Fall City Real Estate Update September 2008

October 22, 2008



I have a some of graphs that I would like share to help update the Fall City real estate market.

The first graph shows the number of resale homes that are for sale in Fall City.  The light green lines show the number of available homes.  The dark green line represents the number of closed sales, and the red line is the number of pending sales in a month.

Fall City Trendgraphix 9.08


The second  graph shows the median price of the homes that sold each month since July of 2007.  The median price is the price that half of the homes sold are above that price and half of the homes sold are less than that price.

As you can see the median price varies from month to month with a low of $392,000 in July 2008 and a high of $1,062,000. in August of 2007.  It is interesting that the last two months that the median home price of sold homes has been $925,000.


Fall City Trendgraphix Median Price 9.08

Ok here is one more graph.  This one shows the average list and sale price for the same time frame.

Fall City Trendgraphix 9.08 Average Price

I think these graphs are interesting.  They show how the market has been changing over the past 15 months. 


Snoqualmie Tribe Loses Lawsuit over Snoqualmie Falls

October 8, 2008



It was reported today in the Seattle PI that the Snoqualmie Tribe lost it’s lawsuit trying to increase  the amount of water flowing over Snoqualmie Falls. You can read more here.

Snoq Falls 8 x 10 Light HPIM06651

Snoqualmie Falls Photo By Allen Minner

Real Estate Market Update From the Northwest Multiple Listing Association

October 7, 2008


The following is a press release from the Northwest Multiple Listing Service regarding the real estate market in September 2008.  I will be adding some more local information to the blog soon.

Pending Sales Up 4.1 Percent From Year Ago, Total Inventory Unchanged

KIRKLAND, Wash. (Oct. 6, 2008) – Home sales around Western Washington during September rose 4.1 percent from a year ago, reversing a 19-month pattern of declines. Members of Northwest Multiple Listing Service reported 5,982 pending sales (offers made and accepted, but not yet closed), a gain of 234 transactions from a year ago. The totals cover 19 counties in the MLS service area.

NWMLS data show the last system-wide uptick in pending sales was February 2007 when members reported a 4.8 percent gain from the previous year.

In other key indicators of housing activity, Northwest MLS reported tightening inventory with a double-digit drop in the number of new listings added during September compared to 12 months ago, and total inventory at month end that matched year-ago numbers. Figures also show area-wide softening of prices compared to a year ago,

The median price for last month’s closed sales of single family homes and condominiums (combined) was $295,000, a drop of 8.3 percent from a year-ago when the median price was $321,600. King County prices fell about 3.7 percent from a year ago, from $395,000 to $380,315. For the four-county Puget Sound region (King, Snohomish, Pierce and Kitsap), the median price for last month’s closed sales dropped from $349,950 to $324,000, a decline of 7.4 percent.

Brokers and lenders say the recent economic turmoil is taking a toll on activity, but also suggest negative news reports are keeping buyers on the fence and creating misunderstandings about the availability of home loans.

“Forget the news. Mortgage loans are readily available, at excellent rates and you can still get 97 percent loan to value,” said Mike Welty of Liberty Financial Group in Bellevue. “There is a lot of flexibility in programs, qualification and opportunity,” he emphasized, while acknowledging (with a chuckle), “Underwriting is tougher – you need a down payment and you need a job!”

REALTOR Dennis Brown, a residential and investment specialist at Windermere’s Fauntleroy office, echoed Welty. “I’m loving FHA,” he exclaimed, calling the largest mortgage insurer in the world “the answer to a lot of people’s credit problems.” Brown has used the program for first-home and move-up buyers, as well as with investors. “Investors use the program to buy everything from fixer-uppers to 4-unit buildings,” he said. Among features Brown said his clients find to be most appealing about FHA loans are easy credit qualifications (typically one year of “clean credit”), low closing costs and low down payment requirements (as low as 3 percent of the purchase price).

In today’s market the vast majority of buyers are first time buyers, move-up buyers, and investors, according to J. Lennox Scott, chairman and CEO of John L. Scott Real Estate. “These three groups of buyers are moving forward with the opportunities that exist thanks to low interest rates, increased affordability, and a strong selection of homes to choose from.”

