Seattle Real Estate News & Market Trends

You’ll find our blog to be a wealth of information, covering everything from local market statistics and home values to community happenings. That’s because we care about the community and want to help you find your place in it. Please reach out if you have any questions at all. We’d love to talk with you!


Feb. 26, 2020

Puyallup Property Tax Rate To Fall In 2020

Property taxes are a thing, but to the average Puyallup homeowner, they'll be less of a thing in 2020 than they were in 2019. That's because the local property tax rate imposed by the City of Puyallup will decrease from $1.43 per $1,000 AV in 2019 to $1.33 per $1,000 AV in 2020 (and this has steadily declined from a high of $1.86 per $1,000 AV in 2013). Just twelve cents of every property tax dollar you pay goes to the city.

Part of the reason for the decline in the levy rate is, of course, attributable to the rise in property values. Another reason is that the voter-approved levy to construct the Puyallup Library will be paid off this month.

The City of Puyallup does not levy the full amount of property taxes it is authorized under law to collect. Rather, the City maintains a "banked capacity" in property tax collections which represents the difference between what it could levy and what it actually does. The City's maximum allowable levy for 2020 is nearly $12.5 million. The City Council could levy this full amount; however, the Council authorized a levy of only $9.24 million for 2020, leaving $3.2 million in banked capacity.

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Posted in News
Feb. 25, 2020

Tree preservation vs. development in Seattle

Seattle is the fastest growing big city of the decade, with more construction cranes crowding its skyline than anywhere else in the nation. Neighborhoods buzz with new high-rises and single family homes underway to house newcomers lured by high-paying technology jobs, world-class universities and easy access to outdoor pursuits.

But all that growth appears to be coming at the expense of one of the Emerald City's most iconic features: its urban forest, whose canopy shades roughly one quarter of Seattle's scenic topography of peaks, valleys and waterways.

Despite a 2007 goal to boost the tree canopy to 30% by 2037, not even the city knows precisely how many western red cedars, bigleaf maples, Douglas fir and western hemlocks have been felled on private property in recent years to make way for development, as permits are not yet required for all removals. But as Seattle's elder groves dwindle, a team of tree-loving locals is rallying friends and neighbors to keep track and push back.

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Posted in Local News
Feb. 14, 2020

Upper Luna Park-area plan pivots from townhouses to apartments

Doing some followup work in city files, we discovered a West Seattle development site with a significant plan change since we last reported on it. In September 2018, we noted an early-stage proposal for 30 townhouses at 3101 SW Bradford [map], a site in the upper Luna Park area, bordering the West Seattle Bridge. The file shows a new site plan (PDF) submitted this past November, for an 8-story building with approximately 100 apartments. 55 offstreet-parking spaces for cars, 88 for bicycles. The architect of record on the site plan is Studio 19.

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Posted in Local News
Feb. 13, 2020

U.S. Pending Home Sales Climb For a Third Time in Four Months

Contract signings to purchase previously owned U.S. homes increased in November for the third time in four months, consistent with steady progress in the residential real estate market.

An index of pending home sales climbed 1.2% from the previous month, missing the median forecast in a Bloomberg survey of economists, data out Monday from the National Association of Realtors showed. Underscoring the market’s turnaround from last year’s weakness, contract signings jumped 5.6% from November 2018 on an unadjusted basis.

The gain in signings shows the housing market remains supported by low borrowing costs, improving income growth and steady job creation. A stable tone in residential real estate through early winter may foreshadow a more robust spring selling season that could continue to add to economic growth.

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Posted in News
Jan. 16, 2020

US pending home sales rise in November

Contracts to buy previously owned U.S. homes rose in November, driven by a surge in new contracts being signed in the country’s West, the National Association of Realtors said on Monday.

The NAR’s pending home sales index, based on contracts signed last month, increased 1.2% to a reading of 108.5. The previous month’s reading was revised upward.

Pending home contracts are seen as a forward-looking indicator of the health of the housing market because they become sales one to two months later.

Compared with one year ago, pending sales were up 7.4%.

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Dec. 26, 2019

Mortgage brokers are not obsolete

Mortgage brokers have apparently reclaimed both their reputations and their market share in recent years according to Archana Pradhan, a risk management analyst for CoreLogic. She writes in the company's blog that brokers' share of the conventional conforming mortgage market hit 16 percent earlier this year. While this is only half its share before the housing crisis when it accounted for about one-third of originations, it has doubled since 2011.

