Anecdote: Bailing on Kenmore Townhomes (Too Late)

Okay, when I saw this this morning, I just had to mention it. There’s a little 8-unit townhome complex in my neighborhood (Kenmore) that I have mentioned on here a number of times in the past. Most recently, two of the eight units were up for sale. As of this morning, four of the eight are on the market. Here’s a brief summary:

Unit Last Sold Sold For Asking On Market
#2 (7212) 01/2002 $209,950 $339,500 39 days
#5 (7218) 10/2005 $280,950 $345,000 75 days
#6 (7220) 12/2005 $300,000 $335,000 21 days
#7 (7222) 09/2001 $234,950 $339,500 1 day

These nearly-identical 2 bed / 2.25 bath units are between 1,418 and 1,578 square feet and come with $191 a month in dues that apparently just pays for building upkeep (as in, there are no shared areas).

Just around the corner, a developer has dumped thirty-three 2 bed / 2.25 bath 1,325 square foot units on the market for $279,000 (according to their sandwich board signs anyway) as part of an 84-unit complex. These new construction units sport a nice shared park with a hot tub and all that rot, for monthly dues of just $142. Oh, and this ridiculous-looking ad that has been on their website for a month now claims that they’ll furnish it, too.

Anybody think the used townhomes around the corner have much chance of selling at $340k? It’s like watching a super-slow-motion train wreck.

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About 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. Tim also hosts the weekly improv comedy sci-fi podcast Dispatches from the Multiverse.


  1. 1
    Annie says:

    Mmm, Kenmore. Home of the only section of the Burke Gilman Trail that you ride through as quickly as you can to get past it…

    I wouldn’t buy a house there for 340k much less something with no walls and a shared yard. Good luck to the sellers though.

  2. 2
    Lionel says:

    Shug, wherever you are, this one’s for you —

    INVENTORY OF BALLARD LISTINGS DOUBLE, BUT PRICES DROP JUST SLIGHTLY. Although prices of single-family homes have dropped about 8 percent in a year in Ballard, experts feel the local market is still strong.

  3. 3
    The Tim says:

    Hey Annie, we have two sweet trail underpasses now (68th & 73rd), and a bunch of brand-new landscaping in the tiny little strip of land between the trail and 522. It’s super-great!

  4. 4
    Bits_of_Real_Panther says:

    #2 and #7 should certainly be more competitively priced if they are serious about selling, unless they played the Home ATM game

  5. 5


    Tim, those town homes will need to collapse in price as interest rates need to soar soon. Apparently, we have no choice.

    Here’s an interesting blog from Dr. Roubini’s website:

    “…Pimco’s Gross to ‘President’ Obama: Double the Budget Deficit

    Bond king Bill Gross called on presidential nominee Barack Obama to double the federal budget deficit to $1 trillion by fiscal 2011 if he became president.

    “The economy will need an additional jolt of $500 billion or so of government spending real quick,” said Gross in a letter to “President” Obama posted on Pimco’s Web site. “It must replace both reduced residential investment and consumption whose decline has placed the U.S. economy near, if not in a recession.”

    Gross noted that this year’s budget deficit should be about $500 billion. By doubling that to $1 trillion in three years, that would put the deficit at about 6% of gross domestic product, “a mere pittance by Japanese standards.” He said its deficit exceeded 10% at its peak a decade ago.

    In taking shots at President Bush and the “mess” Obama would inherit as chief executive, Gross – a registered Republican – said, “Although your campaign slogan says, ‘Yes we can,’ I have my doubts.” While saying increased income taxes under an Obama administration would end “an eight-year lease extension on the ‘high life,’” he called on the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee to drop pretenses of Obama’s plans not adding to the budget deficit.

    “While the Republicans will blame you for years and label you ‘Trillion Dollar Obama’ in future campaigns, there is in fact not much that you or any other President can do,” said Gross. “You’ve inherited an asset-based economy whose well has been pumped nearly dry with lower and lower interest rates and lender of last resort liquidity provisions that have managed to support Ponzi-style prosperity in recent years.”