Buyers still have plenty of choices, according to NWMLS data. Members added 10,889 new listings of single family homes and condominiums to inventory during September – about 1,500 fewer than a year ago for a 12 percent drop. When added to existing inventory, the number of active listings at month end totaled 48,665, slightly fewer than the year-ago number of 48,969 listings.

“We are definitely starting to see more buyers that have been waiting months to get off the fence,” said NWMLS director Mike Skahen, owner/broker of Lake & Company Real Estate, Inc. in Seattle. As for the dip in prices, he attributes that in part to limited availability of jumbo loans for high-end homes, “Not surprisingly, with fewer high priced homes selling, the median price would be lower,” he noted. “I’m convinced that as the national financial crisis subsides and with Seattle’s good economy, buyers who have been waiting for the bottom will return and wish they had bought now.” Commenting on the relatively low sales numbers over the past year, he remarked, “There must be substantial pent-up demand.”

“The latest NWMLS numbers validate what our agents report from the field — sellers that are truly motivated to move are dropping their prices, and many buyers are recognizing the opportunity this creates,” said Ron Sparks, managing vice president at Coldwell Banker Bain in Bellevue. Increases in pending sales are a “good indication that our market is adjusting to current buyer attitude and demand.”

Sparks acknowledged price declines aren’t particularly good news for sellers, but said most sellers can be thankful the drops are really quite modest compared to other markets, where prices have recently dropped 30 percent or more. “It’s apparent that home prices, both locally and nationally, are becoming irresistible in some instances,” he remarked. As a result, he noted markets such as San Diego, Los Angeles and Las Vegas are seeing the same increased buyer activity as our local market.

Erik Hand, president of Response Mortgage Services (John L. Scott’s in-house lender) expects some improvement in financing options, but cautioned consumers about the potential cost of procrastinating.

“With the passage of the bailout bill, I expect we will gradually see an improvement to the conditions in the Non-Conforming market in the form of a narrowing of the spreads between Conforming and Non-Conforming loan products, and in some cases, an easing of guidelines that will open up financing options to a larger pool of buyers,” Hand stated.

“As for interest rates, they are expected to remain low, but like every other aspect of the economy they’re subject to the volatility of the market,” Hand commented, adding, “It’s important for homebuyers to understand that interest rates are currently at historic lows and there’s no guarantee they’ll fall further with the passage of the bailout bill.”  

“While things in the real estate world may not be perfect right now, things are, and will continue to get better and better. The medicine tastes terrible but the cure will be worth it,” NWMLS director Dick Beeson believes. Beeson, the broker/owner of Windermere/Commencement Associates in Tacoma saw a 21.8 percent surge of pending sales in Pierce County last month compared to a year ago and a notable shrinkage in inventory (down 11.2 percent from twelve months ago).

“We’re moving toward a market place with fewer properties for sale — and fewer and fewer choices for buyers. What a time to buy, low rates, low prices, low costs, and decreasing inventory — all ready for those smart buyers who act now,” he noted.

NWMLS director Kathy Estey, managing broker at the Bellevue Downtown office of John L. Scott said “September felt like we were gathering steam and back on track,” but as economic news worsened during the month buyer confidence tumbled. “The news made it sound as if buyers need 20 percent down to get a loan — and fear become our worst enemy again,” she remarked.

On a more optimistic note she added, “The Puget Sound remains a great place to own property and there are opportunities to buy low and ride the rising prices that are around the corner in a year or two.”

Northwest Multiple Listing Service, owned by its member brokers, is the largest full-service MLS in the Northwest. Its membership includes approximately 31,000 brokers and agents. The organization, based in Kirkland, currently serves 19 counties, mostly in western Washington, plus Grant, Kittitas and Okanogan counties in the central part of the state.

While I was out…

October 6, 2008

It’s been some time since I have posted to my blog and it was not because nothing interesting has been happing in Fall City.  Here are just a few things that have been going on while I was out.

