Seattle-area housing market splits into 2 dramatically different pieces
John Manning, who works in Ballard but has listings in Snohomish County, said he’s seen an influx of empty-nesters moving to more affordable, smaller homes up north. And with Amazon picking up its hiring in Bellevue, there has been more activity from its employees looking in Kenmore and north across the county line, he said.
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However, John Manning, managing broker at RE/MAX On Market in Seattle, WA, says it depends. “This style works best if integrated into the house design – more contemporary/industrial chic seems to look the best – and works with the garage or room usage.” If the garage door is just going to be used for cars, he recommends sticking with a standard door. “However, if the roll-up door is insulated and used as a clever wall replacement, it could be a nice feature giving an indoor living space some expansion outdoors.”
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But the one I lost my heart to is in West Seattle on Beach Drive Southwest. It listed at $2.25 million and belonged to an Amazon executive and his wife — a beachy, beautiful, light-filled traditional waterfront home, with jaw-dropper views. The house gave me a relaxed, shoes off, toes in sand kid of feeling — a place I would never want to leave.
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However, in Seattle, which is a job hub for tech companies like Amazon, Google, and Facebook, Boeing, etc., millennials may have more of a shot—even though the median home price is higher at $733,400—says John Manning, owner and Realtor at RE/MAX On Market in Seattle. In the city, the median household income is $121,000, according to a recent “Seattle Times” article, which can afford a $302,500 house.
“Seattle, Washington, is a perfect example of a place where career, homeownership, and elimination of student debt intersect,” said Manning. “This empowers younger buyers to take on the risk of homeownership, safe in the knowledge that they have excellent employment prospects in the area.”
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First, let’s take a look at what HOAs are all about. When you buy a home in a managed community, you are actually buying a bundle of legal obligations and rights in addition to physical living space, says John Manning, managing broker at RE/MAX on Market in Seattle. “The associated HOA dues reflect the management style of the homeowners association. For example, some associations prefer a large cash reserve on hand to meet maintenance, legal or management obligations that arise. Others have lower fees and rely on special assessments – funds levied outside of HOA fees – for repairs and maintenance.”
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“I’d like to think that maybe in some small way this could put a dent in the notion of parking or laundering money,” said John Manning, a RE/MAX broker in Ballard. “How can a normal person compete with that?”
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John Manning, managing broker at RE/MAX On Market in Seattle, WA, puts it another way. “To deck the halls – or not? At the risk of sounding like a Grinch, we vote not.” Manning says buyers can hail from a variety of cultures and religious views, and if you want your home to appeal to the widest audience, you need to create a neutral environment. “Buyers are walking through prospective homes envisioning their own life in the home, literally thinking, ‘Will this home suit me and my family throughout the year?’”
Manning says the home should be the focal point, not the holiday. “Nuanced decorations (e.g. fall leaves/gourds, a tasteful wreath on the front door) are fine in moderation but we would caution against full-throttle holiday decor.”
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Listen to John Manning, of RE/MAX On Market. “There’s a healthy correction to the ‘red hot’ sellers’ market last spring with its multiple offers, low inventories, waived contingencies, and frustrated buyers,” Manning notes. “Sellers are realizing that it may take weeks or months to sell their home and to be competitive, they may need to make property improvements, invest in staging and marketing. Buyers are awakening to the fact they have more choice and purchasing power.”
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John Manning, managing broker at real estate firm RE/MAX On Market in Seattle, says he was one of the early adopters in the short-term rental business and he’s seen how cities have stepped up regulations in recent years.
“As a short-term rental owner, I welcome it,” he says. From Manning’s perspective, government licensing not only ensures rental properties are operating within established ground rules, but also creates stability in the housing market. Without regulation, people might be quick to snap up properties to rent out, which could reduce the affordability and community atmosphere of local neighborhoods.
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Heading to Seattle, which has seen strong price growth and demand, John Manning, managing broker at RE/MAX On Market in Seattle, explains changing market dynamics. “It was not so long ago that most of the $1 million homes in Seattle were concentrated in a few well-known neighborhoods such as Queen Anne or Laurelhurst. This changed around the same time that Amazon, Google, Facebook and other great technology companies began to exponentially expand their workforce presence in the city. Today, $1 million homes can be found in almost every Seattle neighborhood and surrounding cities.”
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There is a typical process that buyers will go through: They will bid somewhat conservatively on the first house, lose by a lot, and be flabbergasted when they find out what the winning bidder did. Their frustration will cause them to increase their offer the next time, and the time after that. Eventually, a “winning at all costs” mentality takes over.
“It’s almost a psychological defeat that causes them to become desperate, quite frankly, and if they have the cash, they will often throw more cash at a home than the technical value itself might support,” said John Manning, a RE/MAX broker in Ballard.
5679 Beach Drive SW Featured in “Patti Payne’s Cool Pads”
“We absolutely love the beach lifestyle,” said the seller, who asked not to be named for privacy reasons. “Love waking up in the morning and smelling the saltwater, hearing the waves against the bulkhead and watching marine life out the windows.”
Managing broker and owner John Manning of RE/MAX On Market has the new Beach Drive Southwest listing.
“You’re very much at ease in this comfortable, traditional house. It’s a house with million dollar views that makes you sort of relax,” says Manning.