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Rates are Great

It appears the steady climb to higher interest rates is waning. We have recently moved through the 200 day moving average for Mortgage Backed Securities. The FNMA 4.00% Coupon stands at 99.72 improving 22 basis points today. The 10 year bond market has continued its rally and stands at 3.25 today as well. Remember that an increase in demand for bonds (lower economic forecasts) translates to lower long term interest rates.  This recent movement has occurred in the past 30-45 days and appears to coincide with the lowering of growth estimates. Let’s face it, much of the growth in the past year or so has to do directly with government stimulus spending. With the technical explanations out of the way let’s look at what it all means.

With interest rates still at all time lows and our local region faring better economically than the nation as a whole has created opportunity. As I have recently posted, there continues to be better employment opportunities in Seattle (see Spring Break Fun and Local News).  Keeping in mind that we have seen a substantial decrease in values since the credit crisis took hold it looks to this Troll that we have the makings of a recovery. If rates are down and rents are up (see Rents on the Rise?) people will start to choose home ownership and its tax benefits rather than staying put and paying someone else’s mortgage.  We are seeing now that houses that are appropriately priced in solid neighborhoods are garnering multiple offers. These conditions should collectively foster additional demand for entry level housing, which of course is our Specialty! For more information feel free to give me a call.

The Troll

Easter Surprise

The Troll felt obligated to pass along an Easter story. The Troll and his lovely wife had a gathering to prepare for on Easter Sunday (25 of their best friends and family). The Saturdays preparation proved to be exhausting (yard work, cooking, cleaning, little league, swimming lessons).  As the day came to its end we went up to bed and crashed. In a deep sleep the Troll was awakened by the backhand of Mrs. Troll who seemed in a panic. WE DIDN’T HIDE THE EGGS, she bellowed. And for once she was right; we completely forgot to hide the eggs that our kids had diligently and artistically decorated, furthermore we had forgotten to prepare their Baskets.

So there we were at 2:00 AM in a sleep deprived daze playing Easter Bunny. It took us about 20 minutes but the Trolls rallied and kept alive the delicate rouse of the candy wielding Lagomorphs. Was it all worth it? Of course it was, the Trolls children would believe in the Easter bunny for one more year. Speaking of the Troll children, the boy (7) is starting to raise doubts. He is asking questions like “Is the Easter Bunny the same size as a regular bunny or is he bigger like you?” I think he is going along because he likes the idea of free candy.  The girl (4) and wise beyond her years still gleefully believes. Tragedy averted, for now!   

Did you know the Easter Bunny came from what is now Germany? The Easter Bunny was introduced to the U.S. by German settlers who arrived in the Pennsylvania Dutch country during the 18th century.  

The Tired Troll

Spring Break Fun and Local News

The Troll has been able to keep up his torrid work schedule by enlisting the help of an old ally, Grandpa Troll. With the kids out of school for the week the Troll had the foresight to fly in a ringer. Yes, Grandpa Troll to the rescue. Items on the schedule this week include the Star Wars exhibit at the Pacific Science Center (really cool), the newly released Hop, a Mariners day game and some well timed outdoor activities (is that the sun?). And since the Troll has a quiet office he can relay some news.

I drove by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation yesterday and saw that it was nearly completed. It appears that it will be ready for operations this summer. The Gates Foundation is currently hiring for numerous positions in global health and will employ in the neighborhood of 2,000 in its new Seattle Headquarters.

Vulcan Inc. (Paul Allen) is also in the final stages of completing the new Amazon Headquarters. The estimates on that project (11 buildings and 1.6 million SqFt) reveal that approximately 6,000 Amazon employees will be working in South Lake Union.  The new jobs are a welcome sight and should provide a boost in demand for our local housing market.

In other news, Mercer St was closed this past weekend and will be closed an additional 20 weekends.  

The Troll

Rents on the Rise?

I have read some recent publications regarding the rental market and have some information to pass along. According to REIS Inc, an impartial source of commercial real estate data, renters could be facing some substantial rent increases in the next year. The firm’s quarterly report shows that the vacancy rates for apartments dropped dramatically during the first quarter and rents have begun to rise in some parts of the country. Reuters also has a story out that shows apartment vacancy has declined in the past quarter from 6.4% to 6.2% nationally. This is the largest percentage drop in any quarter since REIS Inc has tracked this data (1999). In addition, the Census Bureau confirms this trend and includes other types of rentals (SFR’s). According to their data, the rental vacancy rate dropped 1.3% from 4th quarter 2009 through 4th quarter 2010. We shouldn’t ignore an obvious trend.

In an attempt to bring this national information to a local level; I will pass along my most recent rental experience. Our longtime tenant provided notice in February that she was moving to help her elderly parents.   It took the Troll a week get the place ready. He had it professionally cleaned, touched up the paint and completed a landscaping project long overdue (bamboo removal….nasty stuff!).  We listed the property on craigslist on a Saturday evening and to our surprise by Sunday morning we had 14 inquiries. I showed the unit to the first few people and rented it after a credit report and a lease agreement. It Took Less Than A Day!

Now, the Troll is not sharing his story to brag about the one time when the sun actually shined on him. As you will soon find out he has numerous shortcomings which Mrs. Troll is always happy to point out. He just wanted to share with his readers an experience he had and hopefully provide some local feedback.

And with that he will crawl back under his bridge.

The Smiling Troll  

Spring Market

Spring has sprung and it’s time to talk about some helpful tips on readying your property for the market. If it is curb appeal you are looking for try focusing on landscaping and exterior paint. Painting is less expensive than other types of projects and you can Do It Yourself! A clean yard is also a must. Make sure you mow, weed your planters and prune your bushes. Now is the perfect time as the ground is easier to work. Also, barking is easy and I’m not talking about your neighbors’ dog. You can cover some unsightly areas of your yard by simply applying ground cover. These few steps can keep some serious cash on the table when negotiating a sale.

Wallingford Realty Inc. has also teamed up with a local licensed and bonded builder for project’s that require more involvement. We can discuss sensible home beautification projects that current buyers crave. Let’s face it, you have to distinguish yourselves in this market and properties that are priced appropriately and have curb appeal can bring much more attention and possibly multiple offers.

The Troll

Open for Business!

Well, after a good six months of diligent preparation Wallingford Realty Inc. is getting its start! I’d like to take a quick moment to thank a few people for all of their hard work. Cherie Smittle is the one responsible for creating this fantastic site. We set out to create something totally different from our competition and I think we succeeded. I hope you really enjoy it. I’d also like to thank Erin Sartain for her creative thinking in getting our message out. Lastly, and most important, I’d like to thank my wife Carey for her unwavering support in this effort. I love you baby and I couldn’t have done it without you.

For my first post I’d like to briefly discuss the new project at Stone Way and N 40th St. I have to say that as I watched that crane go up I felt for the first time in a while that the winds were changing. The project will be 140 condominiums and some additional mixed retail. For those that don’t know our office is very close to that project and it will be nice to look upon that property and not think of it as a pool. Exciting Times indeed folks!

If you poke around the site you will get to know what we are all about so I’ll leave the exploring to you. I’ve been in this game a long time and if I don’t know the answer, chances are I know someone who does. That said; please don’t hesitate to “Ask the Troll….Anything”.

If you’re an agent looking to find the perfect nest to cultivate your skills and expertise, look no further. We will be adding staff in the coming weeks and look forward to speaking with you.

Stay tuned!

The Troll

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