Mortgage brokers' reputation for loan quality took a substantial hit during and immediately after the crisis as foreclosure rates jumped. Their market share began to slip in 2008 as some lenders stopped offering credit through this channel. It had fallen to 7 percent by 2011. Now that their business is returning, Pradhan says their loans are performing well.

According to CoreLogic's Loan Performance Insights Report, the serious delinquency rate nationally, that is loans that are 90 or more days past due or in foreclosure, was 1.3 percent in July. This is down 0.6 point since the prior July. By comparison, that portion of loans originated by mortgage brokers had substantially lower rates, at least for those with loan to value ratios between 70 to 80 percent and debt-to-income ratios of 30 to 40 percent. That rate in July was 0.8 percent, down from 1.0 percent a year earlier. The rates are a 12-year low.

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Posted in Finance
Dec. 24, 2019

Mobile gas delivery service comes to Seattle

As a designated “chief fueling officer” of the family, Frank Mycroft found himself at his local Seattle gas station, sitting in line for the second time in a day. There had to be a better way.

The former Boeing engineer would go on to help launch Booster Fuels, a high-tech mobile fuel delivery startup that was founded in Seattle but soon relocated to the Bay Area.

Now, after raising nearly $90 million and delivering millions of gallons of gas, Booster is making a return to Seattle, launching its service across the region as part of a nationwide expansion.

The 4-year-old company uses its purple-branded trucks to fill up tanks on corporate campuses. Fortune 500 giants such as eBay, HPE, and Cisco use Booster to provide a fueling perk for employees. Health clubs and retail centers are customers as well.

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Posted in Local News
Dec. 23, 2019

Seattle is ‘a notable exception’ for stalled home

In recent years Seattle was a standout among major U.S. cities for its soaring home prices.

Now, it’s an exception for home prices that stood still.

The metro area’s median home price in April was unchanged from 12 months earlier — the only one of 20 markets where prices did not rise over that period, according to the latest S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller data.

While the cooling of torrid home-price increases is a nationwide phenomenon, the shift in Seattle is different.

“Year-over-year price gains remain positive in most cities, though at diminishing rates of change. Seattle is a notable exception, where the year-over-year change has decreased from 13.1% in April 2018 to 0.0% in April 2019,” said Philip Murphy, managing director at S & P Dow Jones Indices, in a statement.

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Posted in Real Estate
Dec. 22, 2019

What you should ask before you refinance your mortgage

This time last year, there was one thing most real estate economists could agree on: Mortgage rates would keep drifting upward. Economists at the Mortgage Bankers Association and Freddie Mac predicted that rates on a 30-year mortgage would hover at 5.1 percent in 2019, while’s chief economist thought rates might touch 5.5 percent by the end of this year. Zillow predicted rates would hit 5.8 percent, “territory not seen since the dark days of 2008.’’

Instead, mortgage rates seemed to hop on an L.L.Bean toboggan last December and coast merrily downhill to a three-year low in September. That fueled a flurry of refinancing and the best quarter for mortgage lenders in more than a decade.

“We’re seeing a massive uptick in refinance activity this year that we did not plan on,’’ said Shant Bonosian, branch manager at Guaranteed Rate in Waltham. “We’ve refinanced more people already this year than we have in the last three years combined.’’

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Posted in Finance
Dec. 21, 2019

The history of rail between Seattle and Tacoma

Anyone who rides the Sounder trains around the region or shuttles across town on Link light rail might feel like these mass transit webs are modern amenities. They would be wrong. Regional rail service dates back to statehood itself. Like most aspects of life on the Puget Sound, it also has ties to the rivalry for economic supremacy between Tacoma and Seattle.

Anyone with a working knowledge of local history will remember that Tacoma outpaced the backwater of Seattle during the 1870s, particularly after the Northern Pacific Railroad selected the City of Destiny as the terminus for its transcontinental railroad in 1873.

Seattle feared that it would be cut off from the rest of the economic boom in the growing West Coast if it didn’t have rail service to bring settlers – and their dollars – to the Emerald City and to shuttle its lumber and products to markets back East. That changed when Henry Villard gained controlling shares of the Northern Pacific and pledge to run rails between Tacoma and Seattle, where he just happened to have significant real estate holdings he was interested in selling.

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Posted in Real Estate