Windermere and the Seahawks are Back for Another Season to #TackleHomelessness!

All of us at Windermere are very excited to kick off our second season as the Official Real Estate Company of the Seattle Seahawks!

Once again, our #tacklehomelessness campaign is front-and-center, with the Windermere Foundation donating $100 for every Seahawks home-game tackle during the 2017 season to YouthCare, a Seattle-based non-profit organization that has been providing services and support to homeless youth for more than 40 years. Last year, the Seahawks helped us raise $35,000 through our #tacklehomelessness campaign, and this year we are looking forward to raising even more money – and awareness – for this important cause.

Our partnership with the Seahawks and YouthCare fits perfectly with the mission of the Windermere Foundation which is to support low-income and homeless families in the communities where we have offices. Through the #tacklehomelessness campaign, we hope to be able to do even more.

A “score card” will be posted after each home game that shows how much was raised during that game. You can follow our progress throughout the Seahawks season on our Facebook page at Facebook.com/WindermereRealEstate.

 

Windermere Hosts Third-Annual Washington Waterfront Home Tour

When you picture your best life, does it include entertaining shore-side? Launching a boat from your back steps? Or fishing in your pajamas? If you dream of a waterfront life then you’re in luck! That’s because  on June 24-25 we are hosting the third-annual Washington Waterfront Home Tour. More than 80 homes from the San Juan Islands to Lake Sammamish are available to tour by boat, bike, or car. Properties are priced from $595,000 to $20 million. While you might think a waterfront home is out of your budget, there are actually properties that fit a wide variety of needs, styles, and budgets.

Here are a few examples of what you can expect to see this weekend on the tour:

Oak Harbor Charmer:content_OakHarborhttps://www.windermere.com/listing/54079653

Spectacular in Seward Park:    

SewardParkhttps://www.windermere.com/listing/54556875

Enchanted Estate in Friday Harbor:content_Friday_Harborhttps://www.windermere.com/listing/54552772

A map of the homes and their open house hours can be found on the Washington Waterfront Home Tour website. Most will be held open from 1 p.m.-4 p.m. on June 24 and 25. The listing details will note the availability; for those listed as “by appointment only”, you can contact the agent for a private tour.

Follow the fun on the Windermere Real Estate Facebook page, and share your own photos while you tour these beautiful homes by tagging your pictures on Instagram and Twitter with #WAWaterfront.

In addition to Windermere, the Washington Waterfront Home Tour is being sponsored by Penrith Home Loans.

 

Originally posted on the Windermere Blog by Tara Sharp

 

What Buyers Want Today

The National Association of REALTORS® recently released their 2016 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers. Here are a few items about buyers that we thought you’d find interesting.

If you’re looking to buy or sell your home, reach out to a Windermere Real Estate broker to help you successfully navigate the Seattle housing market.

 

This blog originally posted on Windermere Eastside Blog

Windermere Donates $35,000 To Help #TackleHomelessness

The regular football season is officially over, and while the Seahawks didn’t make it to the Super Bowl this year, they did take home the title of NFC West champs. We can think of a number of reasons to be proud of the Seahawks, but the biggest one for us is the $35,000 they helped us raise to #tacklehomelessness.

As the Official Real Estate Company of the Seattle Seahawks, Windermere and the Seahawks decided to partner on a cause that is important to our community. The result was our #tacklehomelessness campaign which saw Windermere donating $100 for every Seahawks home game tackle during the 2016 season. An additional donation was made in honor of Bobby Wagner, the NFL leader in tackles this season, for each of his 167 tackles. All of these tackles added up to an impressive $35,000.

The recipient of the $35,000 donation is YouthCare, a non-profit organization that provides essential services to homeless youth. The money raised will help fund YouthCare’s Residential Care Programs, which provide both housing and tailored support services to youth transitioning from homelessness to stability and independence.

Our partnership with the Seahawks and YouthCare fits perfectly with the mission of the Windermere Foundation, which is to support low-income and homeless families in the communities where we have offices. We are grateful for the opportunity to provide additional support to homeless youth in our area thanks to the Seahawks, YouthCare and the #tacklehomelessness campaign.

See you next season and GO HAWKS!

