Downtown Park.

Instead of narrowing six- and seven-lane streets with so-called road diets, Bellevue’s approach to reducing car-pedestrian conflicts relies on skybridges around Bellevue Square, and altering some traffic signals to give walkers a head start at intersections. Smaller streets include walker-activated amber flashers.

Large employers and city officials are also counting on the $3.7 billion Sound Transit East Link light-rail line — projected to serve 50,000 daily passengers when it opens in 2023 — to handle many of the new commutes.

New bike lanes on 108th Avenue Northeast serve a trickle of riders for now. More bike lanes are planned on Main Street. Just east of I-405, the 42 miles of abandoned BNSF railroad tracks are being redeveloped for bicycle riders and pedestrians as Eastrail, spanning from Snohomish to Renton.

Bellevue’s growth spurt won’t necessarily translate into massive public-transit ridership, however, at least in the short term. Private transit is adapting faster.

With aid from a $100 million federal loan, the city has created or widened 11 streets between Wilburton and the Spring District east of I-405 where REI’s headquarters, Facebook and other companies are locating.

That follows citywide spending of $5.5 million to equip 197 intersections with adaptive signals that continually re-time to move clusters of approaching vehicles.

And the permit paperwork for the planned 43-story Amazon tower shows 1,175 underground parking stalls (nearly double the 632 spaces in the current parking garage that this new tower will replace).

On I-405, the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) will build an express toll lane each direction between Renton and Bellevue, to open in 2024, along with exit-only lanes to clear departing drivers off the mainline.

The existing carpool lanes will be converted to a second toll lane each way. Sound Transit will follow with new bus-rapid transit and park-and-ride lots.

Finally, in perhaps its most lofty vision yet, The Grand Connection is a sprawling pedestrian and cyclist pathway that would stretch between Meydenbauer Bay Park on the west, through Main Street and downtown, and across the freeway to Eastrail. With a bridge or park lid above I-405, just south of the nearly completed Sound Transit rail bridge, design concepts show amphitheater steps, sculptures and a row of ginkgo trees.

Unlike the longer Burke-Gilman Trail in Seattle, the Grand Connection would encourage people to linger at cafes and parks. As a traffic-free shortcut, it would reduce the need to drive and park at downtown spots.

There’s no funding yet. Costs vary based on whether Bellevue builds a full park like Mercer Island has over I-90, or a thin bridge, for around $130 million.

A version of this article was originally posted on U.S. News by Michelle Baruchman

Posted on January 19, 2020 at 3:06 am
Kim Gervasoni | Category: Local Market News | Tagged , , ,

LOCAL MARKET UPDATE – JANUARY 2020

Homes sold briskly on the Eastside in December in all categories, including the luxury market. The number of listings were down nearly 50% from a year ago and the area had under a month of available inventory. That lack of inventory helped bump the median price of a single-family home up 4% from a year ago to $949,000, which is a $49,000 increase from November.  New large scale developments and a strong economic forecast indicate that the housing market will remain healthy.

VIEW FULL EASTSIDE REPORT

Posted on January 10, 2020 at 3:11 am
Kim Gervasoni | Category: Local Market Update | Tagged , , ,

SUPPORTING OUR COMMUNITY: WINDERMERE EASTSIDE FOUNDATION GIVES OVER $235,000 TO EASTSIDE NON-PROFITS

Take a look below to learn more about these important local organizations.

This non-profit creates lasting life changes for homeless moms and their kids. Acres of Diamonds provides a safe place to recover, rebuild, and break the cycles of addiction, poverty and abuse. Their structured living plan, on-site counseling, parenting support and life-skill training helps moms to re-establish their lives with purpose, confidence, and support.

The Windermere Foundation’s grant will help provide women and children transitional housing and support programs to rebuild lives from domestic and/or substance abuse.

Learn more: https://www.acresofdiamonds.org/

This community-based, philanthropic program make a positive difference in the lives of children and adults touched by hardship or violence. The Assistance League of the Eastside is an all-volunteer nonprofit organization that puts caring and commitment into action through several impactful programs.

