The Butterfly Effect

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There are a lot of things that motivate me to be involved in our community, and one of the most important is my Butterfly Effect group. 

The Butterfly Effect is based in Kirkland, WA and was named after the concept that all small efforts have a ripple effect – essentially a simple act or kind gesture can remind people that we are thinking of them, they are important, and they also have the power to positively impact the world. I learned a long time ago that I get much more than I give by supporting these great charities and people who are doing good things in our community and world.

I want all of you to feel inspired as well, so each month I will share news of the good things we in The Butterfly Effect are doing in the community. Stay tuned and always feel free to reach out to me with questions about how you can get involved!

Local Market Update – January 2017

A record low number of houses for sale in December indicates that 2017 will continue to be a very competitive market for buyers. The good news: those who decide to take the plunge and list their home can count on getting a premium price for their property. Brokers reported that about three-fourths of the homes sold in December involved bidding wars.

Eastside

Click image to view full report.

Click image to view full report.

Strong demand driven by a booming tech economy and great schools continue to strain the already low inventory on the Eastside. It’s not unusual for a well-priced new listing to receive dozens of offers and to sell for well over asking price. With supply failing to meet demand, the median price for homes sold in December soared 19 percent to a new record high of $803,500.

King County

Click image to view full report.

Click image to view full report.

King County had only about 1,600 single-family homes on the market in December, an all-time low. With the healthy regional economy, demand remains very strong. Prices, however, appear to be moderating somewhat. The median price for a single-family home sold in December was $550,000, up 8 percent over a year ago, but unchanged from October and November. A traditional uptick in inventory this spring may help keep price increases more modest this year compared to the double-digit increases seen in 2015.

Seattle

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Click image to view full report.

According to the Case-Shiller home price index, home prices are rising faster in the Seattle metro area than in any other major region in the country. One issue is space. The city’s existing density means that virtually no new single-family homes are being built in Seattle. As new residents flood in, more people are competing for the already tight inventory. As a result, home prices are up. The median cost of a single-family home rose 6 percent from a year ago to $635,000.

Snohomish County

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Click image to view full report.

While home prices in Snohomish County are well below those of King County, the gap is closing as prices here are increasing at a faster pace than neighboring counties. The median price of a single-family home in Snohomish County rose 12 percent as compared to a year ago to $400,000. Like King County, inventory is very slim, indicating a market heavily favoring sellers.

Top 5 Seattle-Area Superlatives From 2016

Happy New Year 2017 retro design with inspiring handwritten typography

2016 has been quite a year to live in the Pacific Northwest, especially if you spent some or most of it in the housing market. This year’s market was truly unique, record-breaking, and game-changing (see: Windermere’s W Collection). To close out the year here are a few of the most noteworthy Seattle-area superlatives related to real estate – and a few confirming just how lucky we are to live in this beautiful pocket of the world.

Nation’s Hottest Housing Market

Let’s get straight to the point – this year Seattle was named the hottest housing market in the nation! According to Geekwire home prices in our region rose 11 percent between September 2015 and 2016, putting us ahead of Portland for year-over-year growth.

We owe much of this recognition to our booming tech industry, which has been bringing people to the Seattle area in droves. “Droves” refers to the 86,320 residents (and counting) who moved to Greater Seattle between April 2015 and 2016, marking the region’s biggest population gain this century.

Many of these thousands of people who flocked here for tech jobs were probably also considering other tech hubs, but we were more alluring because tech salaries in the Seattle area are among the highest in the U.S. after cost of living adjustments. That means their salaries go much farther here than other tech towns, such as San Francisco, enabling them to have a better quality of life.

The Region’s Largest Property Sale

Of all of the multi-million dollar property sales in our region the largest was the 50-story Safeco Plaza in Seattle, which sold for $387 million. The buyer was a Munich-based company that had previously acquired an Amazon-occupied property in the thriving South Lake Union neighborhood.

