Change to U.S.-backed condo loans comes as summer market wraps up

A monthly real estate snapshot by John L. Scott Real Estate.

  • Wednesday, September 18, 2019 1:30am
  • Business

By Erin Flemming

Special to the Reporter

Though the local real estate market tends to be a bit quieter in August due to summer vacations, Julia Nordby, office leader and business coach of John L. Scott’s Bellevue-main office, said she’s optimistic about Bellevue’s market given the low current interest rates and very positive job growth.

“In Bellevue, we have slightly more than two months of inventory in most price ranges, which is up about a month from last year,” Nordby said. “This is still a seller’s market, but you get up to $1.7 million, the inventory is closer to four months, which is considered healthy. In our local market, we’ve found that buyers have thoroughly relished in their options – this shift in selection means they can take a bit more time to find the home that’s perfect for them.”

Looking ahead, Lori Weaver, a broker from John L. Scott’s Bellevue-main office, said the market is still competitive in Bellevue, especially for condo properties that attract investors and often garner multiple offers. Condos are another area of opportunity Weaver sees locally, with many available on the Eastside for $400,000 and less.

“Based on the months of inventory and absorption rate, we are still in a seller’s market – but the pressure has eased up significantly compared to 18 months ago,” Weaver said. “Properties are staying on the market a bit longer, so there are lots of options for those looking to buy. However, buyers should still expect to pay close to list price throughout King County.”

Though the local real estate market in Bellevue didn’t offer up any major surprises in August, the real estate industry is abuzz with a change to laws surrounding low-down-payment loans for condominiums. The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) announced in August that the U.S. will back more condominium loans, a change that is aimed at helping first-time buyers.

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) and others expressed support for the change, arguing in cities like Seattle, expanding opportunities for first-time buyers to purchase a condo is a welcomed change. Weaver echoed the sentiments of NAR, saying the change should alleviate some of the pressure in our local market, where growing demand has outpaced supply in recent years.

“I’m excited to see this change — it’s been a long time coming,” Weaver said. “Expanding low-down-payment loans for condos will help make housing more affordable for families and allow many to purchase their first home. Locally on the Eastside, it could also help move condos at a quicker pace.”

According to a new analysis from Attom Data Solutions, homes within a close range of popular food stores such as Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods have high home value rates and investment returns. There has been a lot of development in Bellevue over the last few years, with much more slated to come. Weaver said one area of Bellevue that remains popular with clients is Wilburton, due to its proximity to downtown, wooded areas, top schools and relative affordability.

“Wilburton really has a lot to offer, and the development of the Wilburton Village project will bring a PCC Community Market, Target and Virginia Mason medical clinic to the west side of the neighborhood,” Weaver said. “This project will definitely draw more people and jobs to the area, which is great. The Wilburton Light Rail will also increase the home value and investment returns of the neighborhood going forward.”


In consideration of how we voice our opinions in the modern world, we’ve closed comments on our websites. We value the opinions of our readers and we encourage you to keep the conversation going.

Please feel free to share your story tips by emailing editor@bellevuereporter.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.bellevuereporter.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) We reserve the right to edit letters, but if you keep yours to 300 words or less, we won’t ask you to shorten it.

More in Business

Sound Publishing operates the following titles in King County: Federal Way Mirror, Auburn Reporter, Kent-Covington Reporter, Renton Reporter, Enumclaw Courier-Herald, Kirkland Reporter, Bellevue Reporter, Snoqualmie Valley Record, Issaquah Reporter, Redmond Reporter, Bothell-Kenmore Reporter, Mercer Island Reporter and the Vashon-Maury Island Beachcomber.
Bellevue Reporter to suspend print publication

As the coronavirus pandemic continues to rapidly evolve across the globe, the… Continue reading

COVID-19 gathering restriction delays funerals

For one funeral home owner, the confusion came to a head after a recent service.

Boeing plants in Puget Sound area to close; infected Everett worker dies

To the relief of anxious employees, the company said it will shut down factory operations for two weeks.

For sale sign hanging in front of house. File photo
Open houses close due to coronavirus concerns

Northwest Multiple Listing Service halts large group home tours amid pandemic.

Customers buying high volume of products at cannabis shops

Retail establishments get the green light to remain open during COVID-19 pandemic.

AG Ferguson warns of scams related to COVID-19

Washingtonians should be skeptical of claims about virus

A Boeing 777X during a taxi test. (Boeing Co.)
Companywide, Boeing reports 11 confirmed cases of COVID-19

Boeing will equip more employees to work remotely, but for now factory workers will stay on the line.

Photo by Claire Albright
                                The Bellevue Ice Rink has various events throughout the season, such as stroller skate days, free skate lessons, Husky Skate Day, and Jedi Skate Night. These help switch up the typical skating experience.
Time to say goodbye to Bellevue Ice Rink for season

Taking a look behind-the-scenes of the Bellevue Ice Rink as the break-down process begins

Business perspective for the new year | Financial advice column

A monthly business column from a local financial adviser.

A new decade begins with low inventory in housing market | Real Estate Column

A monthly real estate snapshot from John L. Scott Real Estate.

Finding your proverbial strawberries | Business column

A monthly business column from Mercer Island financial adviser Bob Toomey.

Decreased inventory for buyers in local real estate market

A monthly real estate snapshot by John L. Scott Real Estate.