It’s official: The Seattle condo market has hit finally a wall. Here’s a little article from the Puget Sound Business Journal on Friday that goes into all the details:
With more than 400 condominiums under construction in a faltering housing market, Seattle-based Vulcan Real Estate has decided to sweeten the deal for potential home buyers.
In the coming weeks, Vulcan will roll out incentives aimed at buyers living and working in South Lake Union, where it has three condo developments under construction.
While its incentive plan is still in the works, one of its perks will be to pay a chunk of the closing costs for buyers who are currently renting at a Vulcan property and want to buy in the neighborhood, said Lori Mason Curran, real estate market research manager for Vulcan, Microsoft Corp. co-founder Paul Allen’s real estate investment company.
“There has definitely been a slowdown in condo sales at all projects in Seattle,” said Mason Curran, who declined to release Vulcan’s pre-sale figures.
Vulcan’s move is a reflection of the slowdown in the housing market across the Puget Sound region that’s given prospective condo owners the upper hand. Developers of condos, fighting stagnant sales, are offering more perks than ever to potential buyers — including cars, vacation packages and, in one case, Vespa scooters.
So, if I inVest in a Vulcan, I can get a Vacation and a Vespa? Sorry, couldn’t help myself. With the number of projects still scheduled to come online in the next few years, I think it’s going to take a lot more than a few worthless “incentives” to move these things. I’m talking price drops. Serious price drops.
The push to bring buyers in the door is a striking indication that the market for condos has stalled and buyers, reacting to a string of bad news about the economy across the country, are still waiting out the tumultuous market.
“We have a substantial amount of buyers out there, but they are all on the fence,” said Matthew Gardner, whose consulting firm Gardner Johnson works with Vulcan.
“The last thing anyone wants to do is buy in a market that is declining.”
Indeed, which is exactly what they would be doing today. Also, I really wish we could get past the nonsense that the downturn is somehow due to all the “bad news,” as if people would just go out and buy those houses and condos if only the media would just quit making up all these nasty lies and scaring the buyers. Give me a break.
(Kirsten Grind, Puget Sound Business Journal, 05.23.2008)