Eastside’s Biggest Property Sale

The Seattle Times recently reported a pair of investors from the United States and China bought a major office complex in Bellevue for $202.2 million, making it the biggest transaction on the Eastside this year. The three-building, 480,000 sq. foot complex is fully leased and will be home to tenants such as BitTitan and CenturyLink.

Seattle No. 1 Choice for Foreign Investors

What’s one important thing buyers of both of these properties had in common? They were foreign investors. This year Seattle became the No. 1 choice for foreign investors after British Columbia enacted a 15 percent tax on foreign buyers in August, causing them to redirect their real estate searches to the Seattle area. To quantify this impact, as of November, Chinese money accounted for about 55 percent of all homes purchased by foreign investors in Washington.

Seattle No. 1 Place to Live If You Love Spending Time Outdoors

While this last ranking isn’t directly related to real estate, it’s definitely worth boasting about! Six Washington cities made Business Insider’s list of “25 beautiful US cities to live in if you love spending time outdoors.” Seattle topped the list and Bellevue came in at No. 5. Every day we are surrounded by the beauty of trees, mountains, and water with endless opportunities and ways to enjoy them.

Local Market Update – December 2016

Buyers spooked by a spike in mortgage interest rates gave rise to the busiest November for homes sales in over a decade. Prices rose accordingly. Case-Shiller ranked the area as the housing market with the fastest rising prices in the country. Sellers can expect to get a premium for their homes as we move into 2017, but they need to consider how an expected further increase in interest rates may impact the market.

Eastside

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Click image to view full report.

There hasn’t been a stronger seller’s market on the Eastside in recent memory. Record-setting home sales, combined with record-low inventory, has resulted in a significant imbalance of supply and demand. It’s no surprise that home prices surged upward. The median price of a single-family home sold on the Eastside was $759,400, an increase of 13 percent over last November.

King County

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Click image to view full report.

Home sales in King County soared nearly 30 percent over a year ago. With frenzied demand gobbling up inventory, most homes received multiple offers. Median home prices here were up 10 percent over the same time last year to $550,000. Brokers expect the market will continue to be extremely active through the winter.

Seattle

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Click image to view full report.

A severe inventory shortage continues to make multiple offers the norm in Seattle. Even the uptick in mortgage interest rates has done little to moderate demand. The median home price here increased to $615,000 in November. If it’s any consolation for buyers facing sticker shock, that was just a 3 percent increase over the same time last year.

Snohomish County

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Click image to view full report.

Snohomish County experienced the same boost in buying and bust in inventory as the rest of the region. Prices climbed at an even faster rate than in King County. Compared to a year ago, the median price of a single-family home was up over 14 percent to $400,000.

Local Holiday Light Shows

december-16-web-header

Ready to lift your spirits? Shimmering light shows are a brilliant way to celebrate the winter holiday season. Grab a warm coat and go exploring in gardens, zoos and even on the water. Here are five local venues that are worth braving the cold to see…

1. WildLights at Woodland Park Zoo

5500 Phinney Ave. N, Seattle WA 98103
www.zoo.org/wildlights | click here to get tickets

  • Dates/Times: Open nightly 11/25/16 – 1/1/17 | 5:30-8:30 pm
  • Cost: $7.95-$9.95 per person (ages 2 and under are free)
  • Promotion: Zoo members who purchase tickets by 12/9 get a $2 discount off each adult ticket
  • Parking: Free parking at the north (Bear Lot), inner north (Otter Lot) and and northwest lot (Penguin Lot)
  • Food: Refreshments are available at food kiosks, Pizza Corner, the Rain Forest Pavilion and at the Pacific Chowder House (with covered seating). Outside food and non-alcoholic drinks are permitted.
  • Special Events and Activities
  • Holiday Closures: 12/24 & 12/25

Wildlights at Woodland Park Zoo

 

2. Garden d’Lights at Bellevue Botanical Garden
12001 Main Street, Bellevue WA 98005
www.gardendlights.org | click here to get tickets

