We’re In “Silicon Seattle” Now

In a recently published article by the Wall Street Journal, we were labeled "Silicon Seattle" due to our booming technology scene, and of course, high home prices that are making it difficult for home buyers to purchase their dream home.

Our record high home prices combined with record low inventory and frequent bidding wars have turned the Seattle area into the new San Francisco, according to the online article. "Seattle still lags behind San Francisco, where the median home value is $781,600, but buyers in both cities—many in the tech industry—are competing for a limited pool of properties."

For comparison, home-sale prices in the metro Seattle area rose 9.5% from 2014 to 2015, putting the median home value at $385,300, according to the National Association of Realtors. That’s below the limit for government-backed loans for the area, which currently is $540,500. But Seattle buyers who want a dream home in a desirable neighborhood will probably need a jumbo mortgage.

Make sure you read the full article from the Wall Street Journal for more information on how a jumbo mortgage, creative bargaining, and even a pre-inspection can help you land your dream home.


VA Loan

Are you ready to buy a home and qualify for the VA loan? Let me help you out! As a local real estate broker in Bellevue, WA and a Veteran of foreign wars, I am committed to help you find the home you deserve through the VA loan.

Posted on April 28, 2016 at 4:34 pm
Steve Harwood | Category: Home Buying, Local News, Veterans in Real Estate | Tagged , , , , , , , ,

Supply of Inventory Affects Housing Market

The supply of available homes remains at critical levels, with both King and Snohomish counties showing less than a month’s supply of inventory. With demand far outstripping supply, home prices increased by double-digits over last year throughout the Puget Sound area. The red hot market allows sellers to call the shots. Since some sellers are hesitant to put their home on the market for fear they won’t be able to find their next home quickly enough, many are negotiating with buyers to stay in their house for several months after the sale to ease the transition.

Eastside

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Eastside home prices were up 17 percent over last March to $739,440. That price was unchanged from February of this year. Inventory, which traditionally increases in the spring, continued to shrink. With under a month’s supply of properties on the market, homes at every price point are selling quickly and often with multiple offers.

King County

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After breaking records in February, home prices hit a new high in March. The median price of a single-family home soared to $531,250, a 21 percent increase over the same time last year. Homes are selling within days, and the area has only several weeks of available inventory. Frustrated buyers are waiting for more sellers to take advantage of the jump in prices and put their home on the market.

Seattle

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A booming economy has drawn many new residents to the Seattle area. The city has the lowest inventory in the region, and that is reflected in home prices. The median price of a single-family home was up 20 percent over last March to $640,000. That was down slightly from the high of $644,950 in February.

Snohomish County

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After posting more moderate gains than King County so far this year, Snohomish County home prices jumped 13 percent over last March. The median price for a single-family home climbed to $385,000. With buyers increasingly looking to the area for more affordable home options, inventory has shrunk to historic lows. Multiple offers are now the norm.


VA Loan

Are you ready to buy a home and qualify for the VA loan? Let me help you out! As a local real estate broker in Bellevue, WA and a Veteran of foreign wars, I am committed to help you find the home you deserve through the VA loan.

Posted on April 18, 2016 at 11:05 am
Steve Harwood | Category: Housing Market Statistics | Tagged , , , , , , ,

Kirkland And Bellevue Named Most Livable Cities in US

 

The Fiscal Times recently released their list of the top 25 "most livable" cities in the U.S. and Washington State was well represented with three cities making this list! Olympia came in at No. 20 while Kirkland and Bellevue came in at No. 25 and No. 2, respectively.

With a strong economy and a housing market beginning to balance out, it is so exciting to see our Eastside cities making national news! We all know how fun the cities are and it's great to see others agree.

Here's why Kirkland made the cut: On the coast of Lake Washington, Kirkland offers a host of enviable features from a charming downtown to an abundance of trails and a dynamic economy. Residents enjoy pools, community centers, nearby wineries and fine restaurants.

According to The Fiscal Times, Bellevue ranked high on this list due to boasting some of the best schools in the country along with Bellevue College and City University of Seattle. The city offers a small-town environment but many entertainment options and events, such as the annual Bellevue Arts and Crafts Fair. It often hosts technology companies which has helped develop its downtown.

Make sure you read the full list from The Fiscal Times!


VA Loan

Are you ready to buy a home and qualify for the VA loan? Let me help you out! As a local real estate broker in Bellevue, WA and a Veteran of foreign wars, I am committed to help you find the home you deserve through the VA loan.

Posted on February 29, 2016 at 1:31 pm
Steve Harwood | Category: Home Buying, Home Selling, Local News | Tagged , , , ,

Google Expands Kirkland Office

It looks like Google will be adding to the strength of the housing market on the Eastside. The Mountain View, California company announced on Tuesday plans to expand its Kirkland office to accommodate 400 more engineers. They'll be working on products including Google Cloud, Chrome, Hangout, Ads, Maps and Android.

Google already has 1,900 employees in Washington, more than half of whom work at the Kirkland campus. They'll be adding a new 180,000-square-foot space to their already existing 375,000-square-feet space.

