Is it just me, or has Seattle’s only remaining daily newspaper become even more of a blatant real estate advertisement since the P-I folded? Even without a dedicated real estate writer, they have managed to pump out two thinly-veiled real estate promotional pieces in less than a week.
This weekend we’ve got First-time buyers benefit from prices, choices, tax credits
“Right now is just a great time to buy a house,” said [first-time buyer Emily] Yturralde, who took advantage of a zero-down financing program offered by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. “There’s just so much available, and the prices and the interest rates are really, really low.”
Besides the [$8,000 “stimulus”] tax credit, a wide selection of inventory and lower prices are also bringing out buyers who couldn’t have afforded entry-level homes in the Seattle area a few years ago.
“I think 2009 is going to be the year of the first-time homebuyers,” [John L. Scott Agent Ben] Hoefer said.
You get the idea. Then today we’ve got a special promotion! Lose your job? No worries, they’ll pay your mortgage (featured as the big above the fold, front page story).
Thornton Place, a big, new project near Northgate with cinemas and a creek, is offering prospective condo buyers a layoff-protection plan in hopes of spurring sales in this sour market.
Buy a condo, the developers say, and if you lose your job within a year they’ll make your mortgage payments for up to six months.
Thornton Place’s 109 condos have been on the market since last summer. None has sold, and now the complex is nearly finished.
“We were looking at what would get people off the fence,” said Jeff Cook, president and chief operating officer of Stellar Holdings, one of the companies building Thornton Place. “We think there’s a pretty big pent-up demand for housing.”
I think it’s interesting that developers and real estate professionals still don’t get the fact that there is little to no “pent-up demand.” During the bubble years, the industry borrowed demand from the future by offering ridiculous dangerous financing. Now the future has come, and that demand is gone because most everyone who may have qualified for a house in 2009 already bought one in 2006.
There’s plenty of fine print in the offer. It’s limited to 27 condos that are the targets of a new marketing campaign that launches this week. They start at $299,950 for a 595-square-foot one-bedroom unit.
Wow. Does this developer really not know why none of their 109 units have sold yet? $300k for 595 square feet? A cursory search of Redfin quickly reveals how ridiculously overpriced these are. For example, just six blocks north you can find five different comparably–sized units on the market at $170-$180k in the Forte Condos building. Dozens of similar examples can be found sprinkled throughout the surrounding neighborhood.
Yikes. I think it’s going to take more than a $15,000 backstop incentive and some free advertising in the Seattle Times to move these pads. Good luck with that.
[Edited to point out the front-page position of the condo story. Thanks for the heads up, Kary.]