i turn REALTY into REALiTY

Is the recession over?

Here is another article from the Wall Street Journal that has charted Housing Starts since 1972. According to this article, each time new housing starts have dropped below the one million mark, that signaled an end to the housing slump. The article makes some good points, but as always, we never know about making history until after its been made…

What are your thoughts about the housing market?


Weekly Sales Ratios (4/5 – 5/21)

Here are the most recent statistics for homes in the Woodinville area. The dates covered are from April 5th thru May 21st. This is a rolling statistic (meaning that the data will overlap with other charts in my Blog). Check it out here

As always, if you live in a different area and would like statistics for your city, drop me a line!

Happy Birthday Steven!

Yesterday, May 16, 2008 was my oldest son’s 18th birthday. Seems like only yesterday that he was such a cute little kid. It’s hard to believe that he’s old enough to vote and to fight for our country if necessary. Today is his Senior Prom and when he showed me his Tuxedo (white with pinstripes), I wasn’t sure if I was gonna laugh (he looked like a sports celebrity with his shaved head), or cry (he looked all grown up). I began reflecting on how the years have gone by, and how proud I am of his accomplishments. To be perfectly clear, he is a typical teenager; sometimes irresponsible, often impertinent, and yet still has an innocence about him.

Steven at 6 yrs Steven at 9 yrs
Steven at 11 yrs Steven at 16 yrs
Steven at 17 yrs looking like a dork playing DDR (Dance Dance Revolution)

So it also got me thinking about what was happening in 1990.

  • Mortgage interest rates were hovering around 10% for a 30yr fixed loan.
  • Homes were selling for about $80/sqft in Woodinville (vs. $270 in 2008).
  • The Hubble telescope was launched into space.
  • Mikhail Gorbachev was awarded the nobel Peace Prize
  • Sammy Davis Jr. (of the famous “Rat Pack”) passed away on the same day as Steven was born. I don’t think he was re-incarnated as Steven (as evidenced by his dancing skills above).
  • And more

What were you doing in 1990?

The Housing crisis is over!

If it’s in print, then it must be true. Right?
Don’t misunderstand me because as a Realtor, I like reading articles that are positive for my industry. But I live in the real world, not the financial world where analysts look at things on a more global or macro scale. I just hope that the people reading the article live here in the Seattle area where it will actually have an impact on our local housing market.
And let’s be completely honest, does the average person really understand the full meaning of what is written in articles such as these? I’ve always been a bit confused when the economists use phrases such as “When the rate of house-price declines halves, there will be a whoesale shift in markets’ perceptions… when valuing the collateral, market participants including banks are extrapolating…” What does all of this mean? I consider myself a pretty smart person, and I understood most of what was written, but I’d much prefer to read articles in more basic terms that the general public can understand.
Anyway, here is the full article in the Wall Street Journal. Maybe someone can read it and explain it to me…


Cottage Lake

Photo of Cottage Lake
I live in a geographic area of Woodinville referred to as the Cottage Lake area. This area isn’t officially within Woodinville (the actual city limits are quite small), but the post office considers it so. Ironically, I think there are more residents with a Woodinville address that live OUTSIDE the city limits than inside.

While there are a handful of lakes in the Woodinville area, Cottage Lake is probably the best known. The lake occupies 63 acres and is surrounded mostly by private homes, but public access is obtained via the north end at Cottage Lake Park. The park occupies just over 20 acres of land, and provides area residents and guest with numerous outdoor activities. The amenities provided at the park include swimming (in the lake and outdoor pool), covered and uncovered BBQ and picnic areas, basketball courts (not too many), amphitheater for summer concerts, and a fishing pier. Recently, in conjunction with the Northshore YMCA, a new Ropes Course was built. As a Board Member of the Northshore YMCA, I was able to try it out when it was built, and it was a total rush! I’ll post more information specifically about it later.

What I enjoy most about living in this area, is being in close proximity to outdoor activities and still feeling like I’m close to the major activities (work, shopping, etc.). I awake most mornings to the sun shining through my bedroom window and looking out at the glistening waters of the lake. (Who am I kidding! I really don’t see the sun that much, but when I do, I feel like I’m vacationing in the woods).

