Last month’s issue went on summer vacation with me (kayaking trip, staying at B&Bs; in seaside towns, exploring WaterHaven communities), but we’re back now.

In local waterfront news, the big stories have included controversy and possible government intervention in a 1 mile shoreline mining operation on Vashon-Maury island, proposals for state legislation of hillside tram inspections, addition of Wi-Fi on selected ferries and new passenger ferry routes, Seattle’s waterfront Olympic Sculpture park is underway, and a state validation to go ahead with replacing Seattle’s waterfront viaduct. See WaterHavens.com for more info on these and other waterfront stories.

The real estate market continues on at a juggernaut pace. In a complete turn of usual events, mortgage interest rates actually decreased after the Fed raised their rates, and have risen only a bit since. Lots of factors there, including a mix of indeterminate financial indicators plus financial institutions wanting to maintain the high pace of loan transactions. The King County market is maintaining a similar level of sales as compared to last year and also prior recent months, and the usual end of summer activity drop-off appears to be less than usual. King County average days on market dropped significantly from 56 to 44 days, and the median price rose significantly to about $330,000. We are in a “seller’s market”, where there is an imbalance between supply (less) and demand (more). Even more amazing, a wide range of experts from many different organizations all agree that there still does not appear to be the characteristics in place for a housing price bubble to burst. Improving economic indicators, low interest rates/payments, and steadily increasing demand are all supportive of continued positive market activity. Of course, I always recommend being conservative in your real estate appreciation projections and let the extra upside potential be a “cherry on top”.

The higher end waterfront market continues to be very strong, and many local waterfront communities are getting fairly picked over at this point in the year. Waterfront-heavy regions such as San Juan County and Island County have led the entire state in year-over-year price increases.

For the months of August and September, local waterfront house final sale prices ranged from $205,000 on Auburn’s Dolloff Lake to $9,000,000 for a Lake Washington home in Seattle. For certain areas of waterfront condominiums, prices ranged from $124,950 for a complex in Des Moines to $755,000 for a condo on the Alki strip in West Seattle. For floating homes, sales ranged from $363,500 to $633,500. Two waterfront duplexes were sold on Alki Beach, at $600,000 and $925,000. And for vacant waterfront land, finalized sales ranged from $100,000 on Auburn’s Dolloff Lake to $1,300,000 on Lake Washington in Bellevue’s Enatai community.

For a fascinating look at the state of our local luxury WaterHaven communities, contact me for a copy of our in depth review of the luxury home market from the first half of 2004. It shows how strong the upper end market has been in 2004, outpacing prior years very significantly in many cases. The desirability and ongoing investment value of WaterHaven communities shines through in this report.

Enjoy a WaterHaven! Our waterfront is the best in the world.

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