August Update: Seattle Rentals

eastlakecc

The last month of summer saw a small drop in rentals in King County this year. According to data found on the Northwest Multiple Listing Service there were 287 leased properties in August of 2015 with the average rental price being just over $4,000/mo. Statistics for King County show a slight decrease in rentals; 334 in August of 2014 compared to this year’s 287. As the number of leased properties dropped, prices for these rentals have steadily increased. The highest rental of the month this year was leased at $9,500/mo for a 2 bedroom, 2 bathroom apartment in the heart of downtown Seattle. Last year, some comparable downtown apartments had been leased for closer to $8,000/mo. For those interested in investing in rental properties it’s a great time to profit on the demands of the increasing rents in the King County rental market. Get in touch with an agent today to find out how you can benefit!

Seattle Rents Up 32% Since 2009

eastlakeccSeattle renters don’t need to be told that housing costs have risen dramatically over the past several years – that reality hits home when they write that rent check every month – but some might be surprised to learn just how far they’ve climbed. Rental rates here are up 32.38 percent since 2009 – more than twice the national average of about 15 percent – while incomes have only grown by 11 percent over the same time period. The only city with a greater increase was New York City, which saw a staggering 50.7 percent spike.

In a press release, NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun says that not only are renters feeling the squeeze, but home ownership and its guarantee of set monthly housing costs is becoming further out of reach due to rising home prices and stagnating incomes. Yun suggests that increased new-home construction aimed toward entry-level buyers would help renters transition to home ownership and take pressure off the rental market.

If you are interested in renting in Seattle, contact your local real estate agent today.

Renting Half As Affordable As Buying In the U.S.

eastlakecdIf you’re a renter, think about the amount you write on that check every month. Is it inching toward 30 percent of your monthly income? According to a new report by Zillow, gone are the days when mortgage rates made home ownership prohibitively expensive and renting was the affordable option. They report that the average renter in the U.S. is spending 30 percent of their monthly earnings on housing, and Seattle renters spend a little more than 30 percent, according to the Puget Sound Business Journal. Owning a home can cut that percentage in half, as homeowners pay only about 15 percent of their monthly income on their mortgage. Historically, renters have paid about 25 percent of their income toward rent.

Rents in Seattle are up a staggering 21.5 percent over the past five years, and with incomes only having grown 10.4 percent over that same span, renters are increasingly burdened with monthly housing costs. With mortgage interest rates hovering around 4 percent, first-time buyers in the U.S. are only spending an average of 17.5 percent on housing, even with many only paying a 5 percent down payment. Zillow says that even if interest rates rose to 7 percent, buying a home would be more affordable than it has been historically.

So, if you are looking to save on monthly housing costs, start saving those pennies for a down payment! If you are interested in real estate in the Seattle area, contact your local agent today.

Most Expensive Active Seattle Luxury Rentals

Although we usually profile and feature “run of the mill” luxury rentals, today I’d like to feature some of the most expensive active rentals on the market in Seattle and environs. We’re talking like… top 10. Yeah, the big kahunas. Not that the other’s aren’t enviable to say in the least!

10. $8,500

Located in Belltown, this property boasts not only views of downtown, but also Puget Sound and the Space Needle. With a gourmet kitchen, floor to ceiling windows, touch screen sound system, garage parking and two storage units. Listed by Joseph Kelly of Soleil Real Estate of Seattle.

9. $8,500

This contemporary Lake Union home boasts a 270 degree view of the water, heated floors, top of the line kitchen appliances and marble bath. This 1,000 square foot house was built in 2011 and has been on the market for 139 days and is listed by Scott Wasner of Sotheby’s.

8. $9,800

Want a penthouse? Who am I kidding, of course you do. And nowone is up for grabs! For rent at least. This 26th floor, 3,081 square foot residence boats three bedrooms and enormous 290 degrees of skyline, mountains, and water. Oak floors, maple cabinetry, gas fireplace, and a chefs kitchen. On the market for 44 days, this property is listed by Julia Tsurusaki with Pointe3 Real Estate.

7. $10,000

Out next most expensive property calls Mercer Island home. Originally listed at $12,000, this 3,880 square foot gorgeous waterfront home features a newly remodeled kitchen with an ensuite deck and jacuzzi tub (uh, that’s awesome). 85′ of waterfront with moorage and dock, two jets lifts and a boat lift. Nicely settled near some parks, what could get better? Not much, that’s what. Listed by Anthony Yap of TAG Realty.