To find out more about the lake, visit the following sites:

Friends of Cottage Lake website.
Cottage Lake fishing information.
Wikipedia’s information about Cottage Lake.

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April Statistics

The lastest stats are in!

Taking a snapshot look at residential resales in King County for the period from January 1, 2008 thru April 30, 2008, we find:

  • 4107 units sold this year vs. 6398 units sold in 2007 in the same timeframe (down 36%) 6
  • Average price is up 1% to $542,659 5
  • Average $/sqft for homes sold was $283.49
  • The best price range to be in (as a seller right now) is $300,000 – $350,000. Absorption rate is about 130 units per month. Makes sense since more folks can afford lower priced homes (duh!)

Takeaway from all of this – Lots of inventory from which to choose (in the sense that the inventory levels are high), but prices are stable. Common sense tells us that the best homes always go first. What that means to the average seller, is that in this market if you’re overpriced or don’t have some extremely compelling feature about your home, it’s gonna take a bit longer to sell.

source: realestats.net

Road Noise in Woodinville?

Congestion, road noise and safety concerns are ongoing problems when it comes to the roadways in Woodinville (or nearly everywhere on the Eastside these days). In a recent Woodinville Weekly article, Avondale Rd was specifically singled out as being loud and in need of repairs. In fact, there is a group of folks that have organized themselves into the “The Better Avondale group”. You can follow their efforts at abetteravondale.org. Better yet, fill out their survey on road conditions on Avondale Rd.

Private Schools?

Thinking of sending your kids to a private school? Seattle Metropolitan Magazine published a guide to all the schools in the greater Seattle area (includes Eastside, Snohomish County and more). Check it out here.

Save money, buy now?

According to a recent report by Radar Logic, a real estate data and analytics company, homes are less expensive on a $/sqft basis now than they were 1 year ago.

Seattle is down 1.4% from February 2007, however our area led the group of 25 metro areas with a 6.2 percent two-year annualized gain in price per square foot, while Sacramento, Calif., suffered the largest loss during that period at 18.8 percent. Seattle led with a five-year annualized gain of 9.6 percent, while Detroit was last on the list with a 2.5 percent five-year annualized loss.

February 2008 RPX Index

Rank MSA % change Feb ’07-Feb ’08
1 Charlotte, N.C. 3.6%
2 Milwaukee, Wis. 3.4%
3 New York, N.Y. 1.1%
4 Seattle, Wash. -1.4%
5 Columbus, Ohio -1.7%
6 Philadelphia, Pa. -3.9%
7 Denver, Colo. -5.4%
8 St. Louis, Mo. -7.2%
9 Washington, D.C. -7.3%
10 Cleveland, Ohio -7.3%
11 Chicago, Ill. -8.0%
12 Jacksonville, Fla. -8.2%
13 Atlanta, Ga. -9.2%
14 San Jose, Calif. -11.2%
15 Boston, Mass. -11.3%
16 Minneapolis, Minn. -11.8%
17 Detroit, Mich. -12.7%
18 San Francisco, Calif. -14.1%
19 Tampa, Fla. -16.4%
20 Miami, Fla. -17.7%
21 Los Angeles, Calif. -19.3%
22 Phoenix, Ariz. -19.4%
23 San Diego, Calif. -24.7%
24 Las Vegas, Nev. -26.2%
25 Sacramento, Calif. -29.8%

Source: Radar Logic Inc.


A top reason not to buy stocks?

It seems these days that everyone is down on the real estate market. Well, not everyone. According to famous Wall Street investor Peter Lynch in a recent Time Magazine article, “A top reason to not buy stocks is if you don’t already own a home–in which case, that should be your first investment, since an owner-occupied home is nearly always profitable.” Sounds strange coming from someone who made his fortune in the stock market, but his words ring true. In spite of everything that you hear about the housing market, now may be the best time to buy. Read more about it here.