Western Washington Real Estate Market Update

ECONOMIC OVERVIEW

Washington State finished the year on a high with jobs continuing to be added across the market. Additionally, we are seeing decent growth in the area’s smaller markets, which have not benefitted from the same robust growth as the larger metropolitan markets.

Unemployment rates throughout the region continue to drop and the levels in the central Puget Sound region suggest that we are at full employment. In the coming year, I anticipate that we will see substantial income growth as companies look to recruit new talent and keep existing employees happy.

HOME SALES ACTIVITY

  • There were 19,745 home sales during the fourth quarter of 2016—up by a very impressive 13.4% from the same period in 2015, but 18.7% below the total number of sales seen in the third quarter of the year. (This is a function of seasonality and no cause for concern.)
  • Sales in Clallam County grew at the fastest rate over the past 12 months, with home sales up by 47%. There were also impressive sales increases in Grays Harbor and Thurston Counties. Jefferson County had a fairly modest decrease in sales.
  • The number of available listings continues to remain well below historic averages. The total number of homes for sale in the fourth quarter was down by 13.7% compared to the same period a year ago.
  • The key takeaway from this data is that 2017 will continue to be a seller’s market. We should see some improvement in listing activity, but it is highly likely that demand will exceed supply for another year.

16320_wwa_gardnerreportq4_sales

HOME PRICES

  • Demand continued to exceed supply in the final three months of 2016 and this caused home prices to continue to rise. In the fourth quarter, average prices rose by 7.1% but were 0.4% higher than the third quarter of the year. The region’s average sales price is now $414,110.
  • In most parts of the region, home prices are well above historic highs and continue to trend upward.
  • When compared to the fourth quarter of 2015, price growth was most pronounced in Kittitas County. In total, there were eight counties where annual price growth exceeded 10%. We saw a drop in sales prices in the notoriously volatile San Juan County.
  • The aggressive home price growth that we’ve experienced in recent years should start to taper in 2017, but prices will continue to increase at rates that are higher than historic averages.

16320_wwa_gardnerreportq4_map

16320_wwa_gardnerreportq4_prices

DAYS ON MARKET

  • The average number of days it took to sell a home in the fourth quarter dropped by 15 days when compared to the fourth quarter of 2015.
  • King County was the only area where it took less than a month to sell a home, but all markets saw decent improvement in the time it took to sell a home when compared to a year ago.
  • In the final quarter of the year, it took an average of 64 days to sell a home. This is down from the 78 days it took in the third quarter of 2015, but up from the 52 days it took in the third quarter of 2016. (This is due to seasonality and not a cause for concern.)
  • We may experience a modest increase in the time it takes to sell a home in 2017, but only if there is a rapid increase in listings, which is certainly not a given.

16320_wwa_gardnerreportq4_dom

CONCLUSIONS

16320_wwa_gardnerreportq4_speedometer

This speedometer reflects the state of the region’s housing market using housing inventory, price gains, sales velocities, interest rates, and larger economic factors. For the fourth quarter of 2016, I actually moved the needle a little more in favor of buyers, but this is purely a function of the increase in interest rates that was seen after the election. Higher borrowing costs mean that buyers can afford less, which could ultimately put some modest downward pressure on home prices in 2017. That said, the region will still strongly favor sellers in the coming year.

 

What’s In Store For The 2017 Seattle Housing Market?

By Matthew Gardner, Chief Economist, Windermere Real Estate

2016 was another stellar year for the Seattle housing market, in which a surplus of buyers and a deficit of sellers drove home prices higher across the board. So, can we expect to see more of the same in 2017? Here are some of my thoughts on the Seattle/King County housing market for the coming year:

