Subscribe to Seattle Condo Blog | Seattle Condos for Sale | Downtown Market Trends

1900 First Avenue Hotel and Condominiums, or Apartments?

July 31, 2008 by  
Filed under Olson Sundberg Kundig Allen Architects

Olson Sundberg Kundig Allen Architects have recently filed an application for 70+ new downtown area residentail homes to be constructed on the corner of 1st Avenue and Stewart Street.

1900 1st Ave. Rendering

1900 1st Ave. Artist Rendering

Lead architects Tom Kundig and Kirsten have posted the project’s details on their website, which refers to the residential portion as apartments. However, as noted in the name of the project, it seems as though these will be condos. The Department of Planning and Development website states that the 11-story structure will feature 75 residential units, 110 hotel rooms, over 12,000 square feet of retail space, and below grade parking for 325 vehicles.

1900 1st Ave. Massing Rendering

1900 1st Ave. Massing Rendering

  • Residential units with views to courtyard and Elliott Bay.
  • Lower height to the West to provide views, light, and air to courtyard.
  • Interior courtyard with retail entrances, Hotel lobby, and valet entry.
  • Courtyard opening to First Avenue.
1900 1st Ave. Context Rendering

1900 1st Ave. Context Rendering

  • Courtyard open to Southern and Western sun.
  • Link to Inn at the Market.
  • Prominent view axis from First Avenue.
1900 1st Ave. Use Rendering

1900 1st Ave. Use Rendering

  • Roof gardens.
  • Residential units.
  • Hotel.
  • Auto and service access.
  • Retail and public.
  • Pedestrian Access.

We’re just interested to know if the residential portion is going to be condos, or apartments?

New Housing & Economic Recovery Act Provides New Market Stability

July 31, 2008 by  
Filed under Finance, National

The President signed into law the long-awaited Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008.  The housing bill is very broad and affects the GSEs (Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac) and FHA.  It makes permanent many of the changes put in place as part of the Economic Stimulus Act passed earlier this year, most importantly a permanent increase in conforming conventional and FHA loan limits.  It also provides tax incentives for first-time homebuyers, provides financial support for modernization of FHA, and has several provisions to strengthen and reform Fannie and Freddie.

Outlined below the key changes that will affect borrowers. Some of the provisions go into effect immediately, and others on October 1, 2008 or January 1, 2009.

Higher Loan Limits – Raises Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and FHA single family loan limits on a permanent basis.  The bill sets the GSE loan limit for single family one-unit properties at the greater of $417,000 (with increased limits for other single family properties up to four units) of 115 percent of the local area median home price, as determined by HUD, up to a cap of 150 percent of the GSE limit of $417,000 for a one-unit property or $625,500 in high cost areas.   The new loan limits will go into effect on January 1, 2009 after the limits in the Economic Stimulus Act expire on December 31, 2008.  They will be lower than those set by the Economic Stimulus Act which used 125 percent of median, but they will still be significantly higher than the old limits in most areas, and they will be permanent.  For example, in King, Pierce, and Snohomish counties the new limits will be $522,100 under the new bill.  We will distribute the new maximum loan limits as soon as they are published.

Tax Incentives – Establishes a first-time homebuyer tax credit of up to $7,500.  The credit will be for home purchases from April 9, 2008 through June 30, 2009.  There are income limits of $75,000 for an individual qualifying as a first-time homebuyer (i.e., has not owned a home in the last three years) and $150,000 for a family.  The tax credit has to be repaid over 15 years, making it a tax-free loan.  We will provide more details on this in the near future.

FHA Changes – The bill includes several significant provisions related to FHA, beyond the higher loan limits mentioned above.

Cash Investment Requirement – The cash investment requirement for FHA transactions will be set at 3.5 percent.  While the exact timing is yet to be announced, it is expected that this will be effective very soon.

