Update for Lake Washington waterfront owners: the King County bulkhead softening grant program just received its funding, and they have decided on a path forward. There will be two focus groups in February-March to determine current attitudes, concerns, and acceptance of softened gravel bulkheads that control erosion while improving fish habitat. Then in April two initial grants will be provided to two home owners: one for $20,000 and the other for $10,000. Contact me if you would like further info and would like to be included for consideration on this grant. It’s a great opportunity to improve your landscaping while also improving your habitat.

The general market is still hot hot hot. For 2004, there are some interesting tidbits out there. The number of $1,000,000+ home sales in the general Puget Sound region rose a whopping 55% over 2003. In King County, there were 762 single family homes and 44 condos that sold for prices over that benchmark. Also, the total number of all homes sold rose 11%, while the total dollar volume jumped 31.5%. Condos are very much in demand and seemingly a growing part of the real estate market due to baby boomer effects, downsizing, lifestyle changes, and second home purchases; 19% more condos sold last year than in 2003. With an improving economy and better job availability, still historically low interest rates, increasing populations, and limited supply of both land and homes, the demand continues. I recommend planning for a cooling period later this year, although there are still few tangible indicators of any price bubbles (due to continuing affordability relative to incomes, plus ongoing demand relative to supply) and few immediate indicators of price softening.

For the local WaterHavens waterfront market in December-January: house sales ranged from a fixer on Renton’s Lake Desire for $155,000 to a $8,400,000 sale in Seattle’s Madison Park on Lake Washington and another $8,400,000 sale in Hunts Point also on Lake Washington. For waterfront condos, sold properties ranged from $118,500 on Swan Lake in Redmond to $1,799,000 in Seattle’s Leschi neighborhood on Lake Washington. One floating home slip sold for $55,000, and vacant land ranged from $149,950 on East Lake Sammamish to $235,000 on SeaTac’s Angle Lake. There are currently 186 waterfront WaterHavens available in our local area, and even more water view and water access WaterHavens. Inventory is low, so it’s a great time to sell if you’re thinking about it. For buyers, the inventory should be picking up again over the next couple months as the market picks up again and the weather starts to make people think more about living near the water..

There has been quite a bit of recent activity regarding the downtown Seattle waterfront. An initial decision has been made to replace the viaduct with a tunnel; the project would incorporate new waterfront public space, parks, and beach access. Also, a long section of Elliott Bay’s rip rap seawall is being repaired and an attempt to create a waterfront residential/commercial community at Terminal 46 was officially nixed and the lease of the current tenants was extended.

In local neighborhoods: the ongoing controversy over rails-to-trails conversion behind Lake Sammamish waterfront property owners came to a decision point in favor of the trail project moving ahead. Also on Lake Sammamish, the state park is proposing major changes and expansions centered around the waterfront facilities and access points for the public. And in Magnolia the proposed development of the Navy’s land in Discovery Park was nixed in favor of a land swap with a development company, thus increasing the size of the park.

That’s the latest from the world of WaterHavens. If I can ever be of assistance you or your friends, family, and neighbors, please let me know any time.

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

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