According to The Puget Sound Business Journal, the engineering centers mean for competition for native companies, but also position Seattle as a leader in engineering. Diversity of employers can also help keep skilled engineers in the region who might have otherwise moved to Silicon Valley.

Find out more about this addition to Kirkland in the original article posted on The Puget Sound Business Journal.


VA Loan

Are you ready to buy a home and qualify for the VA loan? Let me help you out! As a local real estate broker in Bellevue, WA and a Veteran of foreign wars, I am committed to help you find the home you deserve through the VA loan.

Posted on February 18, 2016 at 3:31 pm
Steve Harwood | Category: Local News | Tagged , , , , , ,

Seattle’s Population Density Makes Top 10 List

For the first time ever, Seattle is among the top 10 most densely populated big cities.

With our high increase in population from those fleeing Silicon Valley and the number of technology jobs calling many to Seattle, density in our area seems to be an unavoidable fact of life according to Gene Balk with The Seattle Times.

Balk's article quotes that we had 7,962 people per square mile in 2014 pushing us ahead of Baltimore to the No. 10 spot on the list of the 50 most populous cities in the country. That's an increase of nearly 10 percent since the 2010 Census. If this rate continues, we could bypass Los Angeles (No. 9) within five years.

Urbanites see density as a relatively positive thing while suburbanites struggle with the idea of anything good coming from an increase in population density. However, density doesn't mean every place has to look like downtown Seattle. Capitol Hill is arguably one of the more sought-after neighborhoods and as one of the densest parts of Seattle, they "pack in about 55,000 people per square mile."

Balk finishes his article with the message that no matter what, newcomers will continue coming to Seattle. With our strong economy and high quality of life, our region is an incredible place to be. We will have to accommodate the increasing density to keep the area remotely affordable.

For more information, read the full article from The Seattle Times.

VA Loan

Are you ready to buy a home and qualify for the VA loan? Let me help you out! As a local real estate broker in Bellevue, WA and a Veteran of foreign wars, I am committed to help you find the home you deserve through the VA loan.

Posted on February 11, 2016 at 10:41 am
Steve Harwood | Category: Home Buying | Tagged , , , , , , ,

Seattle Times Market Digest – February 2016

The Seattle Times has just released the February 2016 issue of the Seattle Market Digest that is full of current market information for our area. These areas include the Labor Market, Retail Market, Regional Development, Travel Market, Economy, and of course, the Real Estate Market.

The review features highlights of each with promising rankings for Washington and Seattle:

  • Labor Market: Boeing, SPEEA unveil 6-year contract deal
  • Retail Market: 1 in 6 Americans has joined Amazon Prime
  • Regional Development: Loews buys Hotel 1000 in Seattle
  • Travel: Clipper sold; new routes planned
  • Economy: Amazon tops $100 billion sales

The Digest features a few statistics and articles on the Real Estate Market, including …

Seattle area home-price gains outpace national rate

High-end home sales booming as tech execs, foreign buyers shell out millions

King County home prices hit new highs, inventory at new lows

To read the market digest in its entirety, click here.

Posted on February 4, 2016 at 3:51 pm
Steve Harwood | Category: Seattle Market Digest | Tagged , , , , , ,

Large Bellevue Development On The Way

Construction is a common scene in Bellevue these last several months. Plenty of growth has been seen through our region as inventory continues to decrease. Just last week, a homebuilder in our area was approved to build a 176-unit town home project for the property where grocer Haggen used to operate next to the Crossroads shopping center. There will also be retail space in the project.

This is a large project that is definitely going to change the pace of Bellevue's growth and should help with our lowered inventory. The Crossroads neighborhood in East Bellevue saw inventory plummet 57 percent between the end of 2014 and 2015, according to the Northwest Multiple Listing Service (NWMLS). Demand is well outpacing supply.

Based on these numbers, the NWMLS calculates that East Bellevue has less than half a month's supply of homes for sale. That's among the lowest in King County, and far below the four- to six-month supply that Realtors say represents a market that is balanced between buyers and sellers. Last year ended with a 1.7-month supply of houses for sale across the four-county metro region.

I'm excited to see what these new town homes mean for East Bellevue and how the increase in units affects our already labored inventory. 2016 seems to already be full of good news for our local real estate market!

For more information, make sure you read the full article from the Puget Sound Business Journal.

VA Loan

Are you ready to buy a home and qualify for the VA loan? Let me help you out! As a local real estate broker in Bellevue, WA and a Veteran of foreign wars, I am committed to help you find the home you deserve through the VA loan.

 

Posted on January 28, 2016 at 6:37 pm
Steve Harwood | Category: Housing Market Statistics, Local News, Veterans in Real Estate | Tagged , , , , ,

Gold Star Mothers and Hugs from Home

John KennyI was recently asked by a World War II veteran to participate at an event at my local Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) post in Redmond, WA. To be perfectly honest I usually shy away from this type of thing because the said WWII Vet, John Kenny, seen right, usually makes a big deal in front of everyone that I’m an Iraq vet. Like most veterans, I want the veteran’s cause to get attention but don’t really want any myself. However, when a member of the Greatest Generation asked you to be somewhere, you show up. This is especially true when that person fought with the U.S Army in the island campaigns of World War II and was wounded multiple times.

