real estate | KNKX

real estate

Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

March and April are typically real estate's busiest months, when most of the inventory comes on line and most of the houses are bought and sold. But this year is dramatically different.

Gabriel Spitzer / KNKX

This story originally aired on May 19, 2018.  

The rising cost of Seattle real estate isn’t just affecting housing: it’s also bearing down on houses of worship.

The tide of rising rents and gentrification has pushed a string of churches out of Seattle neighborhoods such as the Central District and West Seattle. And that’s had an interesting side effect in nearby Skyway, wedged between Seattle and Renton.

KNKX

A Seattle organization known for conserving forest and farmland has achieved a milestone in its urban efforts.

Forterra has raised $10.25 million in investments into its "Strong Communities Fund." It's one avenue service providers and community groups can use to have more say in what gets developed in their neighborhoods.

Keith Cooper / Flickr

Here’s one more thing to worry about if you’re trying to buy a home in the hot Seattle real estate market: You could get duped into wiring your down payment to a fraudulent account.  Real estate professionals across the country and in the Puget Sound region report an alarming spike in wire fraud.

Will James / KNKX

A fee that funds services for homeless people in Washington state is scheduled for a large cut in 2023. 

Washington residents pay the $58 document recording fee when they buy a home or perform other real-estate transactions.

In five years, it's scheduled to shrink by more than half, to $28. That means a cut of tens of millions of dollars statewide for anti-homelessness programs. 

Simone Alicea / KNKX

A deal has been reached between the owners, a developer and two nonprofits on a valuable piece of property in Seattle's Central District.

Lake Union Partners has agreed to buy the old Midtown Center property on 23rd Avenue and East Union Street for $23.25 million.

The property is one of the last full blocks of undeveloped land in the city and lies at the historical heart of Seattle's black community.

If the old real estate adage holds true — it's all about location, location, location — then about 100 miles off the tip of Florida, it's boom time. The real estate market in Havana, Cuba, is roaring.

The communist country is seeing its colonial-style mansions and Art Deco apartments selling in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. Add a Caribbean sea view or a prized spot in a pre-revolution, exclusive neighborhood, and the price can top a million bucks. The prices are soaring, along with speculation in this budding and risky all-cash real estate market.

Elaine Thompson / Associated Press

More millennials are beginning to buy homes, according to a new report on housing trends from Zillow.

The Seattle-based real estate company looked at trends for home buyers and sellers across the country. The survey found that 42 percent of people buying homes are between 18 and 34 years old, the largest share of home buyers.

ELAINE THOMPSON / AP PHOTO

The median price for a single-family house in Washington state hit an all-time record of $317,500 in the second quarter of 2016.

That beats the prior record of $316,700 set in 2007, just before the housing market crashed, according to an analysis by the University of Washington's Runstad Center for Real Estate Studies.

SounderBruce / Flickr

Tacoma has a message for all the technology companies competing for space in Seattle’s South Lake Union neighborhood: Look south.

On Wednesday, Tacoma will hold an economic showcase to sell the city as a good place for locating a business or developing property, and the man whose job it is to attract developers and executives to the city is Ricardo Noguera, community and economic development director for Tacoma. 

Elaine Thompson / AP Photo

Single women in Washington state own homes that are worth less, on average, than ones owned by single men, according to a new report from RealtyTrac.

Homes owned by single women in Washington are worth about $9,000 less than homes owned by single men. Nationally, the gap is even bigger – about $26,000. 

Zillow

If you’re a homeowner in the Seattle area, you might be interested to hear that Zillow is forecasting another jump in property values this year, driven in part because many tech workers are opting to live in and around Seattle instead of the San Francisco Bay Area. 

Elaine Thompson / AP

That Starbucks around the corner from your house may be draining your wallet, latte by latte. But if you’re a homeowner, it may be paying off for you in other ways, in the value of your home, for example.

That’s one of the eye-catching findings that two executives of the Seattle-based real estate data firm Zillow reveal in their recent book, "Zillow Talk: The New Rules of Real Estate."

Redfin

In the world of online real estate companies, Seattle-based Zillow has dominated headlines lately with its plans to purchase rival Trulia. Is that bad news for Redfin, another competitor based in Seattle?

In many American communities, buying a home is now less expensive than renting. And with the economics tilting in favor of homeownership, many first-time buyers are jumping into the market.