  • Dates/Times: Open nightly 11/26/16 – 12/31/16 | 4:30-9:00 pm
  • Cost: $5 per person (ages 10 and under are free)
  • Promotion: Free admission on 11/28, 11/29, 11/30, 12/1, 12/5, 12/6, 12/7 and 12/8
  • Parking: $5 per car in the Garden’s lot (cash only) as space allows OR park for free at Wilburton Hill Park
  • Food: Hot drinks and snacks are available at the Aaron Education Center
  • Holiday Closures: None

Garden d'Lights at Bellevue Botanical Garden

 

3. Snowflake & Celebration Lane at the Bellevue Collection
Bellevue Way & NE 8th Street, Bellevue WA 98004
http://bellevue.com/snowflake-lane

  • Dates/Times: Nightly 11/25/16 – 12/31/16 | 20 minute show starts at 7 pm
  • Cost: Free
  • Parking: Free parking at Bellevue Square, Bellevue Place and Lincoln Square.
  • Food: A variety of dining options (from happy hour, to kid fare, to gourmet meal) are all within walking distance
  • Special Events & Activities: Ice Skating, Santa Parade & Tree Lighting
  • Holiday Closure: 12/25

Snowflak Lane at the Bellevue Collection

 

4. Christmas Ship Festival
Launch locations include Lake Union Park, Kirkland City Dock, Leschi Marina, Des Moines Marina, Poulsbo Marina, Seattle Waterfront – Pier 55, Tacoma (Dock Street Marina), Port of Edmonds Marina, Fishermen’s Terminal, AGC Marina, and Shilsole Bay Marina
www.argosycruises.com | click here to get tickets

Christmas Ship at Lake Union, Photo Courtesy of Seattle Parks

 

5. Zoolights at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium
5400 N. Pearl Street, Tacoma WA 98407
www.pdza.org/zoolights
click here to get non-member tickets OR click here to get member tickets

  • Dates/Times: Open nightly 11/25/16 – 1/1/17 | 5-9 pm
  • Cost: $8.50-$10.00 per person (ages 2 and under are free)
  • Promotions:
    -$5 tickets for zoo members
    -Combo Pass that includes daytime zoo admission ($12-$16)
    -Military Nights ($8 for US Veterans): 11/28, 11/30, 12/5, 12/7, 12/12 & 12/14
    -Scout Night ($8 for registered Girl Scouts or Boy Scouts): 12/6
  • Parking: Free parking in zoo lots (entrance on Pearl Street)
  • Food: Hot drinks and treats are available at the café and kiosks throughout the zoo
  • Activities
  • Holiday Closure: 12/24

Zoolights at Point Defiance

©Windermere Real Estate/Mercer Island

This blog post originally appeared on the MercerIslandPulse.com blog.

 

Babies of Homelessness Donations

Outside of real estate my focus is community involvement and helping people who are less fortunate or who have fallen on hard times. Although I try to make this a priority year-round, the Holidays are especially busy as everyone recognizes it is a time to be thankful for what we have and spread kindness and resources to individuals who aren’t as lucky. Today I want to highlight an organization with a unique focus, Babies of Homelessness, and share how we can help with their important mission.

Babies of Homelessness raises awareness about a particularly vulnerable population within the homeless community – babies and toddlers. Some of these kids were born into homelessness while others were brought into it. Regardless, their parents are unable to support them and provide the care they need and they are too young to protect and fend for themselves. They experience awful conditions at a young age that no one should have to endure in their entire lifetimes.

How can we help?

Babies of Homelessness’s immediate goal is to collect essential resources for these children who are living in homeless encampments and emergency shelters. For kids in encampments they are looking for items to fill care packages to hand out and would like to see each package include a set of PJs, socks, toothbrush, toothpaste, a blanket, diapers/underwear, and an activity/coloring book. For kids in emergency shelters they suggest donating tickets to an event and restaurant and clothing gift cards to provide a little bit of an escape from their situations.

I am collecting items until December 9th. Contact me and I will come to you to pick up items you want to donate. Thank you in advance for your support and generosity.