  1. Our market has benefited greatly from very healthy job growth, driven in no small part by our thriving technology companies. Economic vitality is the backbone of housing demand, so we should continue to see healthy employment growth in 2017; however, not quite as robust as 2016. Migration to Seattle from other states will also continue in the coming year, putting further pressure on our housing market.
  2. Are we building too many apartments?  The answer to this question is “maybe”. I believe we are fast approaching oversupply of apartments; however, this glut will only be seen in select sub-markets, such as South Lake Union and Capitol Hill. Developers have been adding apartments downtown at frantic rates with many projects garnering very impressive rents. In the coming year, look for rental rate growth to slow and for concessions to come back into play as we add several thousand more apartments to downtown Seattle.
  3. The Millennials are here! And they are ready to buy. 2016 saw a significant increase in the number of Millennial buyers in Seattle, and I expect to see even more in 2017. The only problem will be whether Millennials will be able to find – or afford – anything to buy.
  4. Home prices will continue to rise. But price growth will taper somewhat. The market has been on a tear since bottoming out in 2012, with median home prices up by a remarkable 79% from the 2012 low, and 14% above the pre-recession peak seen in 2007. Given the fact that interest rates are now likely to rise at a faster rate than previously forecasted, I believe price appreciation will slow somewhat, but values will still increase at rates that are well above the national average. Look for home prices to increase by an average of 7.5 – 8.5% in 2017.
  5. More homes for sale? I am optimistic that inventory levels around Seattle will increase, but it still won’t be enough to meet continued high demand.
  6. This is my biggest concern for the Seattle housing market. Home prices – specifically in areas with ready access to our job centers – are pulling way ahead of incomes, placing them out of reach for much of our population. This forces many buyers to move farther away from our job centers, putting additional stress on our limited infrastructure. We need to have an open discussion regarding zoning, as well as whether our state’s Growth Management Act is helping or hindering matters.
  7. New Home Starts/Sales. As much as I would love to say that we can expect a substantial increase in new homes in 2017, I am afraid this is not the case. Historically high land prices, combined with ever increasing construction and labor costs, slow housing development, as the price of the end product is increasingly expensive. This applies to single family development as well as condominiums. We should see a couple of towers break ground in 2017, but that’s about all. Vertical construction is still prohibitively expensive and developers are concerned that there will not be sufficient demand for such an expensive end product.
  8. Are we setting ourselves up for another housing crash? The simple answer to this question is no. While home price appreciation remains above the long-term average, and will continue to be so in 2017, credit requirements, down payments, and a growing economy will all act as protectors from a housing crash in Seattle.

Windermere Launches New Ultra-Luxury Brand: W Collection

Anyone who has spent time in the Seattle area in recent years has likely seen for themselves how much the city has changed. Thanks in large part to the booming economy, growing tech sector, and increasing international appeal, Seattle is no longer a sleepy little city tucked away in the far corner of the United States. With this changing landscape has come an infusion of wealth that has seen the area’s high-net-worth population explode. And with it, so too has the ultra-high-end real estate market.

In order to meet the specialized needs of this burgeoning market, Windermere has launched W Collection, a new ultra-luxury brand specifically designed for homes priced at $3 million and above in Western Washington. OB Jacobi, President of Windermere Real Estate, says that Seattle’s population of “global affluent” is on the rise and they greatly value real estate. The proof is in the numbers.

Over the past five years there has been a significant increase in the number of home sales in the $3 million+ market. In 2011 there were only 45 such sales in King County, while in 2015 there were 131. “Windermere agents represent anywhere from 40-60 percent of the $3 million+ sales in the Seattle area, so we felt we were in the ideal position to build a brand that could provide enhanced marketing support to the growing number of ultra-luxury homes,” said Jacobi.

W Collection is its own standalone brand with a separate website, WByWindermere.com, signage, presentation materials, and specialized advertising opportunities. When developing W Collection, Jacobi said that the goal was to create a sophisticated, yet humble, brand that evokes the understated expression of wealth that is unique to the Pacific Northwest. “Our clients are not largely drawn to the shows of excessive wealth that you see at other companies and in other parts of the country. This is reflected in the W Collection brand,” said Jacobi.

The development of W Collection began a little over a year ago, and according to Jacobi, was a highly collaborative process with Windermere agents playing an integral role in every step, “Over the past 44 years some of Windermere’s best ideas have come from our agents who are totally in tune with the needs of their clients and the shifting demands of the market; W Collection was born from this same agent ingenuity.”

