Ahoy there! Hopefully you are securing your summer toys and transitioning to the season of watching your winter views from the coziness of your fireplace. WaterHavens are always great year around…

There are some interesting new financial grant programs available to waterfront/view home owners and their communities in King County. For instance, Lake Washington home owners can receive $10,000 to put toward the cost of replacing their bulkheads with a sloped gravel beach. The Department of Fish and Wildlife has a grant program for private owners of large rural land tracts who will improve fish habitat on their property; they’ll give you up to $50,000. There is also an Urban Environment Program that will provide your community up to $40,000 for habitat restoration in your neighborhood. Contact me for information on any of these programs for waterfront home owners.

October was another strong month for the general residential real estate market. For King County: the pending number of sales rose 2.32% from October of last year, median price rose from $290,974 to $325,000, average days on market declined from 54 to 46. The ongoing “seller’s market” is still here. While demand is still high due to the factors I have discussed in previous newsletters, the local inventory levels have dropped 18.8% from last year. That accounts for a significant difference in the supply & demand curves. As I’ve been noting, this has definitely reflected itself in certain local waterfront communities having significantly fewer homes to choose from.

With the upcoming holiday seasons fast approaching, activity levels tend to decrease significantly over the next couple months. However, with the current market dynamics, if you are considering selling or buying it would still benefit you to stay in the market over the next couple months before activity levels pick up again in January. For sellers, there is still high demand for market priced properties (overpriced properties still sit without offers, as usual). For buyers, you will likely have fewer competing buyers to contend with and potentially more time to evaluate properties before they get grabbed by other buyers.

In the local WaterHavens market: single family homes ranged from a fixer for $124,950 on Kent’s Panther Lake to $5,375,000 on Mercer Island, condos ranged from $117,000 on Redmond’s Swan Lake to $1,069,000 on Lake Washington in Kirkland, floating homes ranged from $67,900 to $551,000, and one vacant lot sold for $250,000 (2 vacant floating home slips also sold for $58,000 and $265,000). There are 233 waterfront properties available on the local market at this time.

For tram and walk-down home fans, there’s a new tram company in the local market: MunsonWorks. You can contact owner Eric Munson at or 866-WHY-HIKE.

The big story last month that grabbed national attention was the oil spill in south Puget Sound’s Dalco Passage. Locally, this event generated concerns over the slow response in containing the spill, brought attention to the relatively small amount of infrastructure and materials that would be available if a larger spill occurred, and worried local waterfront residents since their offers to provide volunteer cleanup help were appreciated but rebuffed nonetheless. The culprit is still officially undetermined, although the focus is now tightening on an old tanker owned by Polar Tankers.

In local waterfront news, Metropolitan King County Council’s approved Critical Areas Ordinance has been very controversial for rural landowners in unincorporated areas of the county. The new regulations, which are aimed at improving – or at least maintaining – both local and regional wildlife habitat and watershed quality, would pose new restrictions on owners of properties that are near streams, rivers, lakes, and other wetlands. Depending upon lot size and other parameters, owners of rural land are required to maintain 50-65% of land in native vegetation when the rest gets developed, and it requires larger setback/buffer areas around wetlands. It is a classic disagreement of community environmental issues versus individual property rights, and there is currently an organized effort to challenge it both in the court system and via referendums. Stay tuned for further developments…

In other news, Bellevue’s Newport Shores community is moving forward with a settlement of getting old sediment cleaned up on its shores by Lake Washington, ferry system security has been increased, and Seattle has officially acquired the beautiful West Point Lighthouse at the western tip of Magnolia’s Discovery Park. See for more information on these topics, other news, and upcoming events.

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

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