Seller-funded Down Payment Assistance – Down payment assistant programs involving sellers or third parties (e.g. Nehemiah) will no longer be accepted on FHA loans as of October 1, 2008.  (Borrowers must be approved on or before September 30).

Risk-based Pricing Moratorium – A moratorium on risk-based pricing based on FICO scores will be imposed for one year beginning on October 1, 2008.

FHA Modernization – Provides financial resources for modernizing and streamlining the FHA loan process.  Most notably, the bill gives FHA authority to streamline condominium approval.  This should make it much easier to provide FHA loans to purchasers of condo units.  Details on this will follow, so we don’t know anything yet.

FHA Rescue Plan (foreclosure relief) – Authorizes a new FHA “Home for Homeowners Program” to refinance existing borrowers into fixed rate FHA mortgage products.

VA Loan Limit will increase

GSE Regulatory Reform – The bill strengthens regulation of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac through creation of a strong new regulator.

GSE Stabilization – Establishes several new powers and grants authority to stabilize the GSEs in the event of a financial crisis.

This is a very important piece of legislation for the housing market.  It will help stabilize and restore confidence in Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.  It will also expand borrower access to mortgage credit at the most favorable price and terms through conforming conventional and FHA loans on a permanent basis.  And when FHA completes changes to its condominium eligibility requirements it should open up many more condo projects to FHA financing.

These provisions should help sell houses/condos again, and give us stable loan programs for borrowers.  FHA is gaining market share, and will provide more information as it rolls out.

Arthouse – 2334 Elliott Ave., Seattle, WA 98121

Status: Proposed: 2010
Neighborhood: Belltown

CONDOS FOR SALE

Here you can find all active listings at Arthouse. If your dream condo is not listed, sign-up to be instantly notified by email.

View Listings Button

Sign-Up to receive an instant email notification of new Arthouse condos for sale as soon as they hit the market. Membership also includes a monthly review of all activity for this building.

Sign Up Email Notifications

DESCRIPTION

Arthouse condominium homes feature a spectacular visual experience.  It’s a veiw so close to Elliott Bay, you can almost reach out and touch it.  Arthouse, at the corner of Elliott Avenue and Battery Street, is just one block from the water’s edge.  Only Arthouse brings you the inspiration of a thriving arts and cultural neighborhood with the best view in the center of Belltown.  You’re just five minutes walk to Pike Place Market and the Olympic Sculpture Park, near the most unique shops, galleries, and restaurants.  Arthouse is your conduit for an inspired life.  Arthouse is your personal creative license.

ADDITIONAL OPINIONS & REVIEWS

seattle condos and lofts nwsource urbnlivn seattle condo review stroupe blog entries

*Data is deemed to be reliable, but not guaranteed. In some cases, number of units may include commercial and residential spaces and/or height may or may not include a 13th floor.

Club Cielo Wins Gold Nugget for Best Specialty Project

July 29, 2008 by  
Filed under ESCALA

ESCALA has been awarded yet another award for prestige. This time for the private social club which is the first to open in Seattle in over two decades. The award was given from over 500 entries submitted from over a dozen Western states. You can view the entire press release here.

Condo King County Weekly Sales Ratios for July 23rd, 2008

Condo Only, NWMLS Area 701 (Belltown & Downtown Seattle)

Icon Tower – 600 Wall St., Seattle, WA 98121

Status: Postponed
Neighborhood: Belltown

CONDOS FOR SALE

Here you can find all active listings at Icon Tower. If your dream condo is not listed, sign-up to be instantly notified by email.

View Listings Button

Sign-Up to receive an instant email notification of new Icon Tower condos for sale as soon as they hit the market. Membership also includes a monthly review of all activity for this building.

Sign Up Email Notifications

DESCRIPTION

6th and Wall is a 290′ tall, glassy, slender and carefully sculpted high-rise residential tower located near Seattle Center in the Denny Triangle. Hip and cool, this modern and elegant tower will sit on a triangular site that the project has all to itself. A mix of unit types will accommodate a diverse range of buyers in more affordable price points. Retail at the base of the tower activates the public realm, while common amenity spaces help create a sense of community among the homeowners.