Originally posted on Windermere by Shelley Rossi

Smith Tower: Seattle’s Original Skyscraper

After nearly two years of renovations the newly branded Smith Tower Observatory has reopened and now the view comes with cocktails.
SmithTower_then_and_now

Then and now: Smith Tower 1929 and 2016

On August 25 a new “speak-easy” will open at the top of the Smith Tower. Formerly known as the Chinese Room, the 35th floor observation deck has been renamed “the Smith Tower Observatory,” and within it is the Smith Tower Temperance cafe and bar.

The new 35th-floor bar is inspired by the Prohibition era as a nod to the origins of the building, which opened 102 years ago in Pioneer Square as Seattle’s first skyscraper and the fourth tallest building in the world. Light bites inspired by the Roaring Twenties and the tower’s Asian influence include banh mi sandwiches, Chinese dumplings, a raw oyster bar, and craft cocktails.

To get to the observation deck and bar, you have two options: Pay for a 40-minute, self-guided “Legends of Smith Tower” tour or simply pay for a “Straight Up” ticket for an elevator ride to the 35th floor.

It’s lovely to see such a grand Seattle landmark be restored and reinvented as a fun destination stop but make sure you get there early – the observatory and bar closes each day at 6pm.

Seahawks and Windermere Announce Partnership to Benefit Homeless Youth

To say that Windermere has a lot of Seahawks fans would be an understatement. That’s why we are so excited to announce today that we are now the “Official Real Estate Company of the Seattle Seahawks”!

At the center of this partnership with the Seahawks is a new #tacklehomelessness campaign in which the Windermere Foundation will donate $100 for every Seahawks tackle at home during the 2016 season. On the receiving end of these donations is YouthCare, a Seattle-based non-profit organization that has been providing services and support to homeless youth from across Puget Sound for more than 40 years. Since 1989, Windermere has donated over $30 million to non-profits that support low-income and homeless families, so partnering with YouthCare and the Seahawks on the #tacklehomelessness campaign is a perfect fit for us.

“We are proud to partner with Windermere, an iconic and locally-based company with a deep commitment to this community,” said Seahawks Vice President of Corporate Partnerships Amy Sprangers. “Windermere’s brand and values align perfectly with our commitment to this region. It is wonderful that this partnership will make a positive impact on homeless youth throughout the Seattle area.”

If you’re not already excited about the upcoming Seahawks season, this video should do it.

Now say it with us . . . Go Hawks!

Have a Blast in Seattle this Fourth of July

This weekend will mark 240 years since 56 members of the Second Continental Congress signed the Declaration of Independence during the early years of the American Revolutionary War.

But why celebrate the Fourth of July with colorful sparks and loud booms? The tradition can be traced back to a letter John Adams wrote his wife Abigail Adams on July 3, 1776 where he referenced celebrating the beginning of America’s independence with “…Pomp and Parade, with Shews, Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other from this Time forward forever more.”

If you don’t plan to launch your own version of illuminations on July 4, here are three spots in Seattle to catch the fireworks display over Lake Union.

GAS WORKS PARK

gas_works

The largest Fourth of July party in Seattle is organized by Seafair and held at Gas Works Park. The views over Lake Union are beautiful any time of year, making the fireworks show particularly remarkable.

There is plenty of fun to be had long before the sun goes down and the show begins. Food vendors range from typical festival foods to a classic salmon bake, two beer gardens, there are games and activities for kids and live music from the main stage.

This location includes FREE General Admission as well as reserved seating sections available for purchase. CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE RESERVED SEATING.

Bhy Kracke Park

bye krackne park

If you want to watch the Seattle fireworks for free but don’t want to deal with the crowds and mayhem of Gas Works Park, Bhy Kracke Park in Queen Anne is a fantastic alternative. Bhy Kracke is a park as unique as its name; it overlooks Lake Union, has several spots for unique views of the city along many trails that are cut into the steep hill side and fantastic open areas for kids to cavort.

Fourth of July on the Arthur Foss

Arthur-Foss-4th-of-July

Being aboard a boat during the fireworks might seem out of reach to those of us who do not own boats, so imagine how excited we were to discover the Arthur Foss! This is advertised as an “adults only” event – perfect for date night! The $75 ticket price includes two drinks and dessert buffet with all proceeds benefit Northwest Seaport.

We hope everyone has a happy and safe Fourth of July weekend!