Did you know Seattle broke several records this year? Have you noticed all of the changes happening around you? Did you know if you were looking for this website a year ago, you’d be – – – – out of luck! Do you remember when the whole city turned white and shut down? What is Seattle, without rain? Dry humor.
Breaking Records and Making Changes
Here’s a breakdown of 2017’s big changes and milestones, in Seattle and at the Wall Street Group, that you might have missed while texting.
The launch of liveloveownseattle.com.
Envisioned, by the owner of the Wall Street Group, to be a “one-stop shop” for everything that Seattle has to offer, the website has taken off and is grabbing the attention of more than 2,000 people/month. Pretty cool if you ask us. The most viewed pages are the Neighborhood Reports, the blogs, and the LOVE content (obviously, because who isn’t intrigued by LOVE?).
Seattle “shuts down”
Monday, February 6th, snow swaddled Seattle overnight, closing schools and keeping many people home from work. What a drag that was, huh? Staying home with the family and enjoying a rare snow day. Should we make it a holiday in remembrance of such a rare event? We’ll talk to the Mayor.
Sun and tulips started creeping back into our lives as we all put on our summer garbs WAY too early.
Record-breaking month. Record-breaking month. Record-breaking month.
You read that right. Seattle broke 3 records in April.
From October 2016 to April 2017 (because, if we counted every month it rains we’d be cheating) Seattle took on 44.7” of rain, breaking the Rainfall Record from the previous year. That’s deep enough to paddleboard!
As the sky was naturally pouring down on us in copious amounts, didn’t it seem like it was raining every day? Well, almost. For 144 days, between October 2016 and April 2017, Seattle had more than .01 inches of rain. Thus breaking the record for the number of wet days.
In a different awards ceremony, Seattle celebrated the population officially passing 700,000 people. Keep in mind, the official-ness of the count is really more of a very educated, very calculated, and extremely researched guess. This is most likely the best guess we’ll get, as it is provided by the city of Seattle and Washington state, with collaboration with U.S. Census Bureau. (Sorry for all of that. We love data.)
The MarketFront was Completed
Pike Place MarketFront project completed in May, but the grand opening was the following month. Keep reading for the excitement
Open for business!
The previous owners traded places with our new owner, of Wall Street Group – Windermere Real Estate, in June. A friendly passing of the baton and business is as usual.
Oh right. Pike Place MarketFront opened to the public, too.
Kusama comes to Seattle at the SAM
Yayoi Kusama, a Japanese contemporary artist who likes to work in sculpture and installations, showed Seattle what an infinity experience might look and feel like.
“Our earth is only one polka dot among a million start in the cosmos. Polka dots are a way to infinity.” – Yayoi Kusama
Don’t look at it!
Remember when the earth was going to stop rotating? Or how about when we were all going to turn into zombies? What about the time when we all looked at the Total Solar Eclipse without proper SolarGlasses (made of cardboard)?
Yes, we actually heard those claims. And don’t say you didn’t look at the Eclipse with your bare eyes. We’ve never seen what 9% of the Sun looked like either. (p.s. if you find any typos it’s because our eyes are still recovering)
Would you believe that Seattle broke 2 rainfall records and in the same year we also claim the driest stretch too? We sure did! For a record-breaking 56 days, Seattle was without its most talked about characteristic, rain.
SPORTS SPORTS SPORTS
So, let’s get this out of the way. The Seahawks. First-year missing the postseason since 2011. But we started off strong with 4 wins during the preseason and ending the season over .500. Let’s keep our heads high and let’s hear it in 2018, 12s!
The Mariners. Oh, Mariners. They didn’t make it to the postseason…again…but did you get a chance to check out the homerun food offerings at Safeco Field? Ballard Pizza Co., Great State Burger, and Poquitos! Tempted to buy season tickets for the food. Yumm!
The Sounders had a great season with a 14-11 record, and making it to the MLS Cup finals. Not to mention our 9-year streak of having the best record in the MLS. We’re really looking forward to next season.
Space Needle gets a Spacelift
If you’ve been able to pull your eyes off of your phone for a moment and look up. You’ll notice the Space Needle looks a bit different. That’s because it’s getting a facelift. To be more specific, the safety cage that hinders the view will be replaced with floor to “sky” glass barrier; from the renderings, it looks like the restaurants may be getting fitted with a glass floor.
Oktober Fests, scare-athons, and “hello” cold weather again (we had a good run, sun).
