Posted by: Timothy Ellis (The Tim)

Tim Ellis is the founder of Seattle Bubble. His background in engineering and computer / internet technology, a fondness of data-based analysis of problems, and an addiction to spreadsheets all influence his perspective on the Seattle-area real estate market.

16 responses to “Poll: Where would you rather live in the Seattle area?”

  1. sniffy

    This seems like kind of a trick question: a waterfront home automatically comes with a nice view!

    My dream (maybe 15 years down the road) is to be able to walk out of my house, through my backyard to my private dock, get on my boat, and take off.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  2. fnh

    We just made this exact choice, putting an offer in on an urban, view condo versus a waterfront single family home north of the city. We live primarily in TX and in the end we determined that an expansive view in a well-connected location was more desirable than an isolated summer beach house for our situation. Plus, although perhaps considered silly by many, I do worry about sea level rise with climate change and want to be near water though not right on it.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  3. Cheap South

    Mountain view. But of course, how many days of the year do you actually get the view?

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  4. willynilly

    Waterfront homes automatically come with higher taxes. No thanks, I’ll live across the street thank you.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  5. Kary L. Krismer

    RE: willynilly @ 4 – View properties get taxed higher too, but if the tax on waterfront is a concern, perhaps it would be best to get a property with either an easement to the water or a community waterfront area. That way you have the benefit of access to the water. I wonder how good King County is at picking up the value of such easements?

    One problem with waterfront, particularly fresh water waterfront, is noise. Noise travels across water rather well, so you hear boats, jet skis and neighbors playing loud music. Locally, most the people on the east side of Mercer Island probably hear freeway noise from 405 and I-90.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  6. Howard

    By Kary L. Krismer @ 5:

    RE: willynilly @ 4 – View properties get taxed higher too, but if the tax on waterfront is a concern, perhaps it would be best to get a property with either an easement to the water or a community waterfront area. That way you have the benefit of access to the water. I wonder how good King County is at picking up the value of such easements?

    One problem with waterfront, particularly fresh water waterfront, is noise. Noise travels across water rather well, so you hear boats, jet skis and neighbors playing loud music. Locally, most the people on the east side of Mercer Island probably hear freeway noise from 405 and I-90.

    The taxes absolutely get overlooked and sometimes over charged

    There are a few methods that I have found to have this amenity:
    Shared ownership of the waterfront area. Taxes get divided up between the owners. One parcel in particular that I know of has ownership exceeding 175%

    When I queried the office about how they compute the value of waterfront access, not joint ownership, all I got was the deer in the headlights look. They don’t have the time or resources to really identify what waterfront access really means. It is just a check off box on amenities.

    Some with access have a nice community swimming dock area with no motor boats allowed (Rose Point in Kirkland), Some have a decent undeveloped parcel on Juanita Point, that doesn’t have anything but a way to the water. Some have a shared waterfront lot with a shared motorboat dock (Champagne Point), Some have a shared homeowners association with a formal agreement like the Tuckahoe HOA at the north end of Holmes Point. There are also houses with deeded slips…

    That is just what a sampling of what I know is available in Kirkland… I am sure there are more varieties…

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  7. Lo Ball Jones

    Where would most people rather live?

    Well…I’d venture that a lot of them would rather live in San Francisco or New York, but ended up here out of frustration.

    Oh…but what’s this?

    2 Bedrooms at 1606 Second Ave for $2,000
    Upper East Side.
    1 Bath.

    http://www.renthop.com/listings/1606_second_ave/4n/2236664

    And I just read the violent crime rate is dropping through the floor!

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  8. ARDELL

    RE: Howard @ 6

    The answer is how does the marketplace value these variations differently? A tax assessor is much like an appraiser. They look at what the market has determined “value” to be. Except a tax assessment, by definition, should then put the value point at 80% of market value.

    The reason tax value should never be market value, is it creates too many costly appeals as the market fluctuates up and down. If everyone is at approx. 80% of market value when they apply the taxes, it does not change the total $ taxes charged for them to be right or wrong. What hurts them is when the value falls in the appeal range too often. That is why a 15% to 20% leeway is recommended for smoother and cost efficient government process.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  9. Howard

    Even the market has trouble putting value on it..

    Personally we are putting a value of $30k to $75k depending on access, space and amenities for dock space where we can keep a boat. Most of the past sales that I can find on smaller/older houses don’t seem to indicate buyers paying a huge premium.

    Two properties in the same area. 11133 Champagne Point Drive and 13411 Holmes Point Drive.

    Champagne Point is a short sale and pending, it might close. It has a much better view, is much more functionally laid out and has shared ownership of a waterfront lot. There is not a dedicated slip, but you get a nice beach. Pending at $504k. Deck needs to be replaced ($10-15k)

    Holmes Point sold for $949k a couple of years ago. On the market for $955k. It is completely dysfunctionally laid out. Over 800sqft of living space is an enclosed sunroom that is not integrated into the house, ie they left the windows in the wall from the kitchen to the sunroom. The walk in closet is as large as a normal bedroom, but one of the bedrooms should be considered an office (glass French doors into the room). No view from anywhere in the house but the front porch. Flat roof. Deeded slip.

