Online real estate company Zillow.com Inc. said its added information on 1.8 million pre-foreclosure and foreclosed residential properties to its site.
The Seattle company NASDAQ: Z said the homes are not yet listed for sale and cant be found on any Multiple Listing Service MLS and theyre not freely available on other real estate sites.
“Zillow is taking information that was really only available to a select group — in this case, savvy investors — and making it more easily available to interested home buyers,” said Spencer Rascoff, Zillows CEO, in a statement.
According to a new study by Seattle-based Zillow Inc. (NASDAQ: Z), Seattle home values increased 1 percent in the last quarter and have increased 2.8 percent in the past year. But nationally, home values increased 1.3 percent in the past quarter and 3.2 percent over the past year.
Zillow’s study predicts that home values will increase nationally by 1.7 percent in the coming year and they’ll increase 1.8 percent in Seattle.
A forest of trees designed by Nicole Commins is the winning design in the Seattle Space Needles 50th anniversary competition.
Commins, 29, is a freelance graphic designer who lives and works in Seattle. The Space Needle competition netted 100,000 votes and Commins design will be atop the Space Needle through April 21, 2013. It will be painted as soon as weather permits.
“What better foreground to have before the mighty Mount Rainer in the background of this lovely scene besides trees?”
Where Seattle ranks in the U.S. for trick-or-treating (spoiler alert, it’s #4) | Seattle’s Big Blog – seattlepi.com
We fancy ourselves pretty festive here in Seattle. We carve jack-o-lanterns, dress up our dogs and bust out the vampire fangs every October. But there are a few cities that do trick-or-treating better than Seattle, according to an annual ranking by real estate site Zillow.
The gallery above breaks down the top 10 cities for trick-or-treaters in the U.S., factoring in information such as home values, walk scores, population density and crime statistics. And it’s all in the name of figuring out where kids can find the best loot. A noble cause, indeed.
Zillow also revealed the top neighborhoods within Seattle for trick-or-treating.
Not surprisingly, Loyal Heights topped the list. Next came Phinney Ridge, Wallingford, Madison Park and Roosevelt.
I’ve never had one trick-or-treater at my place in North Seattle — but it’s just as well. I’ve also never remembered to buy candy. Is there a Halloween version of Ebenezer Scrooge?
Seattle is the seventh-best overall real estate market in the country, according to the 2013 Emerging Trends in Real Estate report.
The Urban Land Institute, a nonprofit research and education group, and PricewaterhouseCoopers publish the annual report, which was released Wednesday.
Seattle’s ranking is down one spot from the 2012 report.
ULI and PwC base the rankings on interviews with real estate experts from across the nation.
As a global center for the software industry, Seattle continues to be the focus of many domestic and global investors, the report says.
By sector, Seattle has the fourth-best retail, industrial and office markets; its hotel market ranked eighth.
Overall, San Francisco and New York are ranked No. 1 and 2, followed by San Jose, Calif.; Austin, Texas; Houston and Boston.
After Seattle, Washington, D.C.; Dallas/Fort Worth; and Orange County, Calif., round out the top 10.
ULI Northwest’s real estate forecast meeting Nov. 7 at the Sheraton Seattle will feature a presentation on the report.
Mortgage applications saw increased activity in the last week of September, the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) reported.
Mortgage application volume increased 16.6 percent in the week ending September 28, according to MBA’s Mortgage Composite Index. On an unadjusted basis, the index increased 17 percent compared with the previous week. MBA also reported an increase in its Purchase Index, which rose 4 percent (both adjusted and unadjusted) from one week earlier and 11 percent year-over-year.
Meanwhile, the Refinance Index increased 20 percent from a week before to its highest recorded level since April 2009.
The refinance share of total mortgage activity increased two percentage points to 83 percent, while the adjustable-rate mortgage share remained flat at 4 percent. The HARP share of refinance applications decreased three percentage points to 23 percent.
Mike Fratantoni, MBA’s VP of research and economics, said the jump in refinance application volume stemmed from sharp decreases in each of the association’s five measured mortgage rates.
“Financial markets continue to adjust to QE3 as the ongoing presence of the Federal Reserve as a significant buyer of mortgage-backed securities applies downward pressure on rates,” Fratantoni said. “Although there was a slight decline in the HARP share of refinance activity, the level of HARP volume remains steady.”