This grant will go to the Operation School Bell program that provides basic items of clothing to low-income students, grades K-12.

Learn more: https://www.aleastside.org/

This highly regarded organization is devoted to helping families on the Eastside. Attain Housing offers opportunities for self-sufficiency and a strong support network in addition to affordable and stable housing. Since 1989, they have helped countless families in Eastside communities move away from homelessness and toward a stable and comfortable lifestyle.

This grant will help provide affordable housing to homeless families with children as well as case management for setting financial and social goals.

Learn more: http://www.attainhousing.org/

This impactful organization provides free, easy-to-make meals each Friday for low-income children so they have food to eat over the weekend. Backpack Meals for Kids serves the nearly 200 homeless children in Bellevue. For too many children in the Bellevue Public Schools, the only meals available to them are during the week while attending school. On the weekends, they go hungry. Backpack Meals for Kids is working to fill that gap.

This grant will provide weekend meals and backpacks to Bellevue School District students who would otherwise go hungry.

Learn more: http://backpackmeals.org/

Since 1911, this incredible organization mission has been to foster stability and self-sufficiency for Bellevue’s children and their families through programs that provide food, clothing, education and emergency assistance. By addressing a child’s basic needs, Bellevue LifeSpring helps students focus on their education and break the cycle of poverty.

This grant supports the Breaktime-Mealtime Program which provides 80,000 meals to children during school breaks.

Learn more: https://www.bellevuelifespring.org/

This important organization provides training to businesses and leaders to help identify victims of human trafficking, prevent exploitation, and provide safe employment for survivors. Since their launch, BEST has provided awareness, consultation, and training to employers in a variety of sectors and as result, has seen an increase in the amount of trafficking victims able escape their exploiters and increased prevention effort.

This grant will go to help human trafficking survivors and at-risk individuals to find safe employment so they can afford housing.

Learn more: https://www.bestalliance.org

This fantastic organization runs-after school, sports and recreational programs for kids and teens. The Boys and Girls Club of Bellevue can be found throughout the city providing positive, safe places where local youth can have fun, make friends and learn. Their goal is to inspire and enable young people, especially those who need it most, to realize their full potential as productive, caring, responsible citizens.

This grant will support Project Learn, Boys and Girls Club of Bellevue’s after school and summer camp programs at three low-income housing Clubhouses.

Learn more: http://www.bgcbellevue.org/

This great organization inspires change in the lives of at-risk youth through alternative high school education, counseling, recovery, housing, and life skills programs. The Eastside Academy is like no other school in the state. Their unique model offers a place where youth can receive an education, recover from addiction, receive mental health counseling, build relationships with mentors, find housing, and leverage alumni services all under one roof.

This grant will help pay food expenses for homeless and poverty-level students while they attend this alternative high school.

Learn more: http://www.eastsideacademy.org/

This wonderful organization helps kids thrive by leveraging direct service providers to deliver basic necessities to families in need. For 50 weeks each year, volunteers and staff at Eastside Baby Corner collect community donations, purchase and distribute children’s and maternity items to families in collaboration with organizations helping families in their area.

This grant will help provide essentials like diapers and formula to economically disadvantaged children.

Learn more: http://www.babycorner.org/

This wonderful organization acts as a go-between for local farmers to distribute fresh produce to people who don’t have access to healthy food. Farms for Life is a local organization mobilized to bridge the gap between local farms, who often have surplus crops and those in need of fresh food by reimbursing the farmer for the harvesting and processing costs.

This grant will help buy fresh and surplus produce from local farms using sustainable growing practices and provides healthy produce to families in need.

Learn more: https://farms4life.org/

This amazing nonprofit teaches individuals how to play an active role in their financial well-being. Financial Beginningsprovides accessible and unbiased financial education to youth and adults and educates over 40,000 individuals annually.

This grant will help fund the teaching of personal financial concepts to youth and adults of economically-vulnerable populations.