    Granted the Champagne point is a short sale and has not closed and the Holmes Point hasn’t sold, but how the heck do justify $450,000 in price difference?

    There are bunch of houses off of Juanita Drive that share a waterfront undeveloped lot. Not what we are looking for. Can’t send the kids across Juanita Drive to get to the lake.

    Even the condos in downtown Kirkland and Juanita that have docks have rules that basically make the slips have negligible value. You can’t keep your boat there year round, you can’t keep it on a trailer at the condo and you can’t put a boat lift in. So basically you have to store your boat off site for 8 months a year.

    We have given a lot of time and effort to explore the shared waterfront

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  10. ARDELL

    RE: Howard @ 9

    The only place I have seen the value be more uniform as to these issues is Mercer Island. But when you move around you have to re-evaluate for neighborhood and view from that new position. Basically there is not enough sales that are identical to actually strike an accurate value. It’s more about supply and demand than a valuation formula.

    It’s more negligible here than in other waterfront areas where I have worked, like the Oceanfront Property in L.A. But I have seen the market push that value up a million dollars for no good reason at times. Price per foot of waterfront is really just a theory and never a hard reality. Sometimes it’s worth nothing and sometimes it’s worth too much. That’s always the case for waterfront vs view. The demand isn’t consistent enough and supply isn’t plentiful enough for accurate calculations.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  11. Howard

    By ARDELL @ 10:

    RE: Howard @ 9

    The only place I have seen the value be more uniform as to these issues is Mercer Island. But when you move around you have to re-evaluate for neighborhood and view from that new position. Basically there is not enough sales that are identical to actually strike an accurate value. It’s more about supply and demand than a valuation formula.

    It’s more negligible here than in other waterfront areas where I have worked, like the Oceanfront Property in L.A. But I have seen the market push that value up a million dollars for no good reason at times. Price per foot of waterfront is really just a theory and never a hard reality. Sometimes it’s worth nothing and sometimes it’s worth too much. That’s always the case for waterfront vs view. The demand isn’t consistent enough and supply isn’t plentiful enough for accurate calculations.

    RE: Howard @ 9

    I completely agree. Life would be easier if Microsft had a formula in Excel that figured all this crap out. So much of the view and water access is personal preference. To us the view is secondary, the dock space is what we are after. Others put a huge emphasis on the Seattle skyline. Add in schools and things get into the calculus of valua guesstimating.

    I just know,what we can afford and need to figure out a way to get what we want at price we can afford.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  12. ARDELL

    RE: Howard @ 11

    :)

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  13. Kary L. Krismer

    RE: Howard @ 11 – For those only interested in a view, Microsoft isn’t the solution here. Maybe Samsung or Sony?

    Those interested in views could wall in their windows and install large flat panel monitors in their place. They could then have whatever view they want, whenever they want it. The energy use of the monitors would be offset by savings from the removal of all windows.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  14. ARDELL

    Howard,

    Just one word of caution given you are most interested in what I call “foreclosure row”. Stop calling it Kirkland and price it off of Kenmore-Bothell before adding for site upgrades like proximity to the lake, view and waterfront access.

    The pricing of “Kirkland” is not uniform and changes at various locations. Partly due to school rankings but mostly do to imaginary lines, of which there are many. The Microsoft employees on this board can give you the cutoff point for the Microsoft Zone, though to some extent Google has created an expansion of that zone.

    It doesn’t go where you are looking, and so that area has to price off of Kenmore-Bothell. Lots of people have made that mistake…and that is why it is “foreclosure row”.

    Just my opinion obviously, but the word of caution is warranted if you intend to put money into the property over and above the purchase price during your ownership. Factor in the cost of flood insurance, flooding and trees falling on other people’s cars and houses too.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  15. Howard

    Well understood Ardell.

    We know we are looking in the cheap seats… Our own boundary is the LWSD..

    That being said, I know of multiple (10-12) foreclosures in process or completed in a very narrow neighborhood.

    It is evident in that their is very little demand for $1million plus properties in 98034 from Juanita north and west of Juanita Drive… even when it is on the waterfront or has an incredible view. Goat Hill is like Southern California with its foreclosures.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  16. ARDELL

    RE: Howard @ 15

    The lines got blurred during the bubble and even builders were getting caught up into thinking the lines didn’t matter, and maybe they didn’t, for those builders and buyers. But when the market shifted their downside was steeper on the wrong side of “the lines”.

    Same thing happened East of Market on the wrong side of 6th Street, West of Market up past 15th and a few other places. Calling 20th “West of Market” was a stretch at the prices they were thinking. In Juanita, the condos went way too high. Though the boost up toward Simonds Road from 116th for Single Family recently is likely going to hold fairly well, given that happened well after the bubble years.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

Leave a Reply

Do you want a nifty avatar picture next to your name, instead of a photograph of Tim's dog? Just sign up with Gravatar, and make sure to use the same email address in the form below. It's that easy!

Please read the rules before posting a comment.

You have 5 comments remaining on this post.

Archives

Find us on Google+