- Brokers can work for either buyers or sellers.
- You should have someone represent you.
- It’s free, in almost every case, for buyers to have representation if they are buying a listed property.
- Piece of advice: whether you’re a buyer or a seller, be careful what you say to whom, it might be used against you in a negotiation. Only your broker is required to be loyal to you.
Issaquah Real Estate and Homes for Sale
There are two distinct periods of Issaquah homes. We could refer to them as Classical and Modern.
The Classical Homes are the homes built before 1954. Classical homes are concentrated in the Issaquah Valley neighborhoods and Old Towne. There are also many that were originally built in rural areas on the Issaquah Plateau, lower Tiger Mountain and in the East Renton Highlands. Even a few of these homes have survived along Lake Sammamish. Because of these close-in locations, most of these homes are no longer rural. Even though people still love them, they are generall smaller than the most modern homes.
In 1954, The Rowley Company came to town and began the Modern period with subdivision and sale of tract homes on Squak Mountain. By the early 1960s, several other communities had commenced competitive sale at Overdale Park (southwest reaches of the Issaquah Plateau) and Mirrormont (southwest lower slopes of Tiger Mountain).
Over the last 60 years, Issaquah homes have taken on a variety of sizes and shapes, luxurious, functional, condominiums and are now available in all of the areas of Issaquah.
If you're looking to call Issaquah home, or just looking for a new place to live, we've got you covered. Issaquah360 covers the most interesting of the real estate and homes in town, and let's you know which homes are currently for sale.
In the early years of this century, developers built thousands of condominium units in King County. Since the housing bust, few have been built.
New construction of single-family homes, town homes and multifamily rentals has rebounded. Why haven’t new condominiums rebounded?
Condo developers find challenges at every turn.
- Condo development has been slammed by tough rules on condo mortgages enacted after the housing bust.
- For five years, developers of new condos can expect to face extraordinarily expensive lawsuits from homeowner associations for defects in construction of the building envelope, defects that permit water penetration.
- There has also been stronger demand among young people for rentals.
Construction of new multifamily rentals has rebounded in the absence of condo development.
- Construction financing for rental properties is readily available.
- There is strong demand now from investors for apartment buildings
- On the entry-level end, tepid job growth early in the recovery and the younger generation’s affinity for flexibility have fueled demand for rentals.
Working around the mortgage restrictions, some developers have converted their project to town homes, where each unit comes with its own parcel of land and there are few common components.
At some point, we can expect the tide to turn again in favor of new condo development.
- Many developers would rather be building condominiums. With condos, the developer is paying down debt with every closing and then putting money in their pocket right away.
- Condos play a critical role as entry-level housing for young buyers, who use them to start building equity they can use toward later home purchases. Delays in home ownership mean less wealth accumulation for these households, given that housing is the primary source of wealth for most middle-class households.
- Rising apartment rents provide renters more reason to buy instead of renting.
- Job growth is improving for young would-be buyers.
- Real-estate lobbyists say they are making inroads in Washington to build support for easing the FHA restrictions on condo mortgages.
Many of the people I speak with are unaware of the post housing bust status of new condo development. If you have any questions about this, feel free to drop me an email.
The population of the central Puget Sound region (consisting of King, Pierce, Snohomish and Kitsap counties) passed 3.8 million in 2014.
The most recent one-year increase was 54,550 people or 1.4%. That’s the addition of a decent sized city in one year.
This continuing trend has been with us for many decades.
Over the 55 years since 1960, excepting two short recessionary periods, the regional population has increased every year, more than doubling the population.
Where is all this growth coming from? About 45% of that growth is the result of natural increase (births minus deaths) and 55% of it comes from net migration (people moving into an area minus people moving out).
It’s going to continue. By 2040, the Puget Sound Regional Council projects that the region will grow by an additional 2 million people.
Adding context, over the coming 25-years, that’s the same as adding to the region three cities the size of today’s Seattle.
In the late 1980s, the residents of the state became very concerned about the impact of developing cities that were causing the loss of farmland, forests, and wildlife habitat.
In response, the Growth Management Act (GMA) was passed by the legislature in 1990-91 with broad public support, support that continues to this day.
That Act circumscribed the urban areas, requiring future development to occur in areas that were already urban. Rural land was no longer available to accommodate growth.
Without more real estate, that means that existing real estate must be used much more intensely.
Many of our children and grandchildren want to remain here and many other people want to migrate here. It is one of our natural freedoms to live in regions of our choosing. No, we cannot stop all this growth, nor would we want the consequences of doing so.
Now, 25-years after the GMA became law, growth challenges our daily lives and will continue to do so.
Talus is a neighborhood located in Issaquah, WA.
It is a 630 acre master-planned community built on the eastern slope of Cougar Mountain, above Tibbetts Valley, accessible from SR-900.
