Today’s Seattle Times and Puget Sound Business Journal reported that the 2020 real estate marketplace was likely to open fast paced with low inventory levels and high buyer demand following a robust December of residential sales. Without a significant increase in available housing inventory it could be a “red hot market” this year with a return to multiple offers and rising prices.
While most of 2019 was relatively flat for home sales and property appreciation in King County, the last quarter of the year ended up being the most active in recent years. The same was true for Snohomish, Pierce and Kitsap Counties.
Downtown Bellevue’s condo market was no different – flat throughout most of the year with a flurry of activity in the last quarter. There were 258 downtown condo sales in 2019 reflecting a median sales price of $729,500, less than a 1% increase over the prior year. More notable is that 46 of those 258 condos sold during the last quarter and the median sales price for the last 90 days of the year was $869,500. There are currently only 16 condos listed for sale in the Bellevue downtown/98004 zip code.
More jobs are coming to downtown Bellevue this year and continuing for the next few years as companies plan to move to or expand their footprint in Bellevue. Employees, anticipating a move to the Eastside, are already searching for homes close to workplaces and transit. Location, location, location is still true in real estate, but of growing importance are transit options and access to those workplaces, schools, amenities, services, etc. Communities in and near downtown will be in high demand as buyers more on available transit options (light rail, bus, ride services, bike, etc.) to reduce commute time and regain quality of life. Location will always favorably impact value, but the word for this decade may be “transit” when it comes to property values and market desirability.
Living in communities close to workplaces, shopping, dining and other amenities is becoming increasingly important to buyers when searching for a home. A recent survey conducted on behalf of the National Association of REALTORS® found over half of the respondents preferred to live in a community that offered smaller or no yards but was within walking distance of local amenities and offered shorter work commutes.
Buyers no longer look at just the house – equally, or even more important, is the community and access to workplaces, shopping, dining, transportation, schools, health care and parks or open space. Women tend to put more importance on walk-ability and public transit than men but overall nearly 40% said having public transit nearby was important. Sixty percent of those surveyed would be willing to pay more to live within walking distance of parks, restaurants and shops.
In Bellevue the popularity of urban living was recently confirmed when the One88 condominium residences celebrated the grand opening and sales event. Over 80% of the homes sold in just weeks with buyers committing to reservations to purchase homes that won’t be available for two years. Several new Bellevue townhome communities have experienced the same robust sales activity with buyers committing to pre-sales for homes not scheduled for completion until late spring or summer. Resale condos and townhomes throughuot the eastside, walk-able to urban amenities and workplaces, are experiencing the same high level of buyer interest.
No doubt the road closures throughout the city have been frustrating – be patient and flexible as those detours will continue for the next several years as the light rail construction progresses toward the 2023 opening. Those tall green walls at the corner of Main Street and 112th Avenue NE shelter the construction activity and progress being made on the light rail tunnel under downtown Bellevue that will eventually come to the surface and connect to the light rail station which will be located just east of the Bellevue Transit Center.
Click the link above for a fascinating look at the light rail tunnel construction currently in progress under downtown Bellevue’s streets. Given the scope of activity and progress, I’ve got to applaud Sound Transit for how well the the road closures have been announced and marked on the streets throughout downtown.
No doubt there will be more closures, traffic issues and inconveniences in the coming years, but keep your eye on the prize at the end. Light rail is going to be an amazing addition to the Seattle/Bellevue metropolitan area, providing traffic relief and a huge benefit to commuters. If you’ve ever visited other parts of the US where light rail already exists (Boston, Washington DC, Chicago, Portland) you know it will be well worth the wait.
There’s lots happening in the city. Watch the latest Lake-to-Lake video, produced monthly by the City of Bellevue.
- Meet Bellevue’s Newest 4 Legged Police Force Member
- Visit the Downtown Park Inspiration Playground
- Watch the progress of the light rail tunnel being constructed downtown
With it’s thriving central business district, a vibrant arts and entertainment scene diverse variety of shopping and dining choices, dozens of parks, top rated schools and medical care – its a great place to call home. I’ve lived and worked in downtown Bellevue for over two decades – I love living in the city. If you’re making a move to the city, or just need more information about what’s happening in and around Bellevue, let’s talk.
Enjoy the video.