King County Home Prices 2010

King County Home prices in 2010 will have to escape two mega foreseeable dip factors, in order to keep in the 2005 – 2006 price range. Early last year I called bottom and the end of the downward spiral, when median home price for King County was at $362,700. The year ended at at a median price of $380,000, and early closings for 2010 are running at an unsustainable high of $196 mppsf.

What to watch for in 2010:

1) Prices should stay in the 5% this way or that range of $380,000. Expect a low of $361,000 to a high of $400,000. We reached that point in June of 2009 when it hit $399,000, and then backed off from there toward year end.

King County median home prices should stay within 5% of $380,000. If they move out of that range on the up or down side, it will be time to “take notice” of which way it is going out of the expected zone and why.
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2) Even more important than staying in the 5% this way or that of $380,000 above, would be falling into 2004 price levels. Several times I have been quoted as saying that prices will maintain at 2005 levels, and so far that has been correct. We have a considerable cushion between current home prices and 2004 levels here in King County. For this graph I used median price per square foot, noting 2004 pricing as RED, the danger zone.
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While I am still fairly confident that we will stay in 2005 – 2006 levels for the foreseeable future, I have a couple of concerns for 2010. The first, of course, is the end of the Tax Credit for Homebuyers. If we are high enough in that above $380,000 range as to median price by the time that happens, we should stay in the safe range when we take the post credit dip. If we trend down in the first quarter toward bottom, then the end of the credit will be a more worrisome event.

I am more concerned with how 2010 Assessed Values will impact home prices next year and beyond. While I agree that the County needed to back down those prices to cut back on the expensive appeal process, I see a dark cloud on the horizon. Many people have come to use County Assessed Values in some form or another when determining value and fair offer prices. The huge dip in Assessed Values from 2009 to 2010 could trigger a reaction from home buyers forcing prices into another downward spiral. We can only hope that people will look at Automated Valuation Models or “the comps”, instead of County Assessed Values. Dramatically reduced assessed values could have an unwarranted, unexpected and negative impact on home prices in the coming year. Only time will tell. That cloud may come and rain on us…or blow out to sea.

Barring a new event, look for home prices to be in the 2006 range for the strongest of neighborhoods and early 2005 range for the weakest of neighborhoods. Weakest being those with the most foreclosures and strongest being those with the least foreclosures.

East Home Prices by Style and Age of Home

North Seattle Townhome Prices by Zip Code

A Decade of Green Lake Home Prices and Sales Volume

(Required Disclosure – Stats are not compiled, verified or posted by The Northwest Multiple Listing Service)

Seattle’s Queen Anne Neighborhood Is Amazing

Queen Anne has long been one of my favorite Seattle neighborhoods because of its easy proximity to Downtown Seattle while still maintaining a “small town” feel.

Queen Anne Seattle WAThe Queen Anne Neighborhood of Seattle is amazing from all angles – on the North slope there are lovely views of Ballard & Fremont over the canal and the Fremont Sunday Market is practically right there!  To the East is Lake Union with houseboats all along Westlake, the Bigelow Ave portion of Queen Anne Boulevard, Downtown Seattle views, and more.  In the Southeast, the newer QFC is just one of the factors that make this part of the neighborhood score high on WalkScore (my latest Queen Anne contract  in this area has a WalkScore of 94!!!).  In the shadow of the iconic Space Needle, Lower Queen Anne or Uptown is full of restaurants, pubs, and nightlife and has the Seattle Center at its heart.  West Queen Anne is perched high above Puget Sound and offers sweeping views of the sound, city, Space Needle, Mount Rainier, and pretty much anything else you want to see as it is one of Seattle’s highest hills.  Upper Queen Anne is the true heart of the neighborhood and a stroll or drive along Queen Anne Ave North will show you why.  This is the heart of the upper portion of Queen Anne and where you can find all of the offerings from local clubs, restaurants, and merchants. One of my personal favorites is Queen Anne Books.

