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Sunday, February 05, 2006

Vulcan Plans Affordable Housing

Well, it seems that even if you're the seventh-richest man on Earth your money can't buy you a well-officiated Super Bowl. But can it make a dent in downtown Seattle's affordability for the working class? Paul Allen's Vulcan, Inc. intends to at least try.

Vulcan Inc. unveiled plans Monday to build affordable housing in South Lake Union that's aimed at allowing teachers, laboratory technicians and health care workers to live closer to their jobs in the burgeoning area.

Later this year, the Paul Allen-owned company will break ground on a 53-unit apartment complex for such lower-income workers — not the poor, but those making 80 percent of King County's median annual income, or roughly $43,000 for one person.

Once it's completed in 2008, the 33,000-square-foot building will become another pocket of relatively affordable housing in a city that has struggled at times to maintain its working-class housing stock as real estate values have soared.
Of course, if there is a bubble in Seattle, by 2008 it may well have popped. But they still get a gold star for at least trying to make a difference.

(Paul Nyhan, Seattle P-I, 02.02.2006)

13 comments:

Anonymous said...

Yes, there is a bubble in Seattle.

And yes, by 2008 anyone of even modest means will be able to afford a home without help from an outside agency.

Thank God.

seattle price drop said...

Here are just a few of the price reductions in "desirable" NE Seattle:

NE 86 St.: 549,950 > 479,950 (-70K)

12 Ave NE: 369,950 > 299,950 (-70K)

Lakeside Ave. NE: 1,195,000 > 999,000
(-196K)

There are many many price reductions happening right now in Seattle.

Some are paltry (5-6%) and others are getting more substantial (10-20%).

It is very clear what is happening here.

If you've lived in Seattle for more than 15 years you can see that prices have just begun to go down and that they'll be going down for a long time to come.

In a matter of months, the 5-6% reductions will turn into 10-20% and the 10-20% reductions will turn into 20-40%.

This market has no where to go but down.

Also, they have started changing MLS listing ID's.

Here is one example:
6306 17 Ave. NE original # 25178228
new # 26013008

It was taken off the market then re-listed with a new number.

Anonymous said...

Hmmm.. Looks like we might have some folks pulling their listings off the market.

The three zip codes in Seattle that I check regularly had a combined total yesterday (Sunday) of 201 properties for sale.

Today (Monday) there are 132.

What do you think folks?

Did everybody run out after the Superbowl ended and buy a house?

Or did a whole bunch of people just give up?

Maybe they'll have better luck in the Spring!

lower-income worker said...

crap. I just found out I am a lower-income worker. This on top of the super bowl has really ruined my day.

Saw two houses in Ballard go for more than $500k, they went in a week or so. Thats more than they were going for last summer.

waiting said...

Have no fear, lower income worker, hose Ballard houses will be within reach.

It's just a matter of time.

Dukes said...

seattle price drop - great info! I appreciate the work you did to find these.

I myself have been looking at houses in Queen Anne and have seen several reductions after the houses were on the market for only a couple of weeks.

It is evident that there are plenty of fools still out there who do not see what is happening around them. These people will get hurt if they are buying now, but the market always needs its sheep, such is life.

seattle price drop said...

Thanks Dukes! My hope is that as more people start investigating their neigborhood of choice, they can supply the rest of us with some info. so we can get a picture for Seattle as a whole.

Perhaps you can give us a few numbers from Queen Anne now and again?

I was very surprised to see the number of days on the market of some of the properties I checked. In particular some Belltown condos and a very beautiful SFH on Capitol Hill that had DOM's of upwards of 270 days!!!

Can you imagine something like that happening a couple years ago?

And, like you, I've also seen these price drops that happen within a couple weeks of coming on the market. A 450,000 house dropped to 425K in 18 days- not too shabby for less than a month!

All of this makes me think (especially the 270 DOM) that this Seattle bubble has been popping for quite a while now and has just been hidden from our view.

