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Experts Talk 2013 Seattle Real Estate Trends & 2014 Predictions

Taking a cue from our sister site Eater Seattle, we're going to closeout the year by surveying local design, building, and real estate luminaries to get a read on the highlights and lowlights of the past year of real estate and development in Seattle. The answers to our questions are in no particular order; all responses cut, pasted and unedited. Yesterday we heard about Seattle's neighborhoods and buildings. Today, let's talk local real estate trends in 2013 and 2014

Biggest Seattle-area building trend in 2013

Galen Ward, CEO at Estately

Backyard chicken coops.

Jeff J Reynolds, UrbanCondoSpaces.com

Apartments. Seattle's massive job growth and income growth is bringing in institutional investment to the Seattle landscape. We will start to see more new condo announcements. Thank goodness.

Chad Pluid, Redfin Seattle Broker

Green homes and townhomes.

Brad Hinthorne, Associate Principal at Perkins+Will Seattle

Net Zero Aspirations.

Matt Goyer, urbnlivn.com

Apartments.

Sabrina Booth, Redfin Seattle Listing Specialist

Contemporary-modern designed townhomes.

Chrstian Nossum, Seattle Real Estate Broker

Modern Townhomes with rooftop decks. Most of the home buyers that want to live in prime North Seattle locations (Fremont, Ballard, Phinney Ridge, Green Lake, Wallingford, etc), want something newer (or brand new), and their budgets generally lead them toward townhomes. Out of the new townhomes I've been showing over the last year, most of these buyers are gravitating toward and eventually buying the ones with rooftop decks. The views from these decks are pretty amazing, and even though many think they might only be able to be used for one month out of the year, you'd be surprised that they're used numerous times a month, even in the winter.

Sum up 2013 in three words

Galen Ward, CEO at Estately

Let's Go Seahawks!

Jeff J Reynolds, UrbanCondoSpaces.com

Zero. Inventory. Period.

Chad Pluid, Redfin Seattle Broker

Not Enough Inventory

Brad Hinthorne, Associate Principal at Perkins+Will Seattle

Sonics and Seahawks

Matt Goyer, urbnlivn.com

Condos broke ground!

Sabrina Booth, Redfin Seattle Listing Specialist

Multiple Offer Madness

Chrstian Nossum, Seattle Real Estate Broker

Prices increased. BAM!

Seattle-area trend you'd like to see crushed in 2014

Galen Ward, CEO at Estately

Bicyclists getting struck by cars.

Jeff J Reynolds, UrbanCondoSpaces.com

Apartments. Boring. Most of them look ordinary. New restaurants please?

Chad Pluid, Redfin Seattle Broker

Low appraisals.

Brad Hinthorne, Associate Principal at Perkins+Will Seattle

Forced food fusion.

Matt Goyer, urbnlivn.com

Apartment starts replaced by condo starts.

Sabrina Booth, Redfin Seattle Listing Specialist

Traffic.

Chrstian Nossum, Seattle Real Estate Broker

Waiving the Home Inspection Contingency - I've seen this time and time again in 2013. Some Seattle real estate agents are advising their clients to waive the home inspection without actually performing an inspection. In a competitive market like today, paying $400-$500 to an inspector for a pre-inspection so that you can waive the inspection contingency in order to make your offer stronger isn't a bad idea. It becomes a bad idea when the buyer assumes that there isn't anything wrong with the property (or that the issues aren't that big of a deal), simply because another buyer is paying for a pre-inspection and still making an offer. This just doesn't sit right in my mind. I want my buyers to know what they are buying. It doesn't seem right to me (their advisor, an expert, and someone looking out for their best interest) to advise a buyer to just waive their home inspection in order to win the house. Do yourself a favor and get a pre-inspection done before you waive your inspection contingency.


Photo: Ronald Holden

Any predictions for 2014?

Galen Ward, CEO at Estately

Seattle real estate will go from overheated to merely hot as more people list homes for sale compared with 2013. Home prices will be up, but not as much
- More cheapo-modern box homes will be come on the market
- Beware bathrooms and kitchens: 2014 is peak subway tile
- Real estate photography app with a "magnify room" setting so we don't have to hire professional photographers to make a 10x10 space into 20x20
- Beacon Hill really gets discovered for being affordable, remarkably close to downtown, and increasingly cool.

Bonus Prediction for 2030…

"What the hell were we thinking when we built these ugly modern boxes with huge 'eyebrows' and bad floor plans all over Seattle?"

Jeff J Reynolds, UrbanCondoSpaces.com

Continued lack of inventory, we will look at the "best of whats available". Condos coming out of construction litigation will create buying opportunities for buyers can create competitive environments for sellers.) New condo project on Cap Hill? Our first condo/apartment conversion in 6 years?

Chad Pluid, Redfin Seattle Broker

I think we will see a slight increase in inventory, sales, prices, and mortgage rates. Market will continue to be strong with so many buyers out there and Seattle's great economy and jobs.

Brad Hinthorne, Associate Principal at Perkins+Will Seattle

Increasing rents, more construction cranes, more coffee shops, more Californication.

Matt Goyer, urbnlivn.com

Rents stabilize, condo prices start going up like rents were.

Sabrina Booth, Redfin Seattle Listing Specialist

All signs point to another strong year in real estate sales as interest rates continue to be very affordable and more people move into our area that are drawn by its strong local economy and booming tech industry.

Chrstian Nossum, Seattle Real Estate Broker

I still see the Seattle real estate market being just as strong in 2014 as it was in 2013. Seattle has so many well paying jobs, continued strong job growth, and bad traffic that I still don't see the suburbs as a place that the younger generation (25-34 year olds - my generation), want to live. That means that the prime Seattle neighborhoods will continue to be very desirable, competition in those areas will still be fierce at times, and home prices will continue to steadily increase. Interest rates can't stay historically low forever (check out this interest rate chart for a quick history lesson), and rates can effect your monthly payment more than a larger downpayment. If you are thinking of buying in Seattle over the next few years, it might make sense to make a move sooner than later before both prices and interest rates price you out of the market.

· Experts Talk Seattle Neighborhoods & Buildings In 2013 [Curbed Seattle]
Photos: Brad Kahn, Will Merydth, I. madhavan, Zero State Reflex