Learn more: https://www.financialbeginnings.org/

Since 1951, this inspiring organization has been helping young people in challenging circumstances get their lives back on track. Today, Friends of Youth positively impacts over 6,500 children, youth and their families each year by offering youth overnight shelters, championing development initiatives, providing in-home family support for young parents and guardians, parent education, youth and family counseling, substance abuse counseling, transitional housing for homeless youth and much more.

This grant will help fund emergency response and shelter, then long-term housing, to children (ages 7-17) experiencing trauma or abuse in East King County.

Learn more: https://www.friendsofyouth.org/

This impactful nonprofit helps more than 65,000 people yearly through programs that provide the stability, skills and knowledge needed to exit poverty. Hopelink’s services help people achieve stability through the provision of basic needs, such as shelter and food. They believe that with the stresses of homelessness or hunger removed from the situation, family members are more able to focus on the next phase of their journey out of poverty.

This grant will go to support the End Summer Hunger Program which ensures local schoolchildren in low-income families have enough to eat during summer break.

Learn more: https://www.hopelink.org/

This helpful organization’s mission is to develop affordable housing, build welcoming communities, and foster vibrant futures. Imagine Housing develops permanent affordable rental homes in East King County to provide individuals and families a place to live near their jobs, good schools, transportation, and health services.

This grant will target under-18-year-olds in their Support Services Program to provide affordable housing and life skill case management in East King County.

Learn more: https://imaginehousing.org/

For over 46 years, this caring organization has provided financial aid to local families when an emergency arises. Issaquah Community Services (ICS) helps families with aid to prevent homelessness, reimburse lost wages due to an emergency event, prevent utility shut offs and much more.

This grant will provide emergency aid in the form of utility payments to low-income families in the Issaquah School District.

Learn more: http://www.issaquahcommunityservices.org/

This important organization works with the Issaquah School District to drive resources and help all students achieve the promise of their academic potential. The Issaquah Schools Foundation’s vision is to be the unifying organization that enables the Issaquah School District to provide access to exceptional opportunities district-wide that ignite learning, improve educational outcomes and prepare all students to be confident, competent and engaged citizens. They do this by bridging the gap between funds the state provides for basic education and the dollars our schools need to prepare students for success in school and life.

This grant will support students who are homeless, at-risk, or living with a disability, for vital targeted academic intervention in math, reading, and writing.

Learn more: http://issaquahschoolsfoundation.org/

This important organization’s mission is to provide basic needs to community member and to promote self-sufficiency. The Issaquah Food & Clothing Bank is committed to providing quality food, clothing and other items as well as offering one-on-one personalized attention to help families navigate the complex maze of available resources.

This grant will help to maintain a refrigerated box truck utilized as a mobile food bank to remote Eastside communities that have difficulty accessing food bank services.

Learn more: https://www.issaquahfoodbank.org/

This incredible organization embraces children of diverse abilities and their families by providing the finest education and therapies to nurture hope, courage and the skills to soar. Kindering provides early intervention services to infants and children who have special needs or are at-risk, and to their families as well. The non-profit offers a full range of services to support the entire family, including parent education courses, specialized support groups for parents and siblings, specialized programming for foster parents, and a true sense of community for those facing the unexpected journey of raising a child with special needs.

This grant will help to provide developmental support, screening, and early intervention therapies to the very young children of homeless families.

Learn more: https://kindering.org/

Since 1982, this amazing organization has partnered with more than 145,000 domestic violence survivors on their courageous journeys towards safety, stability, and healing. LifeWire is on a mission to end domestic violence and create a world where every person lives in a safe environment free from oppression with the opportunity to thrive. By offering one-on-one advocacy and support, they work each day to ensure the safety and enduring independence of every survivor who walks through their doors.

This grant will support the Hotel-Motel Voucher Program, which provides emergency short-term stays in hotels and motels for victim of domestic violence.

Learn more: https://www.lifewire.org/

With the help of countless volunteers and donors, this non-profit has grown into a powerful force for good in our local community. Mamma’s Hands was founded to provide hope and support to those in crisis. Their mission is to help those in crisis regain their self-respect, and to provide them the support and direction they need to become productive members of society. Their vision: Hope in Every Individual.