It is located between Cougar Mountain Regional Park and Squak Mountain State Park.
First zoned for residential uses in the late 1980s, local governments rejected a succession of intrusive ideas, such as houses across the entire east slope and a regional conference center on top.
Everywhere I go, people are talking about the hot King County real estate market. I’ve also heard questions posed about whether we have another real estate bubble in progress.
Because average King County sale prices have increased 54% in just 3.3 years, the bubble questions are reasonable. Rising from a post-crash low in 2012 of $387,938, average sale prices have increased to $598,583, an all-time high. The previous all-time high was $598,096 set in July 2007.
If it’s not a bubble, why are prices surging? The simple answer is that supply of King County homes is constrained and demand has increased. Natural economic forces drive prices up when supply is constrained and demand increases.
Implied in the terms “surging” and “constrained” are measurements from point in time to another. In this article we’re going to look back for reference to pre-bubble numbers in 2005.
Why are supplies constrained and demand increased?
We’ll look at three primary factors.
- Growth Management Act
In 1990 & 1991, the Washington State Legislature passed the Growth Management Act. Resulting from that law, a fixed boundary was defined around the urban areas of the central Puget Sound. All development thereafter had to occur within that boundary. Over the past 25 years, almost all of the developable land has been developed. This has the effect of creating an ongoing restriction on the supply of homes and the underlying growth an increase in demand.
- Lower Pace of New Construction
Over the past 10 years, the annual number of newly constructed single family homes has fallen in the Seattle metro area from 17,565 to just 8,665. This has occurred because most of the land has been developed and greater restraint by builders and lenders.
- Inventory of Homes
The population in King County has increased 17% during the past 10 years and that increased population is now competing for 23% fewer houses for sale. At this time 10 years ago, there were 4,350 homes for sale. Only 3,335 homes were sale at the end of May.
Are Prices Actually Surging?
Surging means moving “suddenly and powerfully forward or upward.” Compared to three years ago, prices are surging. But the truth is that even after the large recent increases, the real, inflation adjusted average sale price simply equals that of 2005.
Recent news says that we are experiencing no general inflation. Looking back though, 2005 average sale prices were $476,937. In those 10 years we have experienced 25% CPI or general inflation and average home prices have only increased by the same percentage. The recent surge has simply returned prices to the level they should be after reflecting general inflation.
I don’t believe we have a bubble in progress. But, by its nature, the existence of a bubble cannot be determined while in progress.
Sources: NWMLS and Census.gov
PS. This article is published here, a month following receipt by our private newsletter subscribers. If you’d like to see these stories earlier, just sign up for our newsletter on the right side of this page.
The Issaquah 360 update newsletter is being refreshed beginning Wednesday, July 9. Not only will it look different, the frequency will change too. Much of the content will be similar to the past. It will include the Issaquah information our readers have come to expect and more.
The first revamped issue will include an article I think you’ll find of interest. Everywhere I go, people are talking about the hot King County real estate market. I’ve also heard questions posed about whether we have another real estate bubble in progress. The article will explore the question: Are We in a New Real Estate Bubble?
Each issue of the newsletter will include a single article about real estate trends resulting from the incredible growth we are experiencing here in the central Puget Sound region.
Do you realize that during the lifetimes of the Baby Boomers, this region is expected to add 600,000 more people (equal to another City of Seattle) to the exact same land area through increased density? The impact of that growth will be astounding. This newsletter will allow us to examine this impact together.
I am retitling the newsletter to Jim Clark’s Wednesday Morning Coffee. As you can imagine, it will be published on Wednesday mornings — every other week.
We haven’t finished formatting the newsletter but the header will look something similar to the image in the header.
PS Sign up now so you can get the first issue on July 9 and find out the answer to the question: Are We in a New Real Estate Bubble? You can sign up easily by completing the Free Updates form above on the right side of this page. BTW, I’m sorry to make you wait for the answer posed in the title to this article.
Issaquah is located in the central Puget Sound region, an area of continuous growth over the past thirty plus years.
Because this regional growth cannot be turned away, it is the duty of our region’s elected officials to wisely accommodate the growth.
In that effort, as required by state law, collectively they have developed an integrated, long-range vision for maintaining a healthy region – promoting the well-being of people and communities, economic vitality, and a healthy environment. It addresses real estate uses, economic development, transportation, public facilities and environmental issues.
Recently, the region’s population grew by an amount equivalent to an entirely new city larger than Issaquah in just a single year.
Over the coming thirty year period, the regional growth is expected to equal the addition of three cities the size of today’s Seattle.
South Cove is a neighborhood in Issaquah, WA built along the southwestern shore of Lake Sammamish.
This community was initiated in 1976 and built out during the late 1970s and early 1980s, originating out of a lakeside farm. The developer was Fred Burnstead and Burnstead Construction Co.