In a response to the data, Capital Economics pointed to encouraging early signs of rising mortgage demand. The firm pointed to a 23.6 percent surge in refinancing applications and a 4.6 percent increase in home purchase applications in the two weeks following the Fed’s announcement of a third round of quantitative easing.
While the signs point to more good news in the future, Capital Economics was restrained in its optimism.
“Worryingly, MBS yields have rebounded in recent days. If this rise were sustained, mortgage rates may not fall much lower,” wrote Paul Diggle, property economist at Capital Economics. “And with mortgage lending criteria as strict as ever, many mortgage applicants may still find themselves being turned down.”
“For now, then, we remain somewhat cautious about the short-term prospects for mortgage-dependent buyers to contribute meaningfully to the housing recovery,” he continued.
Home sales in the Puget Sound area continued to strengthen in September, with sales in 13 of the 21 counties tracked by the Northwest Multiple Listing Service showing double-digit gains in closed sales compared to September 2011.
Closed sales of single family homes and condominiums in King County were up 15.6 percent year over year for the month, with the median home price at $335,000, up 8 percent compared with $310,000 in September 2011.
Closed sales were not as strong in Snohomish County, up 5.14 percent in September compared with a year ago. The median home price, however, rose 14.56 percent to $261,658, from $228,400 a year ago.
Pierce County, meanwhile, lost ground, with closed sales down 4 percent and a median home price of $200,500, up 4.5 percent, from $191,750 a year ago.
Listings of single family homes and condos remained well below last year’s levels in all three counties in September: down 39 percent in King County compared to September 2011; down 49 percent in Snohomish County and down 27.8 percent in Pierce County.
While sales activity in September was stronger than last year, there was the traditional seasonal slowdown in sales that marks the start of the school year. For example, there were 6,432 active listings in King County in August, compared with 1,305 in September, with 2,730 closed sales in August, compared with 514 closed sales in September.
Common Ground studies shipping containers, micro hotels and other low-cost housing ideas – Puget Sound Business Journal
Seattle-based Common Ground is studying shipping containers, modular apartments and other alternative structures as part of a plan to create more affordable low-income housing in Washington state, according to a report released Monday.
According to the nonprofit developer, the average development cost of a new rental housing unit in Washington state is approximately $200,000. That’s roughly double the national average, making it more difficult to build affordable housing here. The state also has been “relatively conservative” about what types of housing can be built with public money. That tendency makes it more difficult for developers such as Common Ground to adopt innovative approaches to affordable housing, the report said.
Common Ground has identified types of housing units that could become a cost-effective means to providing more affordable housing. These include: micro apartment complexes, with units between 100 square feet to 350 square feet in size with shared kitchens, dining spaces and communal lounges; prefabricated modular apartment units that can be assembled on-site to create two-story mini-complexes of six to eight units; metal shipping containers that can be turned into stand-alone housing units or stacked into multifamily apartment projects; and apartment complexes consisting entirely of studio units with common areas and on-site services. Other alternatives include: small housing units similar to row houses with adaptable electrical layouts that allow for future expansion or rearrangement; and micro hotels with small rooms or sleeping pods and carrels, semi-private cubicles, as an alternative to mass shelters.
In the next stage of its research, Common Ground will develop specific guidelines for several of these housing models and identify sites where pilot projects could be built.
Seattle City Council passes law requiring landlord registration and rental unit inspection – Puget Sound Business Journal
The Seattle City Council voted unanimously Monday to approve legislation requiring owners of rental housing units to register with the city and undergo inspection to certify that their property meets city health and safety codes.
The new law requires all registered properties to be inspected within the first 10 years of the program. Registrations would be valid for five years. Inspections could be conducted by city inspectors or qualified private inspectors.
In June 2010, the Seattle City Council adopted an ordinance creating a rental housing registration and inspection program, along with a resolution requesting that the Department of Planning and Development (DPD) convene a stakeholder group and report back with recommendations for implementing the program, which had a delayed effective date. The new law is based on those recommendations.
Separate legislation will set fees to cover the costs of the registration and inspection program.
“Tenants deserve safe and livable housing and landlords need clear and reasonable inspection regulations. This legislation makes both of those things happen and has a realistic roll out plan,” Council President Sally Clark said in a statement.