This grant will help support three Houses of Hope that house mothers and children from abuse and homelessness to help them develop plans to bring change to their lives.

Learn more: http://www.mammashands.org/

This wonderful community-driven program provides healthy food for hungry kids to take home over the weekend and school breaks. Through charitable donations and volunteer support, Pantry Packs is able to feed more than 800 Lake Washington School District children who are identified by counselors as being “food insecure” and often come to school hungry on Mondays.

This grant will go towards providing weekend, child-friendly food packs to children of qualified low-income families.

Learn more: https://www.lwsf.org/pantrypacks.html

This Issaquah based non-profit was created to provide support and services to at risk youth with an emphasis on foster children and their families. Royal Family Kids’ Camp’s vision is to make a difference in the lives of children who have suffered abandonment, abuse and neglect, and to give them hope for their future. Their goal is to help foster children in King County, ages 7 – 15, attend a summer camp filled with life changing experiences and love that focuses on meeting the special needs of abused and neglected children.

This grant will help support their summer camp and help build positive experiences for abused, neglected and abandoned foster children.

Learn more: http://royalfamilykids.org/

This fantastic nonprofit provides formal attire to teens from low-income families across the state, enabling them to participate in high school milestone events. Ruby Room F-Factor utilizes fashion as a tool to build self-confidence and promote inclusion among foster children, homeless youth and teens in financial need.

This grant will help to provide formal wear at no cost to teens in financial need so they may participate in landmark life events.

Learn more: https://www.f-factor.org/

This organization provides life-changing services to those experiencing homelessness by working within our communities to provide emergency shelter, social services, and connections to permanent housing. Snoqualmie Valley Shelter Services is made up of community members who have a passion for helping our homeless population connect with the care and services they need.

This grant will help provide a safe overnight environment for homeless men and women and for families struggling with homelessness.

Learn more: http://www.svshelterservices.org/

This impactful organization is dedicated to closing the achievement gap between youth in foster care and their peers forever. Treehouse provides students in foster care with academic and other essential support that all kids need to succeed.

This grant will help to support the Little Wishes Program which allows foster care youth to participate in extracurricular arts, athletics, and other educational experiences.

Learn more: https://www.treehouseforkids.org/

This dedicated organization is the leading behavioral health services provider for children and youth, up to age 22, and their families in East King County. Youth Eastside Services (YES) provides evidence-based mental health counseling, substance use and co-occurring disorders counseling and treatment, early childhood behavioral health services, psychiatric services, and education and prevention programs.

This grant will support YES Lifeline, which provides free mental health counseling and substance abuse treatment to low-income youth and families.

Learn more: https://www.youtheastsideservices.org/

Posted on January 9, 2020 at 3:07 am
Kim Gervasoni | Category: Windermere Foundation | Tagged , , ,

WINDERMERE FOUNDATION DONATES $100,000 TO SEATTLE CHILDREN’S HOSPITAL

The Windermere Foundation’s recent contribution to Seattle Children’s Hospital‘s Homelessness Prevention Fund and Children’s Emergency Patient Fund will help 40 families secure stable housing and retain ownership of their homes this holiday season.

“No parent should have to choose between having a place to live and having a healthy child,” said Christine Wood, Executive Director of the Windermere Foundation. “Our goal is to help take on some of the financial burden of housing and
living expenses so they can focus on their child’s health.”

The Homelessness Prevention Fund provides low-income families with financial support to help cover imminent expenses, repairs, and other needed services. The one-time payment can spare a family from eviction or other hardships triggered by shelter insecurity.

“There are 104 children and 74 parents and guardians who will be able to stay in their homes during the holidays thanks to the Windermere Foundation’s generous donation,” said Roosevelt Travis, Director of the Department of Social Work at Seattle Children’s. “It is truly life changing.”

Additionally, a portion of the donation was directed to the Children’s Emergency Patient Fund which provides modest sums to cover food, utilities, transportation and other essentials to more than 2,000 families each year.