After eight years of renting, Kitsy Roberts and her husband, Janko Williams, are practically giddy about their new Seattle home. And like proud parents, they are eager to show it off, from its historic details to its fresh paint.

COEUR D’ALENE, Idaho - The housing market in the Northwest is finally showing signs of recovery. But there’s one sector of real estate that never let up during the economic downturn. Real estate agents who sell what’s known as “survival realty” are experiencing boom times. A remote corner of the Northwest has become a hotspot for home buyers wanting to ride out disaster – natural or otherwise.

Realtor Michael White guides me from room to room in a spacious three-bedroom, three-and-a-half-bath home. Let’s just say it’s somewhere in north Idaho.

Ashley Gross / KPLU

The number of apartments being built in downtown Seattle has jumped almost 10-fold compared with two years ago, suggesting the city’s downtown core is in the midst of a rebound.

The first condo building to start construction in five years also recently broke ground in the city's Denny Triangle neighborhood. That's another sign that the market may be beginning to revive, after the real estate crash brought condo construction to a halt.

The Associated Press

KPLU's  John Maynard posed this question to Seattle-area real estate appraiser, Richard Hager: "If I sold a $2 million dollar house and paid the real estate agent his standard commission, then he'd get $180,000 out of the deal. Is that a negotiable situation?" Hagar's answer?

Some banks will pay you if you keep your foreclosed house in good condition. That includes things like  mowing your lawn and keeping your toilets and countertops spick and span.

Seattle-area Real Estate Appraiser and educator Richard Hagar tells KPLU's John Maynard that some lenders offer in the neighborhood of $2,000.00 to ex-homeowners  for keeping foreclosed property looking neat and tidy. 

Great deals on new homes can be found on the plains and near the planes.

That's the word from Seattle-area real estate appraiser Richard Hagar. New developments on the  flatlands of  Quincy, Wash., and the "loud lands" near Sea-Tac Airport are being built and sold at a pretty fast clip. Hagar tells KPLU's John Maynard there are some interesting reasons for that.

David Zalubowski / Associated Press

Mortgage rates fell to near-record lows this week: The nationwide average for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage is 4.3% according to Freddie Mac. Rates that low are proving to be catnip to consumers in an otherwise dismal week.

PULLMAN, Wash. – The Washington Center for Real Estate Research at Washington State University reports home sales and prices declined in the second quarter statewide.

A decline in the number of homes for sale in the area has raised hopes the market is improving or at least stabilizing, but some analysts say it's actually proof of a bank foreclosure bottleneck.

Erin Hennessey

Back in the early 1960's, a string of motels along Seattle's Aurora Avenue North sprang up to accommodate tourists pouring into town to visit the Seattle World's Fair. Real Estate Appraiser Richard Hagar tells KPLU's John Maynard that a lot of this property is being redeveloped.

Bellamy Pailthorp / KPLU

Starting tomorrow, struggling homeowners in Washington have new rights. 

The Foreclosure Fairness Act signed into law in April is designed to prevent unnecessary foreclosures primarily by requiring banks to take part in mediation if borrowers ask for it and doubling the number of housing counselors.

Flickr

These days home sellers are facing an uphill battle, and qualified buyers are becoming ever pickier. Find out how traffic congestion and pending construction project - even those that benefit the community at large- can impede the sale of a house.

Erin Hennessey

The good news is that some sellers in the current real estate market are getting multiple offers on their property but buyers are being much more choosy when it comes to deciding on a new home.

Elaine Thompson / AP

Home prices in major markets around the U.S. dropped to their lowest levels since 2006 in March. But not in Seattle.

After falling almost two percent in February, Seattle home prices were up a modest 0.1 percent in March, but still down 7.5 percent compared to March 2010.

Justin Shearer / flickr.com

Remember the bidding wars over Seattle area homes before the housing bubble burst? Well, we're not returning to those crazy days just yet, but the Northwest Multiple Listing Service (NWMLS) says there are signs that the market may be warming up a bit. Home sellers in some neighborhoods are seeing multiple offers again. But it's not a boom; overall, the latest numbers show fewer sales and lower prices than a year ago.

File photo

Despite the massive fraud that has emerged as the U.S. tries to dig itself out of the foreclosure mess at the heart of the great recession, there are still huge numbers of honest folks working in the real estate business. 

That's according to professional appraisers in Washington state, dozens of whom have signed an on-line petition. 

Pages