Fall City Parks District has collected the necessary signatures to get the district on the ballot.  You can learn more information about the parks district here.

King County has resumed negotiations with the Snoqualmie Tribe to transfer Fall City Community Park to their ownership and has a proposed contract.

The Colonial Inn has successfully reopened as the Fall City Road House.

The Real Estate market has slowed in Fall City and in King County. More information on this later.

The Tolt Hill Bridge over the Snoqualmie River has opened and the old bridge has been recycled. You can see more information here and see a video of the new bridge.

The Washington State Department of Fisheries tried to close the Tokul Creek Fish Hatchery which supplies the Snoqualmie River with about 200,000 Steelhead smolts each year.  It looks like this has been defeated by public participation.  You can read a press release here.

The connecting road between Lake Alice and Snoqualmie Ridge is still barricaded, and it looks like it will be for the foreseeable future.

The Wells Farm and Nursery property in Fall City has been sold the property is currently for lease.

The Snoqualmie Valley School District Wasl have been published and both Fall City Elementary and Chief Kanim students did a great job on the test. 

The Snoqualmie Valley School District is working on getting a new bond proposal together that looks like it will be 25 to 50 percent of the cost of the  last bond.

King County is working on a plan to control Knotweed along the Raging and Snoqualmie Rivers. 

The Fall City Library has reopened in the new building with expanded hours.  The Carnation Library has been torn down and the building for them is under construction.  The have a temporary location in the Sno-Valley Senior Center.

The Fall City roundabout has finally been paved and striped and seems to be working very well.  It seems to be working better than the intersection on the South side of the bridge.

The old Guns and Roses property by the round-a-bout is on the market. Guns and Roses is the local nickname for the Fall City Firearms and the Fall City Green House that stood on the site of the new roundabout.

The Cherry trees along the Riverbank are getting pruned for the first time in several years.

The Fall City Food Pantry, is serving more and more families every opening.  They are open on the first and third Wednesdays of the month.  Open Noon to 1:30 and again from 6:30 to 7:30 PM. The community Food Pantry is located at the Fall City United Methodist Church 4326 337th Pl SE Fall City, WA  98027

The “If Fish Could Walk” Geocache in Fall City has been replaced and updated to a micro geocache.

The Fall City Community Association has moved their meetings from the Snoqualmie Falls Golf Course to the Fall City Road House.  They now meet upstairs in the banquet room.

Maguire Hill Real Estate that had offices in Fall City, North Bend, Maple Valley and Cle Elum has gone out of business.

Video Nites moved to a new larger location on River Street, the former location of Maguire Hill Real Estate.

Fire District 27 is considering a partnership/merger with Eastside Fire and Rescue that was formally known as District 10.

Tree House Point has been negotiating with the county to prevent the county from forcing them to tear down their treehouses.

Re/Max at the Ridge was bought out Re/Max Integrity.

Some of the first sculptures on the Fall City Sculpture Walk have been installed.  You can see one of them in Olive Taylor Quigley Park, the art park, the Fall City Library and at the Fall City Road House.  All of these locations are on the Redmond-Fall City Road.

The Fall City Elementary School has installed a new Falcon Sculpture.

The old location of the Snoqualmie Fall Credit Union on the Preston Fall City Road has been sold and the new owners are planing to put in a Bike, Skateboard, and Snowboard shop. They also purchased Fall City Espresso, and plan to keep it in the same location.  I heard the new name will be Bikes, Boards and Beans.  We will have to wait and see.

Interesting Week of Meetings in Fall City Washington.

December 7, 2007

This week I attended three public meetings in Fall City. 

Monday December 3rd was the public meeting for the Unincorporated Area Council or UAC.  The UAC that started out being to represent the people of the Fall City Area, has morphed into an area the size of the Snoqualmie Valley School District, less the incorporated area.  This covers an area from Ames Lake to Snoqualmie Pass.  To me it seems like too large of an area, with too many diverse interests to be represented by one UAC.  I think this size will increase the difficulty of communication and the ability to reach consensus.  One example of communication challenge is that with a UAC of that size, and $10,000 budget, they will not even be able to afford one mailing to the whole area.  The UAC appears to be evolving, and if they listen to the public input, I think it will continue to evolve.  I encourage you to attend the next meeting and see what it is all about and give your input.  

