The Seattle Times was on a roll this weekend with interesting real estate stories. Here are a few excerpts:
For years, hundreds of Trilogy at Redmond Ridge residents say they have been pleading with California-based Shea Homes, the 55-plus resort community’s developer, to fix and better waterproof more than 1,500 homes.
They say the things every other homebuilder in the Pacific Northwest does to waterproof houses — put flashing around windows, use the right paint at the right time to prevent mold, and installing moisture barriers on garages — were not done on Trilogy homes. And by the time many of the original homeowners say they discovered the problems, possessions in their garages had been ruined and extensive wood rot needed massive repairs.
…more than 950 Trilogy residents [are] hoping to win a lawsuit filed this week in U.S. District Court in Seattle against Shea Homes. Lead lawyer on the case, Steve Berman of Seattle, says he’s seeking $30 million in damages, and is seeking class-action status for the case.
Financing hurdles, a smaller buyer pool and high homeowners dues are among the factors that have slowed sales in the condo market, industry experts say. But over the past year, condos have appreciated at a faster rate than single-family homes, MLS data show.
In areas with at least 100 condo sales this year, southeast Snohomish County has led all submarkets with a 59 percent annual increase in median price, to $249,800. Everett/Mukilteo, Kirkland, Des Moines and Federal Way also have seen strong improvement in sold prices, rising more than 25 percent over the year.
Surprisingly, while single-family home prices and apartment rents climb, some submarkets have seen condo prices drop this year.
The biggest decline: downtown Bellevue, where the median price last year reached a record, only to tumble this year by 14 percent to $430,000. West Seattle, the Eastside south of Interstate 90, and Burien also lost ground over the year (see chart).
Downtown Seattle, the biggest condo submarket, saw the largest increase in sales activity, but only 3 percent appreciation to a median price of $439,500.
From the distance, it’s a speck of a cabin, only 850 square feet, that sits on top of a cliff.
In the CinemaScope view of mountains, forests and pastures, it’s easily missed by visitors to the Methow Valley as they drive on Highway 20.
But the cabin sparked a nasty court fight about ruining ridgeline views. By one estimate, attorney fees for both sides will total as much as $300,000.
Descriptions of the cabin by opponents in interviews for this story, on a Facebook page and in local media have included “an extended third finger,” a “boil,” a “blight” and a “wart” to a Mazama area that has no “ridgebuster” dwellings atop hills.
Kundig and three partners were the defendants in a seven-day August trial that explored whether the cabin broke covenants drawn by previous owners of the property that protected the visual impact on the valley.
The plaintiffs want the cabin torn down.
Sounds like a barrel of fun!
[Update: The architect has been ordered to move his eyesore cabin off the ridge. Methow Valley ‘ridgebuster’ cabin has to move, judge rules]