Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Mount Vista Area Revisited

I took some photos of a new listing yesterday on the north side of Mount Vista. This was down near the bottom of the hill. I wasn't expecting any kind of view as the home was nearly at the bottom of the north side of Mount Vista.

This house however was well positioned for a view, the question was simply whether the local trees and other houses were to allow it. To my surprise and delight the home has a very respectable view of the mighty Mount Saint Helens.

From the front yard there is no indication of any view. From the back yard you have a peek-a-boo view of the mountain. Once you make you way upstairs however, that peek-a-boo becomes a 90% unobstructed view! Both the Master Bedroom and a large bonus room over the garage offer this excellent view.

Now I'll be clear, this is not a sweeping vista like the properties I have listed in Colorado Ridge. But this is a nice 2200 SF home in a very tidy neighborhood priced well under $400k. So any clean view of one of our big volcanoes is huge bonus in this price range.

All over Clark County we have homes with what I call "sleeper views". You walk in, not expecting any kind of vista and then BAM! there it is. I love it when that happens :)

Friday, June 16, 2017

Some New Home Builders are using Streamlined Sales

Many new home builders are now entering into a business model that is more streamlined but less flexible for the buyer. The first time I saw this approach was when Lennar came into the local market several years ago.

Now this is not a bad thing, but buyers looking for a lot of flexible customization in their new home should be aware that Builders like Lennar and Express by D.R. Horton are seeking to minimize the changes to the basic plan including very limited options on color and trim. This allows them to order in mass a small selection of trim outs, and keep costs low. Often this business model will have an A and B selection on color/tone and that is about it.

The upside to this type of approach is that the buyer will typically find a sharp price on a comparable home to a 'full service' type builder such as the tradition D.R. Horton or locals like New Traditions. It isn't a question of one being better than the other it is a concern that new home buyers realize that they have limited choices on these streamline building models.

Personally I like to have some choice in the decor and trim of a new house. It has always been one of the advantages to buying new over resale. Of course for many the idea of a new house is more about having everything brand new and not having to deal with a copious number of problems early in the experience.

It is truly a matter of preference. If you want a brand new house at price that could be 3-5% lower than a comparable property in a tradition development, then one of these newer business models could be ideal for you. If you want to have near 'Carte Blanche' on things like kitchen counter tops, carpet and flooring choices and other trim out features then sticking with a development running the classic business model may be best for you.

Whichever style suits you, make sure you understand the terms and choices before entering into a contract with a builder. Most problems that people experience could be avoided with by simply taking extra time to fully understand the offer from the builder.

As a local Realtor® I enjoy the multitude of opportunities to help my clients with a variety of different business models in various developments in and around Clark County.

Friday, June 9, 2017

Condos ride the waves

The condo market has ridden the wild roller coaster over the last several years. This is not atypical in a market that follows an extreme adjustment like the one we had back in 2009.

Condos took a serious beat down in the 2009-2011 free fall. Locally there were two major factors. The first was the obvious market crash that the whole nation felt. But more localized was the over abundance of condos that had flooded the area, particularly in Downtown Vancouver.

There were luxury units in Vancouver Center and 500 Broadway that were fetching close to a million dollars in 2007-08 that got wiped out in the foul mood of real estate in 2010-11. Those units saw reductions in sales prices in the 60% range!

Condos were much slower to rebound and those ultra luxury high-rise units have not yet returned to the lofty price typically associated with lofty heights high above the city. But lower priced condos are seeing a surge. As single family detached and attached housing has soared, suddenly the traditional condo with the expensive HOA dues still makes financial sense for people in the entry level price ranges.

The charts provided represent the last 6 months of activity wherein we see the days on market coming way down. Note: you have to ignore average with this as the unit totals are too small and the average is heavily skewed by a couple of short sale or bank owned problem units that sat for years.

Negotiated prices on condos as recently as six months back were well under asking, then they popped up to meet the rest of the market averaging over asking, and now seem to be settling in at or near asking. I think the bump in available inventory cooled the jets a little on condos.

Anyone sitting in a mid-level to upscale condo may have a solid opportunity to sell now at top dollar. Starting next year the new waterfront will begin coming online with new buildings and an urban buzz. Part of that will be a phased in 3300 housing units which will be a mix of condos, apartments, and senior housing. This may tug on the values a bit in the middle to upper end of the condo market elsewhere in the area.

I have my eye closely on the condo market as I am most excited about the waterfront development. They are working on the cable suspended Grant Street Pier right now and several of the mid-rise and high-rise buildings are starting to go up.

All things considered, condos are back and they should start filling in as relief for the entry level buyers and practical for those seeking to down size as they approach retirement.