6. $10,000

Tied at $10,000, this Laurelhurst home has only been on the market for a month. Fully furnished with views of Lake Washington, this 4,660 square foot contemporary northwest home comes with Laurelhurt Beach Club access. Offering five bedrooms and four bathrooms, it’s listed by Timothy Lenihan of Windermere Real Estate.

5. $11,000

Now, this one has me drooling. This unit is within the Four Seasons Private Residences Seattle. Two bedrooms and a den, valet parking, 24 hour security and concierge, mile high views, this 2,082 square foot overlooks the Great Wheel through floor to ceiling windows. With a gas fireplace and an ultra modern kitchen, it’s enough to make anyone go gaga. Listed by Scott Wasner of Sotheby’s.

4. $11,000

Another beauty at $11,000, the stunningly designed Arthur Erickson Highlands home is a looker. Having seen this sumptuous property myself, the views and grounds as well as the guest house, I can say will all certainty that it. is. worth. it. Listed by our own Betsy Terry of Our Distinctive Home Shop in Madison Park, this 7,470 square foot masterpiece is constructed  from polished concrete, with a glass ceiling. Mountain and sound views, and a Pemberley-esque (We got any Jane Austen fans out there? No? Just me? Okay) park off the swimming pool.

3. $12,500

Located in Hunts Point and built in 1995, this home is nestled on prime waterfront with lake, city, and mountain views. Designed by Curtis Gelotte, the house is nestled between manicured landscaping and old growth trees. With moorage and a dock, this 3,710 square foot home is full of natural wood and stone details, evoking the architectural style of the pacific northwest. Listed by Anna Riley of Windermere Real Estate.

2. $18,000

Another jewel of Hunts Point, this residence boasts a stunning Chihuly glass chandelier hanging from a sky-lit ceiling. This 3,000 square foot west-facing residence features rustic timers, posts, and beams embodies pacific northwest architecture and art. Listed by Tere Foster and Moya Skillman of Windermere Real Estate.

1. $20,000

Topping our list is a mansion in Clyde Hill. At 6,000 this european designed six bedroom, eight bathroom masterpiece was custom built in 2007. With a gated entrance and a large pool in the backyard, a large up to date kitchen, and an indoor jacuzzi. Listed by Robert Radulescu with The Force Realty.

Well folks, which one is your favorite??

Walkability Score- What is it and why does it matter?

Pioneer Square Pergola

Pioneer Square Pergola

Walkability- it’s a word that some of you may be familiar with already, and one that real estate marketing often uses. But what exactly does it mean?

Used by Walkscore.com, it’s intended definition is to indicate how easily and readily connected a property is to the neighborhood and community around it. For instance, is the nearest grocery store within easy walking distance? Or would it be necessary to drive there?

The higher a property’s Walk Score (or Transit Score or Bike Score) on a scale of 1-100, the more connected the neighborhood is with the property. Take this chart example. But what makes a community walkable?

  • A center: Walkable neighborhoods have a center, whether it’s a main street or a public space.
  • People: Enough people for businesses to flourish and for public transit to run frequently.
  • Mixed income, mixed use: Affordable housing located near businesses.
  • Parks and public space: Plenty of public places to gather and play.
  • Pedestrian design: Buildings are close to the street, parking lots are relegated to the back.
  • Schools and workplaces: Close enough that most residents can walk from their homes.
  • Complete streets: Streets designed for bicyclists, pedestrians, and transit.

Now, why is this score important? It’s generally known that those who walk more, whether it’s just a few steps or hundreds of steps a day are generally healthier than those who don’t. By walking more, not only do you get outside, but you also use your car less, and thereby reduce your carbon footprint. If you were able to find a property in a highly walkable area, you might be able to forgo the car altogether!

And here’s some great news: Seattle is rated as one of the most walkable cities in the U.S.! With a Walk Score of 71, a Transit Score of 57, and a Bike Score of 64, Seattle is the 8th most walkable city, with it’s most walkable neighborhoods being Downtown, the Denny Triangle, and Pioneer Square.

How important is the walkability of the neighborhood to you when looking for a new property?

Madison Park Rental Home: $6,250

madison park rental home

This nice sunny Madison Park home on a corner lot with a huge level and enclosed lawn area is now available for rent. Incredible, authentic craftsman features updates throughout, four bedrooms plus an office and sitting room. Kitchen, family room, and four and a half bathrooms with heated floors in a wonderful location, right across from McGilvra Elementary school and a short distance to Madison Park shops and restaurants. This is a classic home and fantastic location! If you’re interested in this, or other Seattle area rentals, contact your local real estate agent today.