Giving back and get-togethers
We couldn’t say enough about how much the Wall Street Group Brokers do for the community. All year long, they attend in charity events, roll their sleeves up for community service, and gladly pull their checkbooks out. November is a special time during the year when the staff, owners, and dozens of Brokers come together to help a few organizations.
Every year for last 15 years, our Brokers have offered a hand to help out families in need of a Thanksgiving dinner, with Child Haven, Northwest Harvest Food Drive, and #tacklehomelessness. It’s truly a beautiful time of year.
As we wrapped up a monumental year of changes, experiences, and a dynamic real estate market, we had a few more things to squeeze in. A couple more community events to provide winter clothing and toys to Seattle youth, and one amazing holiday party. Chihuly Garden and Glass hosted the Brokers of Wall Street Group for our Annual Holiday Party, and all we can say is, wow and #blessed. Blessed to have a community of relationships like you to look after one another and grow this wonderful city together.
And there ya have it, the most phenomenal changes and milestones in 2017. Maybe we stretched the meaning of phenomenal and milestones a bit, but they say beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Either way, 2017 was a great year for us at the Wall Street Group and it was pretty cool to watch all of the changes happen in Seattle.
We are predicting 2018 to be even more phenomenal.
How was your 2017? Any big changes?
The Gardner Report is an analysis of the Western Washington Real Estate Market, provided by Windermere Real Estate Chief Economist, Matthew Gardner. This is a great starting point to building more knowledge and helping you make better informed real estate decisions.
For more information about the real estate market in YOUR area, we have monthly Neighborhood-specific reports, as well as, our own Q3 2017 – analysis and Seattle area Report. If you have more questions please contact your Wall Street Group (of Windermere) Broker.
The Washington State economy added 79,600 new jobs over the past 12 months—an impressive growth rate of 2.4%, and well above the national growth rate of 1.2%. However, as we anticipated in last quarter’s report, we continue to see a modest slowdown in the growth rate as the state grows closer to full employment. Growth has been broad-based, with expansion in all major job sectors other than Aerospace (a function of a slowdown at Boeing). Given the current rate of expansion, I am raising my employment forecast and now predict that Washington will add 81,000 new jobs in 2017.
Given the robust job market, it is unsurprising that the state unemployment rate continues to fall. The current unemployment rate in Washington State is 4.6% and we are essentially at full employment. Additionally, all counties contained within this report reported either a drop or stability in their unemployment rate from a year ago. I maintain my belief that the Washington State economy will continue to outperform the U.S. as a whole. Given such a strong expansion, we should also expect solid income growth across Western Washington.
HOME SALES ACTIVITY
- There were 25,312 home sales during the third quarter of 2017. This is an increase of 3.6% over the same period in 2016.
- Clallam County maintains its number one position for sales growth over the past 12 months. Only four other counties saw double-digit gains in sales. This demonstrates continuing issues with the low supply of listings. There were modest declines in sales activity in six counties.
- The market remains remarkably tight with listing inventory down by 14.2% when compared to the third quarter of 2016. But inventory is up a significant 32% compared to the second quarter of this year. Pending sales rose by 5.2% over the same quarter a year ago, which suggests that closings in Q4 will still be robust.
- The key takeaway from this data is that inventory is still very low, and the situation is unlikely to improve through the balance of the year.
- Given tight supply levels, it is unsurprising to see very solid price growth across the Western Washington counties. Year-over-year, average prices rose 12.3% to $474,184. This is 0.9% higher than seen in the second quarter of this year.
- With demand far exceeding supply, price growth in Western Washington continues to trend well above the long-term average. As I do not expect to see the new home market expand at any significant pace, there will be continued pressure on the resale market, which will cause home prices to continue to rise at above-average rates.
- When compared to the same period a year ago, price growth was most pronounced in Grays Harbor County where sale prices were 20.1% higher than the third quarter of 2016. Nine additional counties experienced double-digit price growth.
- Mortgage rates in the quarter continue to test the lows of 2017, and this is unlikely to change in the near-term. This will allow home prices to escalate further but I expect we will see rates start to rise fairly modestly in 2018, which could slow price growth.
DAYS ON MARKET
- The average number of days it took to sell a home in the quarter dropped by eight days when compared to the same quarter of 2016.
- King County continues to be the tightest market, with homes taking an average of 17 days to sell. Every county except San Juan saw the days on market drop from the same period a year ago.
- This quarter, it took an average of 43 days to sell a home. This is down from the 51 days it took in the second quarter of 2016 and down by 8 days from the second quarter of this year.