ADDITIONAL OPINIONS & REVIEWS

seattle condos and lofts emporis nwsource seattle condo review stroupe blog entries

*Data is deemed to be reliable, but not guaranteed. In some cases, number of units may include commercial and residential spaces and/or height may or may not include a 13th floor.

Jackson Square Building – 121 S. Jackson St., Seattle, WA 98104

jackson square building logo

Address: 121 Jackson St., Seattle, WA 98104
Neighborhood: Pioneer Square

CONDOS FOR SALE

Here you can find all active listings at Jackson Square. If your dream condo is not listed, sign-up to be instantly notified by email.

View Listings Button

Sign-Up to receive an instant email notification of new Jackson Square Building condos for sale as soon as they hit the market. Membership also includes a monthly review of all activity for this building.

Sign Up Email Notifications

DESCRIPTION

Originally built in 1902, the Jackson Square Building has been everything from apartments, to several furniture retailers. The seven unit apartment building has since been converted to six upscale condominiums featuring brick exposed walls, stainless steel appliances, granite countertops, and hardwood floors. Each unit also features a private rooftop deck, except for the one studio unit. Floorplans range from 646 to 1,776 square feet. Located in the Pioneer Square neighborhood, homeowners have the ability to enjoy boutique shopping, dining, and nightlife.

PICTURES

BUILDING DATA

  • Year Built: 1902
  • Number of Units: 6
  • Number of Stories: 2
  • Exterior: Brick, Wood
  • Parking: Common Garage
  • Pets: Subj to Restrictions
  • H/O Dues Included:Garbage, Water/Sewer
  • Common Property Features & Amenities: Cable TV, High Speed Internet Available

NEIGHBORHOOD BUSINESS

  • artforte Gallery
  • Central Saloon
  • Clog Factory
  • Cowgirls Inc
  • D’Adamo-Woltz Gallery
  • Fireworks
  • FX McRory’s
  • Glasshouse Studio
  • Grand Central Arcade
  • Interesting Stuff
  • J&M Cafe
  • Jean Williams Antiques
  • Juan O’Riley’s
  • Kibo Galerie
  • Palace Rug Gallery
  • Stonington Gallery

VIEW NEIGHBORHOOD MAP

ADDITIONAL OPINIONS & REVIEWS

seattle condos and lofts nwsource urbnlivn seattle condo review stroupe blog entries

*Data is deemed to be reliable, but not guaranteed. In some cases, number of units may include commercial and residential spaces and/or height may or may not include a 13th floor.

Stadium Lofts Presale Date and Pricing

July 14, 2008 by  
Filed under Stadium Lofts

The long anticipated Stadium Lofts, across from Qwest Field on Occidental Avenue, is planning on making presales available sometime during the first quarter of 2009. Although many proposed projects have been delayed due to financing constraints, Stadium Lofts should have no problems considering it’s a renovation of an existing historical structure.

Recent changes to the design of Stadium Lofts were made to meet city standards which require an obvious distinction of what part of the building is new, and what is old. Apparently, the previous design didn’t make the cut.

Historic Structure

Historic Structure

Old Design

Old Design

New Design

New Design

With the location, and desirability of lofts, prices seem to be a steal with ground floor studios starting in the low to mid $300′s, ground floor 1 bedrooms in the low to mid $400′s, and rooftop deck units in the $700k and $800k range. The majority of the new lofts will range from mid $400′s to mid $600′s.

To insure you stay updated on the progress and presale opportunity for this project, be sure to subscribe to our monthly newletter.

This Weekend’s Open House

July 11, 2008 by  
Filed under MISC

Saturday, July 12th from 2:30 to 5:30

$598,950

MLS# 28096031

Wallingford Condo

$598,950
2 Beds
2 Bath
1,079 Sq. Ft.

