Along with the Sleepless in Seattle floating home and maybe Christian Grey’s Escala penthouse, Frasier Crane’s condo often comes to mind when out-of-towners think about living in Seattle. Located in the fictional Elliott Bay Towers, the three-bedroom, three-bath luxury condo has view of the Space Needle and Seattle skyline so amazing, it’s no surprise that it’s entirely fictional. The backdrop image used was actually taken at Kerry Park and would be impossible from any real condo.
But what if it were real? What if Frasier Crane, tired of constantly bickering with his father, brother, and live-in housekeeper-turned-sister-in-law, decided he wanted to move on? Given the state of the Seattle housing market—especially the condo market—surely he could get a nice chunk of change for the place, right?
Since Frasier’s 25th anniversary is coming up on September 16, we decided to pose that question—for the third time—to a few local real estate brokers who would know. These are the people who deal in downtown condos and luxury homes every day. Here’s what they came up with.
Numbers in millions have been rounded to two decimal places.
Broker: Windermere’s Jeff J. Reynolds
October 2016 price: $2.6 million to $2.75 million.
January 2018 price: $3.5 million
September 2018 price: $3.63 million
Rationale: For the first time in the last five years, Seattle condo owners are a little perplexed. Recent buyer fatigue and a spike in inventory is finally slowing the hottest housing market in the country. With that said, this hasn’t changed the strong economic fundamentals of the Emerald City.
Since 2010, Seattle’s population growth reached 18.7 percent (Seattle Times). Secondly, Seattle has Nordstrom, Boeing, Microsoft, Costco, Weyerhaeuser, Paccar, Amazon, and more. The labor market is strong and the Frasier condo is just a short Uber ride from expanded satellite campuses for Facebook and Google.
Frasier’s condo if sold, would have some stiff competition. There are 57 units in the downtown Seattle market priced over $1 million and 21 units priced over $2 million. In January of this year, I valued the Frasier high-rise city suite at $3.5 million. This was in consideration of a $500,000 remodel that [Frasier would have] completed in 2018.
The condo is positioned to continue to grow in value. I don’t see any reason why the long-term growth and appreciation would subside. As one of Frasier’s most trusted advisors, I would urge him to hold onto this valuable asset. I believe the market value of Frasier condo today is $3.63 million. Keep it old buddy; this high-rise space is one valuable asset.
Broker: Windermere’s Michael Doyle
October 2016 price: $2.86 million
January 2018 price: $3.3 million (at least)
September 2018 price: $3.5 million
Rationale: Okay, Frasier: Time to sell your condo. It’s been a good run (longer than your show) and time for you to re-balance your real estate portfolio. When you asked me my opinion in 2016 and again earlier this year, you held because you just couldn’t bear to sell in what you thought was an endlessly appreciating market. In that case, a quieter market like this one should better fit your disposition.
There’s still a market out there (still unsatisfied demand from springtime and more employees from Google, Facebook, Expedia, etc are on their way), but it certainly is slower than it was. Furthermore, the market over the next several months is likely to be a bit jittery due to rising inventory levels, national mid-term elections, a bit of conflict at the local political level, the impending Amazon HQ2 announcement, and timidity in the market based simply on the long run-up in appreciation we’ve had.
When you sell, we can spread your risk around a bit, maybe find some opportunities in the cold winter months, and possibly simply take some chips off the table as you enter your slower years (Amazon’s IMDb assures me that you have been working…I just didn’t know it).
Sure, you could hold the property indefinitely; that’s a move validated by the history of West Coast price appreciation in the U.S. and your AAA+ south slope Queen Anne location, but why don’t you let someone else come in, update those tired finishes, and breathe new life into your pad?
Let’s list next Friday at $3.5 million, a touch higher than my last recommended price ($3.3 million) and review offers as they are presented (do not “wait to review”).
October 2016 price: $2.4 million to $3.6 million, depending on square footage
January 2018 price: $3 million, if Frasier never remodeled
September 2018 price: $3.3 million
Rationale: It’s only been about nine months since our last value opinion pegged [the condo] at $3 million. The luxury condo market in downtown Seattle priced above $2.5 million has been experiencing median home prices rising about 1 percent per month with an increased absorption rate demonstrating greater strength in demand. Year to date 2018 witnessed nine sales over $2.5 million compared to just five a year earlier. [The] average price per square foot for this peer group at $1,465, climbing about 13 percent. So it would be fair to set a price point of $3.3 million today. Greater values face headwinds given the age of the building and dated finishes, although there is some value associated with the celebrity residence. RSIR sold the inspiration condominium behind Fifty Shades of Grey for $8 million exactly two years ago, and that same home is now being reintroduced to the market at $11.5 million.
Frasier is going to find some competition, however. Currently there are 11 listings priced between $2.5 million to $4 million with an average asking price of $1,526 per square foot and these buildings are, generally speaking, newer—albeit only one offers a similar Space Needle view offered from Penthouse Six at the Concord, which is asking $3 million.
This fall, RSIR is bringing to market Spire, a new 41-story high-rise condominium under construction at 6th and Wall Street and will offer unobstructed views of the Space Needle when it’s complete in late 2020. Ironically, we are creating a Frasier-inspired floor plan that will comprise approximately 2,000 square feet on floors 33 through 37 just below the two penthouse levels. Adorning the northwest corner of this tall and slender tower, with two bedrooms plus den, nine-foot, six-inch ceilings, expansive window walls, and a large terrace with a picture-perfect view of the Space Needle, prospective buyers will soon have the opportunity to live this very Frasier lifestyle. And fortunately, the price guidance on this very floor plan will be in the low-to-mid $3 millions.
September 2018 price: $2.95 million
In October of 2016, other Seattle-area agents and real estate experts valued the Frasier condo at a median price of around $2.7 million. In January of 2018, the market saw an exponential rise in price and a drop in inventory so the price changed accordingly, with experts estimating the market value at around $3 million to $3.5 million. All of these estimates took into consideration the potential renovations Frasier would have completed in order to appeal to today’s cosmopolitan buyer.
Since then, Seattle’s frenzied market has started a cooling trend. Buyers are exhausted from five-plus years of heated competition for housing, coupled with interest rates inching upward and salaries not keeping pace with the double digit appreciation. Despite these factors, as John L. Scott’s chairman and CEO J. Lennox Scott stated this month, Seattle still has one of the best job growth markets in the nation, and homes priced higher than $2 million have transitioned to a balanced market with selective sales activity.
With the current market conditions in mind, I would recommend a lower list price for Frasier’s condo as we head into the fall and winter months. While Mr. Crane’s luxurious condominium radiates opulence and appeals to the upscale Seattle purchaser, we don’t want him to experience market wear due to the seasonal fluctuations we are experiencing, which would cause us to chase the market downward in price. At $2.95 million, his 3,000-square-foot luxury condominium would be priced at just under $1,000 per square foot, which could attract many high-end buyers and potentially elicit multiple offers and/or an escalated price.
An aggressive pricing strategy for his luxury abode would result in us locating another pooch-friendly Seattle household making Eddie very happy. Woof, woof!
You’ve heard from the experts. So what do you think Frasier’s apartment would go for on the open market?
How much would Frasier’s condo sell for 25 years later?
This poll is closed
Less than $1 million
$1 million to $1.99 million
$2 million to $2.99 million
$3 million to $3.99 million
$4 million to $4.99 million
$5 million or more