Over the years, Windermere donations to this fund have been used to pay for hotel vouchers, gas cards, and, in the saddest cases, funeral expenses.

“When I am contacted by Children’s seeking funding, I know not every situation is going to have a happy ending,” said Christine Wood. “We’re just grateful that we have the opportunity to relieve some of the burden for these families during what is a very difficult time in their lives.”

Since its establishment 30 years ago, the Windermere Foundation has raised over $40 million to support local low-income and homeless families, and Windermere has donated a total of $318,000 directly to Seattle Children’s Hospital since 2006. The Foundation is currently the 17th largest corporate philanthropist in the Puget Sound, as ranged by the Puget Sound Business Journal.

To learn more about the Windermere Foundation, please visit www.windermerefoundation.com.

Read the full Windermere Foundation press release here.

Posted on December 29, 2019 at 3:02 am
Kim Gervasoni | Category: Windermere Foundation | Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

LOCAL MARKET UPDATE – DECEMBER 2019

Favorable interest rates and soaring rents boosted activity in the housing market in November. More buyers competing for less inventory kept home prices strong. With the supply of homes far short of demand, sellers can expect well-priced properties to sell quickly this winter.

With just over a month of available inventory, demand on Eastside remains very strong. Sales are brisk, with 45% of single-family homes selling in 15 days or less and 20% of homes selling for over list price. The median single-family home price in November rose 2% from a year ago to $900,000 and was unchanged from October.

VIEW FULL EASTSIDE REPORT

Posted on December 11, 2019 at 3:00 am
Kim Gervasoni | Category: Local Market News, Local Market Update | Tagged , , , , , , , ,

Windermere’s Winter Drive Collects Nearly 6,000 Items for Mary’s Place

It’s another fall season and the fourth year of Windermere’s #TackleHomelessness campaign with the Seattle Seahawks. As a part of this campaign, Windermere hosts an annual “We’ve Got You Covered” winter drive. This year, 33 Windermere offices in in the greater Seattle area* participated in the drive, collecting new hats, scarves, gloves/mittens, socks, and other warm winter items for Mary’s Place.

Mary’s Place is a non-profit that provides safe, inclusive shelter and services to support women, children and families on their journey out of homelessness. Since 1999, Mary’s Place has helped hundreds of women and families move out of homelessness into more stable situations. But shelter capacity is limited and there are still hundreds of families sleeping outside in cars and tents each night, so Windermere collected items to help them stay warm this winter.

During the four-week drive, our offices collected donations from agents, staff, and the community, which included over 630 hats, 680 pairs of gloves, over 200 scarves, over 2,000 pairs of socks, and an assortment of coats, jackets, sweaters, blankets, toiletries and other items, bringing our grand total to nearly 6,000 items collected for Mary’s Place.

One office made the drive extra special by partnering with a local knitting group. The Windermere Mercer Island office partnered once again with the Mercer Island Tuesday Knitters, to make cozy hats and scarves. This year the knitting group contributed 67 hand-knitted hats and scarves to the winter drive.

The staff at the Mary’s Place donation center in South Seattle were grateful to receive the bins full of donated items that were delivered by Gentle Giant Moving Company. “We are so incredibly grateful to our Windermere family for all that they do for our families!” said Marty Hartman, Mary’s Place Executive Director. “These gifts of warm winter gear will keep our kids and families warm and loved this winter!”

 

Windermere is also grateful to partner with Gentle Giant Moving Company on our winter drive. For the past four years, they have generously given their time, muscle, and trucks to pick up and deliver all of the donations.

And this drive would not be possible each year without the support of the Seattle Seahawks, our offices, and all those who donated. From all of us at Windermere, thank you for making our fourth annual winter drive a success and for supporting families experiencing homelessness in the greater Seattle area!

