I wanted to take an opportunity to plug Dave Neir's LakeWenatcheeInfo.com Dave has done a great job making the Lake Wenatchee and Fish Lake area accessible to visitors and locals alike via the web. Dave has a great understanding of the possibilities such a resource can be. I'm amazed at how many websites are static and become quickly dated or useless. Not the case here. LakeWenatcheeInfo is always adding something new and I'm pleasantly surprised when I come to visit. He just pointed out his local classifieds to me. Need a truck?
Geordie Romer's blog
A frequent request we get is a buyer who wants to buy a vacation home, but would like to rent it out when they aren't using it.
It sounds like a great idea in theory, but rarely works out. First of all you need to consider zoning. In the city limits of Leavenworth nightly rentals are only legal in commercially zoned areas. There are a few houses in the commercial zones, but mostly this means buying a condo. It's not the cabin that most folks dream of, but it is easier to rent and to maintain.
Since I posted about homes without permits, wells, or septics being put on the market we have seen a few more. Both are being offered under $100,000 and fit into the tear down category. The previous offerings were nice little cabins, even if they didn't meet current legal or health requirments. The newest offerings? Little to no value as structures, in my opinion. (I think the prices reflect that, so a pat on the back to the listing agents.) I wonder what other strange listings this Summer will bring.
What is an absorption rate? It is the average number of houses that sell per month and it tells us what kind of inventory we have.
I ran some numbers today which confirm what I thought was the case. Currently there are 57 single family homes (not including condos or manufactured homes) in the general Leavenworth market. This includes Plain, Peshastin, and Lake Wenatchee. The average home is listed at $536,000. From the buyers I talk to and e-mail day in and day out, this is out of most folks price range. For 2006 so far this year, the average sold price is $310,000.
Think this might be a problem for selling a house? Apparently not in today's real estate market for Leavenworth Washington.
Two homes recently popped on the market just outside of town. Nice little fixer upper cabins. Cabins without water, wired for generators and hooked up to sketchy homemade septic systems. Both received multiple offers in just a few days. A surprise to a number of agents in the area.
My new issue of Fortune came in the mail today. I've been a fan of the mag the last year or so. I don't really have the energy to pour through the Economist like I used to, nor do I feel like I need to start each day with the WSJ or NYT. I tried Money, but was often dismayed by their lack of insight on real estate matters. Anyhow, the new issue of Fortune:
The local Windermere offices in Wenatchee and Leavenworth have recently published a market review which has local real estate statistics for 2005. (I will mail you one for free if you ask.) Average prices for local towns (excluding new construction):
E. Wenatchee $188,000
Those prices seem ridiculously low, don't they. Yep, that was 2005. Old news.
As of May 1, 2006.
In my discussions with my favorite lender, Darel Ansley of People's Bank, it sounds like interest rates are starting to nudge up again. (Around 6.5% +/-) Mortgage professionals are guessing it could reach 6.7% later this summer. The good news is that this is likely as high as it will get for a while. If rates stay under 7% for a few years it will really help the real estate market. I haven't worked in an era of 12% or worse 18% rates and I can't say I really want too.
20%. That's the big number that just came out from the recent Real Estate "Snapshot" put out by Pacific Appraisal in Wenatchee. There has been an overall gain of 20% value in real estate in the Wenatchee Valley since last year.
Not all properties appreciated at this rate. Some market sectors are hot and others less so. Ramblers and their convenient one story living continue to be money makers. Cabins and condos seem to be the hot item in the Leavenworth area. Multi-family investment properties are also very popular throughout the valley.
Condominiums have been a popular seller here in Leavenworth and in Kahler Glen for some time. There are even four new condo projects being built here as I type.
I just read that about a new cruise ship, Magellan that will be selling on board "condos." The ship is at sea year round visiting exotic ports and units are priced between $1.8 million to $8 million. A one month fractional ownership is a mere $156,250.
If you are thinking about buying one of these condos give me a call first. I could find you something nice on the water in Leavenworth for a little less :)