There were two reasons for my being asked to attend. First, I was to briefly describe to the attendees my good friend Ed Marini is currently deployed with the Marine Special Forces overseas. We were all, in part, gathered to send Ed and his comrades care packages so that they might enjoy some “creature comforts” from home. This allows us folks back home the opportunity to show our appreciation and hopefully lets our troops overseas know that they have not been forgotten.

Unknown-1The second reason for my being invited was to escort a Gold Star Mother to pack box number 17,000 that the Redmond VFW has sent to forward deployed troops. Monica McNeal, pictured left, lost her son Eric in February 2010 when he was killed in combat in Afghanistan. To hear her speak was incredibly moving and brought painful reality and insight to the personal toll that war takes on our families. Everything she said hit home, but I was especially struck by the fact that she said after 6 years she was just now able to say Eric’s name out loud. Lastly, I was extremely impressed how Monica is able to continue to work with and serve veterans, despite the obvious pain it must cause her to do so.

These types of experiences are eye opening to me since I’ve now seen the deployments from both angles, as a serviceman deploying and as a patriot/friend/family member waiting at home. I can tell you firsthand that for the ones that are lucky enough to make it back, the transition out of the military is much harder than anything that he or she had to deal with while serving. This may seem counterintuitive, but regardless of the dire hardships abroad, the deployed soldier/sailor/Marine/airman has a sense of duty and purpose that is nearly impossible to replicate upon re-entry to civilian life. Veteran suicides are still three times the national average, and I would encourage anyone looking to donate time, money or resources to consider the veterans.

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VA Loan

Are you ready to buy a home and qualify for the VA loan? Let me help you out! As a local real estate broker in Bellevue, WA and a Veteran of foreign wars, I am committed to help you find the home you deserve through the VA loan.

Posted on January 25, 2016 at 3:00 pm
Steve Harwood | Category: Veterans in Real Estate | Tagged , ,

Seattle No. 2 Hottest Housing Market in 2016

The 10 hottest housing markets in the country are topped by three cities where technology jobs are fueling the strong outlook, Zillow announced with the release of its predictions last week.

GeekWire reports the study looked at home value appreciation, low unemployment rates, and strong income growth to determine just how hot the market was. Denver tops the list, followed by Seattle and Dallas-Fort Worth. The next six markets include Richmond, Va.; Boise, Idaho; Ogden, Utah; Salt Lake City; Omaha, Neb.; Sacramento, Calif.; and Portland, Ore.

“Trendy tech centers like San Francisco, Seattle and Denver hogged the spotlight in 2015. But this year, the markets that shine brightest will be those that manage to strike a good balance between strong income growth, low unemployment and solid home value appreciation,” Zillow chief economist Dr. Svenja Gudell said in a release. “As the job market continues to hum and opportunity becomes more widespread, the best housing markets are no longer limited to the coasts or one-industry tech towns. This year’s hottest markets have something for everyone, whether they’re looking for somewhere to raise a family or start their career.”

What's really exiting to me is the list of the predicted "hottest" neighborhoods in the Seattle area. Can you guess who tops the list here?

  1. Northwest Bellevue – 9.2 percent forecasted home value growth.
  2. University District and Holly Park – both with 8.3 percent forecasted home value growth.
  3. Olympic Manor – 8.2 percent forecasted home value growth.
  4. Fremont and South Delridge – both with 7.9 percent forecasted home value growth.
  5. Bryant – 7.7 percent forecasted home value growth.

Read the full article from GeekWire for more information.

VA Loan

Are you ready to buy a home and qualify for the VA loan? Let me help you out! As a local real estate broker in Bellevue, WA and a Veteran of foreign wars, I am committed to help you find the home you deserve through the VA loan.

Posted on January 21, 2016 at 3:03 pm
Steve Harwood | Category: Local News | Tagged , , , , , , ,

King County Had Almost Half of 2015’s 30 Most Competitive Neighborhoods in America

We probably don’t need to tell you that 2015 was a crazy year in real estate, especially in our area. Bidding wars and listings lasting mere days on the market is something we’ve all grown accustomed to. But it turns out we’re not alone. Curbed recently published an article that focused on the 30 most competitive neighborhoods in America. What’s the most mind blowing thing about this list? Of the 30 neighborhoods listed, 13 of them are in King County.

2015-competitive-markets

The Eastside was well represented on this list with Bellevue and Redmond making huge claims. Overlake was was the second-most competitive market in the entire nation! Honorable mentions were Grass Lawn (#7), Newport Hills (#14), Idylwood (#28), and Newport (#30). It’s hard to say exactly what 2016 has in store, but our very own Chief Economist, Matthew Gardner, has a few ideas (such as expecting that housing in Seattle will continue to appreciate in value, but at a slightly lower rate than 2015).

Read more on Seattle Curbed.

Posted on January 14, 2016 at 4:14 pm
Steve Harwood | Category: Housing Market Statistics, Local News | Tagged , , , , ,