The P-I's July real estate report is amusing enough that I thought it deserved its own post. Apparently they got the "focus on condos" memo a week late. Plus, Kathy Mulady didn't have the same cleanup work to do as Ms. Rhodes. Anyway, here's a newsflash for you: condos are slightly cheaper than single family homes. You too can be a big-name real estate reporter. Just start with that amazing truth, then pump it, hype it, and transform it into yet another "real estate in Seattle is teh rox0rs" article! Ready... go!
Bob Hyde and his wife searched for a house they could afford in Seattle off and on for two years before they decided that maybe a condominium was the best way to break into the housing market in Seattle.Wow. After reading that, who wouldn't do whatever it takes to hitch a ride on the Great Seattle Equity Railroad? Drop the car, take out crazy financing, live in half the space for twice the price... just get in, no matter what.
"Ideally, we wanted a single-family house, but we are priced out of a house in town," said Hyde, 31. "Finally we decided that this was the time to buy if we were going to. Prices are escalating out of control, and we thought we'd better get into someplace and start building equity."
That place is a 600- square-foot condominium on Capitol Hill in a fully renovated 1910 building. With one bedroom and one bath, Hyde said he already knows it will be too small once they have children. By then, he said, he hopes they will have built up enough equity to buy a house.
Many first-time home buyers in Seattle and King County are looking at condominiums as a way of getting their foot in the door of the real estate market, and plan to trade up to a house later. With condo prices increasing faster than single-family homes in King County, it could be a good plan.
Hyde said they paid $271,000 for their condo when they bought it in April.
He said they couldn't envision living in any of the houses they saw for under $300,000.
"We looked at a lot of dumps for around that price," he said.
In addition to their mortgage, the Hydes pay a $300 monthly association fee, and could face extra assessments if major repairs are suddenly required for the building.
Hyde said he's optimistic that it's a good investment that will help them build the equity they need to buy a house in a few years.
Developers are responding to the needs of first-time buyers, with more moderately priced condos located closer to jobs.
"We recognize that there are a lot of higher-end high-rises and saw that the market might become saturated," said Doug Daley, president and chief executive officer of Harbor Properties.
If condo buyers live close to work, they might be able to get by without a car and put that money toward their housing, said Daley.
(Kathy Mulady, Seattle P-I, 08.08.2006)