*Participating Windermere offices:

Bellevue, Bellevue Commons, Bellevue West, Federal Way, Federal Way-West Campus, Kent, Kirkland, Kirkland Yarrow Bay, Lynnwood, Mercer Island, Mill Creek, Property Management – Bellevue, Property Management – Edmonds, Property Management-Everett, Property Management – Seattle North, Property Management – South, Redmond, Seattle-Eastlake, Seattle-Green Lake, Seattle-Greenwood, Seattle-Lakeview, Seattle-Madison Park, Seattle-Mount Baker, Seattle-Northgate, Seattle-Northwest, Seattle-Pike/Pine, Seattle-Queen Anne, Seattle-Sand Point, Seattle-Wall Street, Seattle-West Seattle, Services Company, Shoreline, Snohomish

Posted on November 20, 2019 at 9:17 pm
Kim Gervasoni | Category: Windermere Foundation | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , ,

Your November To-Do List

The month of November brings the end to daylight savings time, for most of us anyway, and the start to the holiday season. Don’t be left in the cold, jumpstart your preparations with this quick checklist.

Check Your Fire Safety System

Test your smoke alarms and CO detectors to make sure they’re in working order. Locate your fire extinguisher and be sure the gauge shows that it has enough pressure. If it isn’t already stored in or near the kitchen, re-locate it closer to the oven for quick action should Thanksgiving dinner go up in flames.

Clean Your Garbage Disposal

Don’t let a stinky garbage disposal ruin your appetite, keep it smelling fresh with a few pieces of lemon rind and some ice cubes. The lemon cleans and deodorizes the odor causing bacteria and the ice scrapes away any debris, as well as sharpen the blades.

Check and Repair Other Plumbing Issues

Run the water in each sink to determine if it’s draining properly.

If your bathroom sink is not draining quickly, a great natural way to clear debris, with ingredients that you likely already have in the house, is to put ½ cup of baking soda down the drain, followed by ½ cup of vinegar, then plug the drain and let it sit for an hour. When you unplug the drain, pour boiling water down until it drains quickly.

Send a snake down your tub drain, then add a hair trap to each drain to prevent future blockage, especially when you have guests over for the holidays.

For a slow kitchen drain, the likely cause is a build up of fat, oil, or grease (FOG drain clog). The best way to clear this kind of clog is with 2 liters of water and a few tablespoons of dish washing detergent. Pour slowing and keep pouring until the drain is cleared.

Pull Out Your Winter Essentials

For those of you in cold climates, get out the shovels and replenish the ice-melt bucket before the snow and ice hit this season. Don’t get caught in the storm, make sure they’re easy to access or easy to pull out when the weather forecast calls for below freezing temperatures.

It’s also a good idea to get out your snow gear and toys. Don’t miss an opportunity to play in the snow because you can’t get to your shed to pull out your snow boots, gloves, or sled!

Check and Replace Floor Protectors

Prevent damage to your floors by checking any pads on your chair legs as well as the rug mat.

Make sure the pads on your chairs, sofas, and tables are intact so when you move them, they won’t rub and scuff or dent flooring. Lift the rug to double check that the rug mat isn’t causing damage to the floor as well. Sometimes, the adhesive can stick to the floors, leaving a residue that’s almost impossible to clean, this is especially important on cement floors.

Prepare the Guest Bedroom

Has it been a while since anyone, besides the dog or cat, has slept in the guest bed? This is a great time of year to wash the sheets and clean the room in preparation for holiday guests. And don’t forget the cobwebs in the corners! Organize and re-stock the closets so your guests can easily access more blankets and towels during their stay.

Posted on November 5, 2019 at 9:13 pm
Kim Gervasoni | Category: Home Maintenance | Tagged , , , , , , , ,

Western Washington Real Estate Market Update Q3

The following analysis of the Western Washington real estate market is provided by Windermere Real Estate Chief Economist, Matthew Gardner. We hope that this information may assist you with making better-informed real estate decisions. For further information about the housing market in your area, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

 

ECONOMIC OVERVIEW

Washington State employment has softened slightly to an annual growth rate of 2%, which is still a respectable number compared to other West Coast states and the country as a whole. In all, I expect that Washington will continue to add jobs at a reasonable rate though it is clear that businesses are starting to feel the effects of the trade war with China and this is impacting hiring practices. The state unemployment rate was 4.6%, marginally higher than the 4.4% level of a year ago. My most recent economic forecast suggests that statewide job growth in 2019 will rise by 2.2%, with a total of 88,400 new jobs created.