Now, with things like Zip Realty posting the Price Reductions and DOM's, it's getting easier to ferret out the truth with hard facts.

Dukes said...

The reason I say that there are still a lot of 'sheep' around has to do with this story from yesterday:

I was walking my little pooch around our Queen Anne neighborhood and I always go past one house that is now on the market for 597K. It came on the market for 627 or 637K, I can't remember which.

Anyhow, as I am walking past the house a hipster type couple in a Mercedez pulls up and takes a flyer from the house. I say: "you know this house was just reduced by about 30K". They guy stares at me with this dumbass look and says...brilliantly..."why do you think they did that"?

Holding in my laughter I said: "take a look at this - do you think it is worth what they are asking"?

I think this pissed off his wife/girlfriend because she called him back into the car. It continually amazes me how people are willing to spend a half of a million dollars or more without doing any research into market trends. Well, so much for my story. I think things are going to get much, much, much worse for the lemmings up here.

seattle price drop said...

Oh brother....

There is a LONG way to go up here if it never even occurred to this guy that prices MIGHT be dropping!

I mean, come on, it's already been here and there in the news!

So this is good news for sellers in the area: There are still some utterly clueless buyers lurking in Seattle.

Still time to get out while the goings good if fate happens to send one of these ignoramuses your way!

I bet some of those price-drops I've seen wish this guy would stop by.

Anonymous said...

after Ziprealty.com added the reduced price feature, it seems like an awful lot of places have a reduced price in less than 30 days. Sometimes after 2 weeks. Isn't that kind of quick to reduce? What's driving it? Comparable sales?

It seems that depending on the zip code, seattle averages about 23% of current listings have a reduced asking price. Normal?

Dukes said...

I'm not sure if that amount of reductions is 'normal' anonymous, but it shows that some people are aware of what is going on.

It can be frustrating watching the sheep throwing themselves off the cliff, it seems there is a never ending supply of them.

I am convinced this will take time here in Seattle as people up here seem especially oblivious in monetary and fiscal matters. But, that will just make it WORSE when it ultimately falls through.

seattle price drop said...

Anon 5:06

re the small price reductions after just a short time on the market:

I think that, because prices ARE going down, and a lot of people (Dukes clueless stranger not withstanding) ARE aware of that it makes the seller a bit anxious as to what the "worth" of his property actually is.

People are really shooting in the dark now that the tide's starting to turn and the days of run-away appreciation are plainly over.

I think most owners are well aware that they themselves would never in a million years have purchased their own beloved home for the price it would have gotten in the past year.

Prices for homes became so imaginary and ludicrous that people lost their compass and common sense.

Now we know it's finally over but what's the next step?

It's a scary time many because we haven't found the new ground for house evaluation yet.

Some (semi-realistic) realtors advise clients that in a falling market, a seller should reduce the price 5% every week to keep up with the downward trend.

And perhaps some of these sellers have lived thru other RE crashes and are nervous to unload cuz they know what will happen if they don't.

Remember, a lot of people (most?) who "bought" these severely over-priced homes COULD NOT AFFORD them. They only got in with "creative financing" and funny money. Those people may be particularly anxious to sell. I know I would be!

If I were an anxious seller I'd just undercut the price back as far as I possibly could and to hell with profits - quick and painless- lesson learned and get on with my life.

The neighbors would hate me but what the heck, at least I would have sold my house and the neighbors can only live in fantasy land for so long when the RE situation changes.

But I think, in the beginning anyway, which is where we are, most sellers are still holding onto their dreams of riches so they go down just a bit (like the 5%).

We live in very interesting times.

synthetik said...

I am moving to Seattle from San Diego and have been studying the market here for a long time. It seemed the market peaked here in Summer 2004 and has been on a steady, slow decline since then.

Everyone is talking about the bubble here and EVEN realtors will admit to it if you press them a little.

San Diego is supposed to lead the way in terms of real estate - so it would stand to reason that these conditions will occur in othe "bubble" markets like Seattle.