- At some point, inventory will start to grow and this will lead to an increase in the average time it takes to sell a house. However, I do not expect that to happen at any time soon. So we remain in a seller’s market.
This speedometer reflects the state of the region’s housing market using housing inventory, price gains, home sales, interest rates, and larger economic factors. For the third quarter of 2017, I have left the needle at the same point as the second quarter. Though price growth remains robust, sales activity has slowed very slightly and listings jumped relative to the second quarter. That said, the market is very strong and buyers will continue to find significant competition for accurately priced and well-located homes.
ABOUT MATTHEW GARDNER
Matthew Gardner is the Chief Economist for Windermere Real Estate, specializing in residential market analysis, commercial/industrial market analysis, financial analysis, and land use and regional economics. He is the former Principal of Gardner Economics and has over 25 years of professional experience both in the U.S. and U.K.
Here is the full Gardner Report.
Bertha has left the tunnel, finally. What’s next?
[arve url=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2mc9TswBvGU” title=”Bye-Bye to Bertha, the world’s largest tunneling machine” description=”This time-lapse video captures the difficult and challenging work to disassemble the world’s largest-diameter tunneling machine. For four months, crews cut, hoisted and trucked away 8,000 tons of the machine’s equipment and steel, removing it from inside the tunnel it had built. Up next – finishing the double-deck highway inside and installing all the operating systems to open Seattle’s new SR 99 tunnel by early 2019.” upload_date=”Aug 23, 2017″ /]
As of August 24, 2017, Bertha has been completely disassembled. Bertha was working for nearly 4 years under the objective of a much larger project, The Alaskan Way Viaduct Replacement Project. If you weren’t keeping up with Bertha and what the largest tunnel boring machine has been up to, less than 215’ below downtown Seattle [view the simulation below], here’s the highlight reel.
- 2008 – The Alaskan Way Viaduct Replacement project officially began (primarily legislation, planning, mitigation, and demolition)
- 2009 – WOSCA building demolition
- 2010 – Pier 48 demolition
- 2011 – SR 99 Tunnel project kicked off (mitigation and structural work)
- 2011 – Demolition and repair of the South end of the Viaduct
- 2012 – Cedarstrand building demolition
- 2013 – Bertha began digging, boring, tunneling, and doing what “she” does. (Bertha was named after Bertha Knight Landes, elected mayor of Seattle in 1926)
- 2014 – North Tunnel Access construction began
- 2016 – South Tunnel Access construction began
- 2017 – Bertha completed her boring and tunneling
…so, what’s next?
- 2016 – South Tunnel Access construction began
- 2017 – Bertha completed her boring and tunneling
- 2018 – Connections between Tunnel, Access, and surface streets
- 2019 – SR 99 Tunnel completion and open to the public
- 2019 – Demolition and decommissioning of Alaskan Way Viaduct
- 2019 – Begin Alaskan Way Surface Street Project
- 2023 – Complete Waterfront and Alaskan Way Street
A Glimpse into 2023
When the entire Alaskan Viaduct Replacement project is completed (2023), Seattle will have a brand new 1.7-mile-long tunnel, an additional mile-long stretch of highway at the south end of the tunnel, new Alaskan Way street, new Alaskan Way Waterfront, Elliot Bay Seawall, and a seismic-safe way to travel. The current budget stretching into 2019 (when the tunnel will be open to the public) is set at $3.2 Billion. Another $149 Million may be needed to complete the program, estimated 2023. We can’t wait to see the entire project completed in all of its glory (and to have some major construction wrapped up around here). What are your tunneling thoughts?
Extras for your entertainment
[one_half padding=”0 10px 0 10px”]
Did you know? Bertha actually built the tunnel behind her as she bored through the earth.
[arve url=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Osls8K1IbjY” title=”Building a highway inside a tunnel” description=”This video shows how Seattle Tunnel Partners crews build the highway inside the SR 99 tunnel in Seattle. For more information, visit www.alaskanwayviaduct.org. SHOW MORE” upload_date=”Jul 13, 2016″ maxwidth=”300″ /]
[/one_half][one_half_last padding=”0 10px 0 10px”]WSDOT simulation, taking you underground along the crown of the tunnel.