 

HOME SALES

  • There were 22,685 home sales during the third quarter of 2019, representing a slight increase of 0.8% from the same period in 2018 and essentially at the same level as in the second quarter.
  • Listing activity — which rose substantially from the middle of last year — appears to have settled down. This is likely to slow sales as there is less choice in the market.
  • Compared to the third quarter of 2018, sales rose in five counties, remained static in one, and dropped in nine. The greatest growth was in Skagit and Clallam counties. Jefferson, Kitsap, and Cowlitz counties experienced significant declines.
  • The average number of homes for sale rose 11% between the second and third quarters. However, inventory is 14% lower than in the same quarter of 2018. In fact, no county contained in this report had more homes for sale in the third quarter than a year ago.

 

HOME PRICES

  • Home price growth in Western Washington notched a little higher in the third quarter, with average prices 4.2% higher than a year ago. The average sales price in Western Washington was $523,016. It is worth noting, though, that prices were down 3.3% compared to the second quarter of this year.
  • Home prices were higher in every county except Island, though the decline there was very small.
  • When compared to the same period a year ago, price growth was strongest in Grays Harbor County, where home prices were up 22%. San Juan, Jefferson, and Cowlitz counties also saw double-digit price increases.
  • Affordability issues are driving buyers further out which is resulting in above-average price growth in outlying markets. I expect home prices to continue appreciating as we move through 2020, but the pace of growth will continue to slow.

 

 

DAYS ON MARKET

  • The average number of days it took to sell a home dropped one day when compared to the third quarter of 2018.
  • Thurston County was the tightest market in Western Washington, with homes taking an average of only 20 days to sell. There were six counties where the length of time it took to sell a home dropped compared to the same period a year ago. Market time rose in six counties, while two counties were unchanged.
  • Across the entire region, it took an average of 38 days to sell a home in the third quarter. This was down 3 days compared to the second quarter of this year.
  • Market time remains below the long-term average across the region and this trend is likely to continue until more inventory comes to market, which I do not expect will happen until next spring.

 

 

CONCLUSIONS

This speedometer reflects the state of the region’s real estate market using housing inventory, price gains, home sales, interest rates, and larger economic factors. I am leaving the needle in the same position as the first and second quarters, as demand appears to still be strong.

The market continues to benefit from low mortgage rates. The average 30-year fixed rates is currently around 3.6% and is unlikely to rise significantly anytime soon. Even as borrowing costs remain very competitive, it’s clear buyers are not necessarily jumping at any home that comes on the market. Although it’s still a sellers’ market, buyers have become increasingly price-conscious which is reflected in slowing home price growth.

 

ABOUT MATTHEW GARDNER

As Chief Economist for Windermere Real Estate, Matthew Gardner is responsible for analyzing and interpreting economic data and its impact on the real estate market on both a local and national level. Matthew has over 30 years of professional experience both in the U.S. and U.K.

In addition to his day-to-day responsibilities, Matthew sits on the Washington State Governors Council of Economic Advisors; chairs the Board of Trustees at the Washington Center for Real Estate Research at the University of Washington; and is an Advisory Board Member at the Runstad Center for Real Estate Studies at the University of Washington where he also lectures in real estate economics.

Posted on October 25, 2019 at 8:33 pm
Kim Gervasoni | Category: The Gardner Report | Tagged , , , , , , , ,

Prepare Your Home for Winter

As the days shorten, you can mitigate many mid-winter headaches with some preemptive prep. Proper weatherizing can help protect your home from preventable damage, save money on energy costs, and, most importantly, keep you and your loved ones safe and warm throughout the winter season.

Here is a useful checklist to manage your weatherization project. Setting aside some time on a couple of weekend days should be more than enough to knock this out:

Cracks & Leaks

Examine your entire house for any cracks and leaks, from your roof to your baseboards, to your basement and foundation. With unpredictable winter weather, these cracks and leaks are how the outside gets in, causing cold drafts and water damage.