December 4th the group that is interested in creating the Fall City Metropolitan Park District had their second meeting.  They are investigating the difference between a Metropolitan Park District and a Parks and Recreation district.  They are looking at District boundaries, budgets, and a vision for the parks in Fall City. This group has a meeting planned for January 9th.  Why not come to the next meeting and share your vision for Fall City Parks with the group?

December 6th was a meeting with Representative’s from the King County Sheriff’s Department.  They discussed the crime statistics for Fall City Patrol District, Charlie 2, and discussed crime prevention tips that people can follow to help insure that they do not become a crime statistic.  I was impressed that the crime statistics are very low.   Within the presentation, The Major, the Detective and Deputy that were there listened to the concerns of the community and gave more information on how they can become part of the solution to crime.  Most of the people that were there participated in the discussion.  I was disappointed to see that more people did not come to the presentation. Perhaps that is just another sign that the people of Fall City are not concerned about the current level Crime in their community.

Fall City Food Pantry (Food Bank)

November 14, 2007


Today I stopped in at the Fall City Food Pantry, to see if I could help, while they were open today.  They had a good variety of food and were very organized.  The Fall City Food Pantry is located at the Fall City United Methodist Church at 4326 337th Place SE Fall City.  They are open one day a month, usually the third Wednesday of the month.  This month they moved the day up one week because of the Thanksgiving Holiday.  They have hours in the middle of the day 12:00 to 1:30 and in the evening 6:30 to 7:30 PM.    The next day that they are open will be December 19th.  Please help get the word out  to everyone, that there is a new resource in town to help get food to those who need it.  You can also keep the Food Pantry in mind if you are interested in donating food.

Photo from the Fall City United Methodist Church web site.

Price Reduced on Fall City Rambler

November 14, 2007


I have a great listing in Fall City that we just reduced the price on.  We lowered the price from $400,000 to $390,000.  It is a very clean three bedroom one and half bath rambler with an attached two car garage.  It is located on a very quiet non through street.  You can find lots of photos and more information on the house here. It has a remodeled kitchen with a Bosch dishwasher and a five burner stainless range with double ovens. The master bath has also be updated.  It is the lowest priced site built three bedroom house on the market in Fall City take a minute to check it out. There are several new real estate listings that hit the market this week.  If you are interested in searching for homes for sale or to see sold prices of Fall City homes you can start your Internet search here.  Be sure to try the interactive home search while you are there.

Library Construction Has Started

November 14, 2007

The construction on the Fall City Library, a King County Library has started.  It is nice that after all these months to see some walls going up.

Geocaching in the Northwest

October 7, 2007

We have been geocaching again after taking a few years off.  What is it?  It is an international treasure hunt using Global Positioning Satellites (GPS).  Members hide caches or stashes of trading items and post the Latitude and Longitude at Geocaching.com. When a member finds it they log in at the physical site, and trade items if they want to, and then log in on the web.   The web keeps track of their finds, and the ones they did not find.  I have a geocache in Fall City called If Fish Could Walk.  It is an example of a geocache that will take you to a spot that could be easily overlooked.  A lot of the caches are at pocket parks, or scenic spots that most people don’t know about or never take the time to stop at.  If it sounds interesting to you take a minute to check it out.

Profile for Steamer's Wake

King County Comprehensive Plan to allow more development before making traffic improvements?

October 7, 2007

This is an interesting Seattle Times article regarding proposed revisions to the King County Comprehensive plan. They want to allow development even when congestion is at level E, in a scale from A to F. This is a radical change that eliminates traffic concurrency in my opinion.  You can find out more about the 2008 revision to the comp plan here.  The good news They are looking for comments from citizens.  The next local meeting is October 11, 2007 at Cascade View Elementary School 6:30 to 8:30 PM.