Status: For Rent
Bed/Bath: 4/4.5
Price: $6,250

Average Rent In Seattle Area Nearing $1,300 Per Month

98121After rising by 6.8 percent in the first quarter of this year, the average rent for an apartment in the Seattle area is continuing to rise as the year progresses, and the average now stands at $1,284 per month, according to a report in The Seattle Times. Since this statistic includes not just the city of Seattle but the surrounding cities, as well, there is quite a bit of variation in the average price when broken down by city, and even by neighborhood. The average in West Bellevue tops the list at $1,912 per month, while the average in SeaTac is more than $1,000 cheaper at $901 per month. In the city of Seattle alone, the average is $1,445. There is also a significant difference in rental costs depending on when the unit was built. For units built after 2010, the average is $1,754, whereas the average for a building built in the 1970’s is $1,019.

Among Seattle neighborhoods, rents in Ballard have gone up by the highest percentage, having risen 12.3 percent over the quarter to $1,628. For a neighborhood that has historically been home to mostly single-family homes, the apartment-building boom is significantly changing the residential face of the neighborhood, and while rents are high, Ballard also posted the city’s highest vacancy rate of 8.6 percent in the second quarter. There are many units still under construction, and when they are complete apartment inventory will have quadrupled over the past six years. To go along with that, vacancy rates are expected to rise to 18 percent.

If you are interested in renting in the Seattle area, contact your local real estate agent today.

 

 

 

Washington Park Rental Home: $7,000

washington park home

This beautiful Washington Park rental home has spectacular views of Lake Washington and Mt Rainer from nearly every room, and is now available rent. This home was completely remodeled in 2007, and is in impeccable condition. There are 4 bedrooms on the top floor, an expansive deck which is adjacent to an open kitchen and living room, and also has a wonderful backyard, and a media room! The downstairs has a separate guest suite, and the home also includes an office with a wall-wall bookcase, and a wine cellar. There is a two car garage attached for your convenience. If you are interested in this, or other Seattle rentals, please contact your local real estate agent today.

Status: For Rent
Bed/Bath: 5&4
Price: $7,000/Month

 

Tips For Saving On Your Summer Garden

If you have an outdoor area with your rental home, then you’re likely aware of how much you can spend to make it lush and beautiful with greenery! If you don’t have a plan in place, you can very easily spend a fortune on grass, plants, pots, planters, flowers and more, and just as easily kill everything that you spent that fortune on. Here are some sure fire tips to creating a nice affordable garden on a budget. planter box

Know your space – Not having a plan before you go to the store to buy your plants, is like going grocery shopping on an empty stomach. Be sure to know what kids of plants/flowers will work best in your rental- Will they be in a shaded area? Will they be on the rooftop, which can be fairly hot? If you buy flowers that require sunlight, but will be sitting on your doorstep in the shade means they won’t even live to see sunny weather. Make sure you have a proper drainage system in place – plants don’t like when they’re roots are wet, and will not flourish as well as if they had ventilation.

Opt out of the expensive planters – If you have space for a container garden, planters can get very expensive, and there is a much cheaper, affordable option that is just as pleasant- pots! IKEA has a nice selection of pots, as well as Home Depot, and Fred Meyer.

Buy plants that come back every year – If you’re spending money on plants this summer, you want to enjoy them for a while so why not buy ones that grow back year after year, instead of the ones you only have for one season? Perennials are a great options, easy on the eyes and the pocketbook, and fairly low maintenance.

Soaring Rental Home Market Could be Good for Renters

Photo credit: www.third-estate.com

Photo credit: www.third-estate.com

More and more rental homes in the surrounding Puget Sound are becoming owned and managed by big investors and hedge fund companies; could this be a step in the right direction towards home-ownership for renters? According to the Seattle Times, a National study suggests yes! A study by Wall Street Analysts suggested that somewhere between $7 billion and $9 billion dollars in distressed family homes have been purchased over the past 5 years, and turned into rental homes by these big name investors. Unlike your average ‘mom and pop’ rental investor, these guys are buying dozens and on occasion hundreds of properties at a time through short sales, foreclosures, etc.

Although single family rental homes have always been a part of the rental scene, the involvement of these large scale companies is really allowing the category to take off. According to a different study,  single family homes account for 52% of all rental units in the country; 27% of all renters nationwide. The study also suggests that the boom in rental homes isn’t just a good opportunity for first time home buyers, but also those affected by the bust. About 60% of rental home tenants have expressed interest in buying in the next 5 years, compared with 44% of apartment and multifamily building renters. The study’s synopsis showed that single family rental homes are going to continue to be a growing part of the housing market, and a safe bet for future home buyers. For more information on the study, visit the Seattle Times.