Historical Queen Anne: Queen Anne

Queen Anne is one of the original Seattle neighborhoods settled and the history of it is quite fascinating!   A stroll around Queen Anne Boulevard is a great place to start.  Old Queen Anne Boulevard is a series of streets that form a loop around the top of Queen Anne – a crown around the top of the hill.  Many people don’t know about the Boulevard, but it has been around in one form or another for about a hundred years thanks to the citizens of Queen Anne at the time who pushed for it.   Queen Anne Boulevard is Queen Anne’s version of the Green Lake path although it is almost a mile longer at roughly 3.7 miles and shares its surfaces with cars.   Look for historical sites on the Boulevard including the Wilcox Wall on the West slope, but also notice that there are some of the city’s best views along the way!

Queen Anne Real Estate:

Homes in Seattle’s Queen Anne neighborhood range from small co-ops and condos for under $200,000 to sweeping historical mansions priced in the millions, but the current median for listed residential (non co-op or condo) Queen Anne homes is $650,000 with a range of $325,000 to $4,890,000.  Although much of Queen Anne hill is made up of historical architecture, there are some really well thought out new construction projects on the hill – many that incorporate greener building products and that have incorporated the character of the surrounding neighborhood as well as the views available into their design.  Queen Anne has a lot to offer and can be surprisingly more affordable than one might initially have thought  in some areas.

Queen Anne Living:

This neighborhood is so livable!  The streets of Queen Anne are connected by a matrix of pedestrian staircases  (check out Thomas Horton’s map of them here) and sidewalks which lead to the wide array of  neighborhood parks, local grocers and shops, eateries, coffee houses, and more.  Transit is thoroughly incorporated into the infrastructure here with bus routes all over the hill.  If you are looking for a good no car option, than Queen Anne is definitely one of my top recommendations in Seattle, but obviously, with or without a car, it is one of my favorite Seattle neighborhoods!

Moving to Seattle – Bridges and Traffic


Thinking about moving to Seattle? Wondering what the traffic is like around here? Before you look at homes on the internet, I strongly suggest you study the Transportation Layout of the Seattle Area.

Often where you live, involves which side of “the bridge” you work on. This Seattle Area Traffic map gives you an excellent broad overview of how you get to and from. Study the “black traffic clog points” on that map for a two week period at various times each day during that two week period. That will give you a pretty good idea of normal traffic patterns, except for the few times each year when the bridge is closed.

Take a long hard look at Lake Washington. It’s HUGE and worthy of due consideration as to how you are planning to get over or around it.

My perspective centers more around the 520 bridge, and around the north side of Lake Washington, with occasional travel over the 1-90 bridge. Locals always refer to this bridge as “The 520 Bridge”, but if you are looking for info on it,  you will find it under “Evergreen Point Floating Bridge” in wikipedia, even though the name was officially changed to “The Governor Albert D. Rosselini Bridge-Evergreen Point” in 1988.

Sometimes people will simply say “the 520”, but more often they will say that when referring to the part of that road that is on The Eastside, vs the floating bridge portion of that “road” going over Lake Washington.

One of the reasons I decided to write on this today, is because I was reading updates to the Pontoon Construction Project posted on The Washington State Department of Transportation website. On a good day, travelling back and forth across the 520 Bridge is not a huge deal. On a bad day (when the bridge is closed or partially blocked by a stalled vehicle) one would have been wise to consider the alternative travel options, when deciding where to buy a home.

My general advice is to buy a home on the side of the bridge where you work, unless there is a really good reason not to do that. Very often my first question of someone who calls me about buying a home here in the Seattle Area, especially if they are moving here for a new job, is “Where are you going to be working?”

Moving to Seattle?

I recently began an ad campaign on google that places an ad when someone searches the term “moving to seattle”

Did you click on that ad to get to my site?

If so, I’d be especially interested to know what type of information that you are looking for! Is there something specific you would like to know about Seattle?

If you wouldn’t mind taking a minute to write a comment, I would sure appreciate knowing how I could serve you better!

Seattle walk