[arve url=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mWfwnkEbc4Q&feature=youtu.be” title=”Proposed SR 99 Bored Tunnel Underground Simulation March 2010″ description=”The Washington State Department of Transportation, in partnership with the Federal Highway Administration, King County, the City of Seattle and the Port of Seattle, is leading a program to replace the Alaskan Way Viaduct section of State Route 99, which runs along Seattle’s downtown waterfront.” upload_date=”Mar 16, 2010″ maxwidth=”300″ /]
Visit Milepost 31 for a museum-like tour of projects that shaped Pioneer Square and the SR 99 Tunnel project.
The Gardner Report is an analysis of the Western Washington Real Estate Market, provided by Windermere Real Estate Chief Economist, Matthew Gardner. This is a great starting point to building more knowledge and helping you make better informed Real Estate decisions.
For more information about the Real Estate market in YOUR area, we have monthly Neighborhood specific reports, as well as, our Q2 2017 – Seattle Metro Report. If you have more questions please contact your Windermere-Wall Street Group Broker.
Washington State economy has been expanding at a rapid pace but we are seeing a slowdown as the state grows closer to full employment. Given the solid growth, I would expect to see income growth move markedly higher, though this has yet to materialize. I anticipate that we will see faster income growth in the second half of the year. I still believe that the state will add around 70,000 jobs in 2017.
Washington State, as well as the markets that make up Western Washington, continue to see unemployment fall. The latest state-wide report now shows a rate of 4.5%—the lowest rate since data started to be collected in 1976.
I believe that growth in the state will continue to outperform the U.S. as a whole and, with such robust expansion, I would not be surprised to see more people relocate here as they see Washington as a market that offers substantial opportunity.
HOME SALES ACTIVITY
- There were 23,349 home sales during the second quarter of 2017. This is an increase of 1.1% from the same period in 2016.
- Clallam County maintains its position as number one for sales growth over the past 12 months. Double-digit gains in sales were seen in just three other counties, which is a sharp drop from prior reports. I attribute this to inventory constraints rather than any tangible drop in demand. The only modest decline in sales last quarter was seen in Grays Harbor County.
- The number of homes for sale, unfortunately, showed no improvement, with an average of just 9,279 listings in the quarter, a decline of 20.4% from the second quarter of 2016. Pending sales rose by 3.6% relative to the same quarter a year ago.
- The key takeaway from this data is that it is unlikely we will see a significant increase in the number of homes for sale for the rest of 2017.
- Along with the expanding economy, home prices continue to rise at very robust rates. Year-over-year, average prices rose 14.9%. The region’s average sales price is now $470,187.Price growth in Western Washington continues to impress as competition for the limited number of homes for sale remains very strong. With little easing in supply, we anticipate that prices will continue to rise at above long-term averages.
- Price growth in Western Washington continues to impress as competition for the limited number of homes for sale remains very strong. With little easing in supply, we anticipate that prices will continue to rise at above long-term averages.When compared to the same period a year ago, price growth was most pronounced in San Juan County where sale prices were 29.2% higher than
- When compared to the same period a year ago, price growth was most pronounced in San Juan County where sale prices were 29.2% higher than second quarter of 2016. Eight additional counties experienced double-digit price growth.
- The specter of rising interest rates failed to materialize last quarter, but this actually functioned to get more would-be buyers off the fence and into the market. This led to even more demand which translated into rising home prices.
- The average number of days it took to sell a home in the quarter dropped by 18 days when compared to the same quarter of 2016.
- King County remains the tightest market; homes, on average, sold in a remarkable 15 days. Every county in this report saw the length of time it took to sell a home drop from the same period a year ago.
- Last quarter, it took an average of 48 days to sell a home. This is down from the 66 days it took in the second quarter of 2016.
- Given the marked lack of inventory, I would not be surprised to see the length of time it takes to sell a home drop further before the end of the year.
This speedometer reflects the state of the region’s housing market using housing inventory, price gains, home sales, interest rates, and larger economic factors. For the second quarter of 2017, I moved the needle a little more in favor of sellers. To define the Western Washington market as “tight” is somewhat of an understatement.
Inventory is short and buyers are plentiful.
Something must give, but unless we see builders delivering substantially more units than they have been, it will remain staunchly a sellers’ market for the balance of the year.
Furthermore, increasing mortgage rates have failed to materialize and, with employment and income growth on the rise, the regional housing market will continue to be very robust.
ABOUT MATTHEW GARDNER
Matthew Gardner is the Chief Economist for Windermere Real Estate, specializing in residential market analysis, commercial/industrial market analysis, financial analysis, and land use and regional economics. He is the former Principal of Gardner Economics, and has over 25 years of professional experience both in the U.S. and U.K.
Here is the full Gardner Report.