Luckily, most cracks don’t require a professional to handle it. Depending on your house type and age, it’s likely you’ll be able to do it yourself with supplies from your local hardware store.

Windows & Doors:

Gaps and breaks in windows and doors is another way to let the winter in your home, and they can let heat escape, raising your heat bill throughout the season.

Make sure seals are tight and no leaks exist. If you have storm windows, make sure you put them on before the cold season begins. Additionally, add weather-strips and or a door sweep to prevent drafts and keep the heat in.

Rain Gutters: 

Clean your rain gutters of any debris. In colder climates, the buildup will cause gutters to freeze with ice, crack and then leak.

Once you have removed the residue from the drains, test them by running hose water to make sure cracks and leaks have not already formed. Even in warmer locales, the buildup can put undue stress on your roof and home.

Pipes: 

Protecting your pipes from freezing should be your number one priority this winter. A burst pipe can quickly become a disaster in any home.

Remember to turn off your exterior water source and take in your hose. Internally, wrapping your pipes is a recommended precaution to take.

Heating System:

Annual checks are vital in avoiding dangers such as house fires. Replace filters if you use a furnace and clear out any vents and ducts that carry heat through them. If you have baseboard heat, wipe them of dust and remove any debris that might catch fire.

Fireplace & Wood Burning Stoves:

Make sure to have chimneys and air vents cleaned early in the season if you are planning on warming your home with a wood-burning source. When your fireplace is not in use make sure to close the damper, some resources estimate an open damper can increase energy consumption by as much as 30%, increasing your bill about $200.

Outside: 

Bring your patio furniture inside or cover it for the winter. Don’t forget other, smaller items such as your tools, including the hose and planting pots. Clear out any piles around the side of your house, checking for cracks and holes in your home and foundation as you go so to avoid providing shelter for unwelcome guests over the cold season.

If your property has large trees check for loose branches and call someone to trim back any limbs that may fall in your yard, on your roof or even damage a window.

Emergency Kit: 

Lastly, make sure your emergency kit is up to date with provisions, batteries, fresh water, food for animals, entertainment for kids – especially if you live in an area prone to power outages.

For a more complete emergency preparedness guide, visit https://www.ready.gov/winter-weather.

Posted on October 15, 2019 at 8:35 pm
Kim Gervasoni | Category: Home Maintenance | Tagged , , , , , , , ,

You’ve Moved into Your New Home. Now What?

Congratulations on your new home! You made it through the arduous process that is buying a new home. Now it’s time to take on the task of moving in.

You did your research about the neighborhood and you feel like you know the home like the back of your hand. However, there are some things to do as you move in to protect your newest investment, and yourself, from the unknown variables in and around your home.

Change the locks garage door codes

Previous owners might have changed the locks, but they may not know who all has a key or a code to open your garage, especially neighbors who they trusted to watch their place while they were away. Changing the codes and locks on all the doors ensures that you have complete control over entry to your home

Check or Install Fire and Carbon Monoxide Detectors

If the home already has fire and carbon monoxide devices, make sure they are in working order by testing each one with the tester button. Keep a note of when to replace them as well.

If they don’t have them, install a device in each sleeping room, as well as common areas like the living room or kitchen. Hallways are a great place to cover multiple rooms with one detector as well.

Install a security system

Enjoy total peace of mind with a new security system. Meet with a consultant on the best ways to protect your home for a system that works best for you and your lifestyle.

There are also app-connected systems that you can set up yourself that notify you of movement on the cameras or doors and windows opening.

Meet the neighbors

Build a sense of community and get to know the lay of the land by knocking on neighbors’ doors to get to know them. Bring a small gift as a “thank you” for dealing with the moving trucks. This is a great initial step for figuring out who you can trust to watch things while you’re away should you need a helping hand in the near future.

Posted on October 10, 2019 at 3:07 am
Kim Gervasoni | Category: For Your Home, Home Maintenance | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,