    As a result, “What you need now is fiscal spending and lots of it. No ordinary Starbucks will do, Mr. President, you need to step up for a six-pack of Red Bull.”

    Gross noted that the spending will help push inflation higher still early next decade, with Treasury yields likely to continue rising into a potential second Obama term. “Your term will not go down in history as investor friendly,” he said. – Kevin Kingsbury and Shara Tibken…”

  6. 6
    alex says:

    Which one drops fastest: asking price or recorded-sale price?

    I used to think the recorded-sale would drop faster (because of stubborn selers like the guys selling these units).

    Yet, when I look around my neighborhood in johnlscott, the “red” (sold) houses seem to have prices generally higher than the ones for sale.

    Probably the mix of sales (only high end is selling).

  7. 7
    Scotsman says:

    I’d love to crawl inside the owner’s heads and see what they’re thinking. There are several similar examples of grossly mis-priced homes on my street that have
    no chance of selling. My best guess is that many of these folks have HELOC’d their way into a trap they can’t get out of.

    The harder truth is that not even the lower priced units are selling. That makes the higher priced look even more ridiculous!

  8. 8
    TJ_98370 says:

    Referencing the article posted above by Lionel:

    A couple of “gems” (not the kind of “gems” Ray likes to talk about) quoted from the article. Other than the typical “we are different here” mantra, I didn’t know local realtors were getting so transcendent about their work.

    Real estate market still strong here

    ….”We (realtors) say don’t pay attention to the national media. Pay attention to the local market,” she said. “Seattle is insulated. Interest rates are excellent and businesses are coming in.”…

    ….”Have you ever gone into a house and felt subconsciously that something was not right here? Feng shui makes the home more inviting with a positive flow of energy which moves in proper directions with color and placement.”…..

  9. 9

    How many realtors really know about or are really into feng shui? My takes is that they’ll be into whatever they think will sell them houses. If it meant quoting the wisdom of Dick Cheney, so be it, they’d do that too.

  10. 10
    TJ_98370 says:

    Ira –

    At least they are not burying statues of Saint Joseph in the back yard, or are they?

  11. 11
    magnolia44 says:

    oh no a developer made a mistake by trying to sell a conversion in Kenmore…thats signs of a huge downturn. There are idiot projects like this all over the place, not really news. The people who bought in to conversions are suckers and better have very long term plans.

    BTW where is Kenmore? I have lived here 4 years never been to the place… isnt this Seattle bubble lol.

  12. 12
    Mike2 says:

    BTW where is Kenmore? I have lived here 4 years never been to the place…

    It’s the long flat spot between Lake Forest Park and Bothell as you travel east on Lake City Way. It’s just 12 miles from Bellevue Square Mall! Next time you’re at Bell Square, pop on over!

  13. 13
    deejayoh says:

    oh no a developer made a mistake by trying to sell a conversion in Kenmore…thats signs of a huge downturn. There are idiot projects like this all over the place, not really news. The people who bought in to conversions are suckers and better have very long term plans.

    What are you talking about? Conversions? Did you even read the post?

  14. 14
    The Tim says:

    Yeah I have no clue where mag44 is coming from on this one. None of the units mentioned in this post are conversions. And I hate to break it to you Mag, but in the common vernacular, “Seattle” is quite frequently used as it is on this site, to refer to the greater Seattle metropolitan area. Kenmore most certainly falls under this definition.

  15. 15
    Scotsman says:

    OMG! Just got back from talking with the owner of the spec house on my street. Originally $1.0 million, now $800,000, she said I should buy it because “in a year it’ll be worth over a million, the easiest $200,000 I’ll ever make.” She really was the epitome of the Realtor caricature we all joke about.

    I need a shower….

  16. 16
    Darby says:

    Kenmore is a mess right now. I’d love to live there, in a nice little culdesac, but I have to choose between a condo (no thanks) or a $400K house (no can do). Otherwise it would be the absolutely perfect spot between family and work to call my home.

  17. 17
    The Tim says:

    October Update:

    3 of 4 townhomes appear to have been taken off the market without selling. The fourth (unit #6) has dropped their price to $25,000 less than they paid in 2005. Full update in the forums here.

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