Enjoy days & evenings watching the passage of Lake Union from your private deck. Not only are the views great this unit boasts an open floor plan w/ Iroko hardwood floors & high ceilings. The gourmet kitchen includes GE Profile appliances w/ S track lighting, slab granite countertops, under mount sink & maple cabinets. X-large W/I closet in Master suite. Secure storage & rare 2 parking spots. Just steps away from the Burke Gilman Trail, Gas Works Park & more. Make Tavona your new home!

…more

$474,950

MLS# 28096030

Wallingford Condo

$474,950
2 Beds
2 Bath
1,079 Sq. Ft.

Located next to the courtyard, this unit is great for entertaining w/ its open floor plan, high ceilings, Iroko hardwood floors & siding glass door to the patio. The kitchen boasts slab granite countertops, maple cabinets, GE Profile appliances w/ S track lighting & under mount sink. The large Master suite includes walk-in closet. Full sized stack washer and dryer & a rare 2 Parking spots! Just moments from Gas Works Park, Burke Gilman Trail, Fremont and so much more. Come live at Tavona!

…more

Sunday, July 13th from 11:00 to 2:00

MLS# 28072681

MLS# 28072681

Queen Anne Condo

$465,000
2 Beds
2 Bath
1,015 Sq. Ft.

One of a kind open unit with nice sound views plus a Space Needle view from the Bedroom! Dramatic vaulted ceilings with clear story windows and skylights brighten this top floor unit all year! Well designed living spaces flow nicely. Relax on the private covered deck. Enjoy the romantic Living Room fireplace. Freshly painted and in great condition. Secured covered parking,secure storage unit in garage. A great location and walking distance to Queen Anne Shops and activities.

…more

Sunday, July 13th from 1:00 to 4:00

MLS# 28096102

MLS# 28096102

Belltown Loft

$365,000
1 Bed
1 Bath
723 Sq. Ft.

Enjoy this true loft. Dramatic two-story space with the Bedroom above open to below. Urban style with exposed concrete, steel railings and industrial glass counters. Very fashionable! A wall of windows that reach to the ceiling explodes the unit with light. The secured parking space on the same level of unit. Secured building. Just steps to Pike Place Market, the Waterfront, and exciting Belltown’s shops, restaurants, & stores. Very affordable and is in great condition!

…more

Sunday, July 13th from 2:30 to 5:30

$598,950

MLS# 28096031

Wallingford Condo

$598,950
2 Beds
2 Bath
1,079 Sq. Ft.

Enjoy days & evenings watching the passage of Lake Union from your private deck. Not only are the views great this unit boasts an open floor plan w/ Iroko hardwood floors & high ceilings. The gourmet kitchen includes GE Profile appliances w/ S track lighting, slab granite countertops, under mount sink & maple cabinets. X-large W/I closet in Master suite. Secure storage & rare 2 parking spots. Just steps away from the Burke Gilman Trail, Gas Works Park & more. Make Tavona your new home!

…more

$474,950

MLS# 28096030

Wallingford Condo

$474,950
2 Beds
2 Bath
1,079 Sq. Ft.

Located next to the courtyard, this unit is great for entertaining w/ its open floor plan, high ceilings, Iroko hardwood floors & siding glass door to the patio. The kitchen boasts slab granite countertops, maple cabinets, GE Profile appliances w/ S track lighting & under mount sink. The large Master suite includes walk-in closet. Full sized stack washer and dryer & a rare 2 Parking spots! Just moments from Gas Works Park, Burke Gilman Trail, Fremont and so much more. Come live at Tavona!

…more

Buyers Regaining Confidence in Getting Approved

July 11, 2008 by  
Filed under Finance

It looks as though there’s going to be a new leader in loan products this year. Considering the difficulty for buyers to meet the higher standards in getting a conventional loan, FHA loans are making a comeback. FHA loans have lost their value in previous years due to the ease and convenience in getting qualified for other products. “If you have a pulse, you can get a loan,” was the old joke that used to be heard near the water cooler. Now, increased standards of privately held banks have dissolved that saying into a feeling of impossibility. But, impossible is now hardly the case.