Local Market Update – November 2016

Home sales outgained new listings again in October, further squeezing already tight inventory and pushing prices higher. Since new listings traditionally decrease in the fall, that inventory shortage is expected to last until spring. Sellers willing to put their home on the market now can expect plenty of interested buyers, and a highly favorable chance of getting the best possible price for their home.

Eastside

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Click image to view full report.

Home prices on the Eastside took a big leap in October, fueled by record low inventory. The median price of a single-family home sold that month was $768,000, a jump of 15 percent over the same time last year, and the fastest price growth in several months. With the market so strongly favoring sellers, brokers are hopeful more consumers will opt to list their homes.

King County

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Click image to view full report.

The amount of inventory in King County fell to levels not seen since the 1990s with just one month of available inventory. With supply falling well behind demand, prices jumped significantly. The median price of a single-family home sold in October jumped 15 percent over a year ago to $550,000.

Seattle

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Click image to view the full report.

There is no place where the supply of homes is tighter than Seattle, particularly in areas close to the city center. Just three weeks of inventory has kept this market in solid multiple-offer territory. Prices in October increased accordingly. The median price of a single-family home in Seattle rose 13 percent to $625,000.

Snohomish County

Click image to view full report.

Click image to view full report.

Inventory in Snohomish County dropped more than 20 percent from a year ago. With just over a month of available inventory, prices climbed. The median price of a single-family home was up 6 percent over last year to $386,599. Even with that increase, buyers continue to be drawn to the area by home prices that average 30 percent less than King County.

Windermere Launches New Ultra-Luxury Brand: W Collection

I’m so honored to be part of Windermere’s W Collection, a new brand in ultra-luxury! I’m happy to be able to help people reach their real estate dreams in an area with so much to offer, and that continues to grow. Read more about this unique program below and check out W by Windermere to see my profile!

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.”

This article originally appeared on the Windermere.com blog.

We’ve Got You Covered

Windermere and the Seattle Seahawks have come together to help #tacklehomelessness in our community.

As part of that campaign, offices on the Eastside are participating in Windermere’s “We’ve Got You Covered” winter drive.

From October 17 through November 14, we are collecting new hats, scarves, gloves/mittens, and warm socks for YouthCare, a non-profit that provides support and services to homeless youth throughout the Puget Sound area.

Each night in Seattle, nearly 1,000 young people are homeless. Please help them stay warm during the cold winter months by dropping off your donation to one of our offices during the drive.

Eastside Windermere Office Locations

Visit the Windermere.com blog for more information.

What Amazon in Bellevue Means for Our Housing Market

In case you missed it, Amazon is officially expanding to the Eastside! Back in August there were rumors that Apple and Amazon were looking to add offices across Lake Washington. A recent article from The Seattle Times confirmed Amazon will be returning to its Bellevue roots to lease a space much larger than the garage where it started 22 years ago. The online retail mogul will be the new (and only) tenants of Centre 425, a 16-story building in downtown Bellevue that is due to be completed this fall.

Amazon has already invested billions of dollars in its Seattle campus that occupies 8.5 million square feet in and around South Lake Union. This desirable location has attracted many young creatives in the area, as evidenced by the fact that the company currently employs more than 25,000 people in Seattle. The Bellevue office is expected to accommodate over 2,200 people. Considering the success of other Eastside-based companies such as Microsoft and Valve, Amazon will not have a problem recruiting that amount of local tech talent for Centre 425.

Right now it is unclear why Amazon is deviating from its original plan to develop in more urban areas like Seattle. GeekWire speculates it could be a way to cater to employees who already live on the Eastside or an attempt to lure in talent from Expedia once it relocates from Bellevue to Seattle in 2019.

What does this mean for our local housing market?

Whatever the reason for Amazon’s expansion, it will certainly make the Eastside even more attractive for tech employees and have an impact on our housing market. Although the median home price is lower in Seattle, inventory remains higher on the Eastside. Amazon’s location in Bellevue will allow prospective employees to focus their search on the Eastside and give employees currently living here an incentive to stay.

Read the full article from The Seattle Times.