Monday, March 20, 2006

Green Architecture I
The Seattle Real Estate Blog VI

New development brings economic growth and increased density in our core urban neighborhoods, which in turn reduces our impact on the natural environment while making housing more affordable. Mixed use buildings that include retail and restaurants on the ground floor make life simpler and more convenient for people in the neighborhood while reducing the number of automobile trips people take to get their daily tasks done. Whether you’re a fan of Mayor Greg Nickels or not, his advocacy for increased housing density should be commended.

Green Architecture is coming on strong in Seattle, and this bodes well for all of us. The Seattle Public Library in Ballard was constructed with very high standards for having a low environmental impact. It has a green roof, which reduces the heat island effect, reduces polluted runoff from urban streets into our streams and insulates the building from heat in the summer and cold in the winter. This and other green architectural features are finally becoming more common in Seattle.

Also in Ballard is a new green condominium complex that will be certified by Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED). The new Ballard condominium is called Hjarta, which is Icelandic for “heart”, and it is scheduled to be completed by the summer of 2007. At seven stories, this green building will be the tallest building in Ballard. Its design has much in common with the Ballard Library, including a green roof and the use of porous concrete paving to reduce runoff into our streams and reservoirs. This will be the first LEED certified residential building in Ballard.

For more information about Green Architecture and Sustainable Rmodel in Seattle, take a look at LEED’s certified project list, the City of Seattle’s Sustainable Building page, the Environmental Home Center and future posts right here on The Seattle Real Estate Blog.

As always, your comments are welcome. Please post your comments through the link below, or send email directly to

Friday, March 17, 2006

Marketing Luxury Real Estate I
The Seattle Real Estate Blog V

Selling luxury homes involves a special set of challenges that are not present in other segments of the real estate market. The most beautiful and unique homes are only available to a select group of real estate buyers, which means that the pool of potential buyers is relatively small. Luxury homebuyers are more likely to come from abroad or from other parts of the country, which means that signage and other local marketing practices are less effective for luxury real estate. It’s also true that exclusive homes frequently contain valuable art, furnishings, fixtures and finishes, so access to the property for co-operating Realtors and potential buyers must be limited. These challenges can be met and overcome by a talented and experienced Agent.

One way to increase the pool of potential buyers is to promote luxury property listings throughout the country and around the world. This kills two birds with one stone; reaching people in other geographical areas increases the pool of potential buyers, and the luxury homebuyers from abroad or across the country have easy access to information about the exclusive home. Residence International is a print magazine and a website that lists exclusive luxury homes, and it features articles about international communities and real estate markets. This magazine also contains information regarding relocation and international moving services. Other exclusive venues for promoting luxury properties include The Wall Street Journal’s nationwide and international editions, Christie’s Great Estates, John L. Scott's Quality Street Magazine and websites with international viewers like and

The problem with limited physical access to the luxury property for potential buyers with luxury home tastes can be solved with special promotional events. These periodic events not only confine buyer-related traffic to specific hours, but they also create exclusive happenings that many Realtors, luxury homeowners and luxury homebuyers will enjoy attending. The luxury home events accomplish two significant goals: they not only confine physical traffic to scheduled times, but they also create a celebrity status for the home while it’s listed for sale. A dedicated professional Agent will facilitate and finance the events, and an added benefit is that the homeowners can take advantage of the events to sell any art or furnishings that they choose not to take to another home.

For more information about Luxury Real Estate Marketing or anything else related to real estate, please keep watching The Seattle Real Estate Blog or visit I appreciate comments and suggestions for new topics. Thank you for your time and attention.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Residential Market Report I
King County
February 2005 and February 2006
The Seattle Real estate Blog IV

I spent some time today reviewing recent
King County figures for residential real estate sales. The month of February saw very little change in sales volume when compared to last year, and prices continue to appreciate. This is good news for homeowners and investors who want to sell homes this year, but the market is becoming increasingly exclusive and first-time homebuyers are being pushed farther out of Seattle's core urban neighborhoods.

In February 2006, 2,281 existing houses and condominiums sold with a median price of $344,950 and an average price of $412,324.

February 2005 saw 2,287 existing houses and condominiums sell with a median price of $309,950 and an average price of $381,595.

February's appreciation rates for residential real estate in King County remain strong. The average price of existing homes increased by $30,729, or 8.05%. The median price increased by $35,000, which translates into a hefty 11.29%.

It's true that Seattle and King County's real estate market is cooling a bit, but we continue to see healthy growth in the value of our homes. The period of the most rapid growth in the value of our residential real estate is past, and that means that this is an excellent time to sell and move up to your next home. And if you're interested in buying a second home in the city, investing in residential real estate or becoming a first-time homebuyer, the continuing growth of home values means you can afford a more desirable home now than you will be able to later in the year.

In upcoming posts I'll include graphical analysis of home values in Seattle and greater King County, along with more information about new construction and individual Seattle neighborhoods. If there's any specific information you would like to see here, please post a comment to this blog or drop me a line at