The challenge buyers now face when looking to qualify for an FHA loan is mostly the additional effort needed when going through the application process. However, as opposed to the newly required 10% down needed on conventional loans, a few benefits of FHA includes the ability to do 0-3 percent down, no income limit, and lower standards on credit score.

Virginia Lawson, a mortgage adviser for Cobalt Mortgage told us that there are a couple of factors buyers should consider before determining whether or not FHA is a viable solution.

  1. The purchase must be a primary residence, and a borrower can only have one FHA loan at a time. However, there are some exceptions. For example, Lawson tells us that someone with a primary residence in California, who is being relocated for a job, can still qualify. “It has to make sense,” she says.
  2. If you are looking at a condo, the building must be FHA approved. While several buildings downtown have already been approved, there are many that have not. After getting approved, it’s important to ask your agent if the building has been approved, but you can feel good about buildings that have either been built prior to 2000, or are currently under construction. Lately, developers have been including FHA approval in the development process considering recent challenges within the lending industry . Because this is a recent trend, new buildings that have already been available for occupancy may need approval.

New Construction Properties:
3 Classifications

  1. Proposed – The home is in the process of being done.
  2. New Existing – done but less then 1 year old. You must provide the following:
    As far as new construction single family, which is defined by FHA as homes that are less than one year old, the following documentation is required:
    (a) Copy of the Building Permit
    (b) Copy of the Certificate of Occupancy
    (c) Copy of all the construction inspections completed by the local authority that has jurisdiction (city, county, etc)
    (d) Fully completed and signed Builder’s Warranty (Form HUD-92544)
    (e) Fully completed and signed Builder’s Certification of Plans, Specifications and Site (Form HUD-92541)
    (f) Statement signed by borrowers as follows: “We are aware that the property was not approved by HUD prior to the start of construction and the Department does not have authority to provide financial relief for any future property repairs under Section 518(a) of the National Housing Act”
  3. Existing

Check List for Spot Approval (Needed if building is not FHA approved):

*Subject to verification

  • The legal documents of the homeowners association do not contain a right of first refusal or restrictive covenant.
  • The unit is part of a condominium regime that provides for common and undivided ownership of common areas by the unit owners.
  • The project, including the common elements, and those of any Master Association, are complete, and the project is not subject to additional phasing or annexation.
  • (a) There are no special assessments pending.
    (b) No legal action is pending against condominium association, or its officers or directors.
  • The common areas have been under control of the homeowners association for at least one-year.
  • At least 90 percent of the total units have been sold.*
  • At least 51 percent of the total units in the project are owner-occupied.*
  • There are no adverse environmental factors affecting the project as a whole or individual unit.
  • No single entity owns more than 10 percent of the units in the project(s).*
  • The units in the project are owned in fee simple or the units are held under a leasehold acceptable to FHA.
  • The owners association has adequate common area insurance coverage. General liability, replacement coverage, etc.. Reflects the character, amenities and risks of the particular development.
  • Flood and other insurance carried, when applicable.
  • General maintenance level of common elements is acceptable and there is no deferred maintenance, based on the comments by the Appraiser and/or the pictures.
  • The owners association has a reserve plan and reserves fund, separate from operating account, which is adequate to prevent deferred maintenance. The amount of the fun is $____ as of _____.
  • (a) For projects consisting of over 30 units, no more than 10 percent of the total units are encumbered by FHA insured mortgages.*
    (b) For projects consisting of 30 units or less, no more than 20 percent of the total units are encumbered by FHA insured mortgages.*

Virginia Lawson has over 16 years experience in helping people learn about financing and what loan program works best for their needs. To see if you qualify for FHA, or would like to simply learn more about your options in obtaining a home loan, please contact Virginia at (425) 605-3129 or visit her website.

Next Page »