Ballard Real Estate Report – July 2017

Past Sale by Ewing and Clark

Our Ballard neighborhood continues to be a hot ticket item in the Seattle real estate market. Our neighborhood had 46 sales last month; 7 more than last year. Like many other Seattle neighborhoods, the inventory remains low leading prices to rise. The average sales price for a Ballard home was at $684,508 in July of 2016, the number jumped to $781,272 this July. The highest cost for a Ballard home sold was at $1,600,000 compared to just $960,000 last July. Single-family homes in Ballard were on the market for an average of 7 days last month versus 17 days last July. There are currently 19 active listings and 44 pending.

Past Sale by Ewing and Clark

Ballard condo sales were down last month compared to July 2016. There were 7 less sales but reports show an increase in prices. The average sales price rose from $349,991 (July 2016) to $496,101 (July 2017). The highest cost for a Ballard condominium jumped from $425,00 to $680,000, and the median price increased from $378,000 to $505,000. There are currently 5 active condominium listings and 16 pending.

Seattle Apartment Vacancy Rate at All Time Low Now, but Will Ballard be Overbuilt?

Ballard Hjarta IIAccording to a Seattle Times article, apartment vacancy rates in Seattle are at an all-time low. In the past few years, the Seattle rental market, especially in Ballard, has shifted from a tenant-market to a landlord-market. What does that mean for people searching for apartments? High rents.

Using the basic economic theory of supply and demand, there hasn’t been much new supply. The amount of new apartments is one-third of what was offered in 2009. Additionally, demand is higher, MUCH higher. People who can afford houses are fearful to buy, so they are staying in apartments, despite the evidence that it may be more affordable to buy. Additionally (and this is my own theory), the economy is picking up, meaning more young professionals can afford to move out or live with fewer roommates than before. Demand has skyrocketed and that has caused the Seattle vacancy rate to be under 5%! The higher rents are definitely noticeable in Ballard.

Fortunately, Ballard is working hard to meet that demand. It is impossible to not see the cranes that dot the horizon as you look across Market or look up 15th or 24th. Tenants should feel some rent relief in the next year or so. However, some are worried that Ballard may be overbuilt. In my opinion, I think people will continue to flock to the neighborhood. But I’ve said that in previous posts. What do you think?

If you’re interested in seeing what’s available in the apartment market in Ballard and the surrounding areas, use the search tool here.

New Ballard Restaurant: The Gerald

Ballardites, add a new restaurant to your radar. The space at 5210 Ballard Avenue will now be known as The Gerald, a restaurant/bar tapping into our desire for American comfort food. In an effort to fill the void created when Denny’s was torn down, The Gerald will be offering classic American diner options, such as Mac ‘n cheese. For the full menu options, please check out its website.

Perusing the menu, you know that I’ll be checking this place out in the next few weeks for three reasons:

  1. Poutine –  The heart attack-inducing food, poutine, is fries smothered in gravy and cheese curds. Slowly but surely, the Canadian classic has been sneaking down south in to the States. So, I cannot wait to taste The Gerald’s poutine creation.
  2. Swedish Meatballs– Despite living in the Nordic capital of Seattle, it is surprisingly difficult to find a place that serves Swedish meatballs. The only place I know that serves Swedish meatballs in Ballard is The Copper Gate. Besides that, the only option to satisfy my craving was to hop in a car and get lost in a Swedish maze of modern home furnishings that is IKEA. Now that The Gerald is open, you can bet I will order the Swedish meatballs. Thank you, The Gerald, for honoring Ballard’s Nordic roots.
  3. Cocktails – The Gerald offers an intriguing cocktail menu, inspired by the 50s and 60s. Highlights include the numerous gin cocktail options (the Ruby Gin Fizz, the Gimlet, and the James Bond-inspired Vesper), various ginger options, and more. I cannot wait to sip on a Silent Third while enjoying a sunny afternoon. Wouldn’t you like to try a “sexy coupling of lemon & vanilla,” otherwise known as the Sidecar? Oo, I’m thirsty!

The Gerald looks like a restaurant-bar hybrid. In the sea of restaurants and bars in Ballard,  it will be interesting to see how this one succeeds, as there are a few other restaurants that offer the comfort food options. It opens tonight, but an official grand opening will happen in the next few weeks. If you stop by, tell me what you think!

Don’t forget to check out The Gerald’s Facebook!

Ballard Coffee Works Will Open March 24th

If you’ve been out and about in Ballard, I’m sure that you’ve noticed progress being made on the former Tully’s space on 22nd and Market, otherwise known as the future Ballard Coffee Works space. As I mentioned in a previous blog, Seattle Coffee Works will be expanding and building a new store in that location. Last Sunday, I saw people painting the store frames, prepping it for opening. But, when will I be able to get my Ballard coffee fix?!

According to the Ballard News-Tribune, the Ballard Coffee Works is scheduled to open Saturday, March 24th. I cannot wait to sit inside and try a cup of its gourmet coffee. In the meantime, I’ll go to the Seattle Coffee Works on 1st and Pike. If you’d like more information, please visit its blog at www.seattlecoffeeworks.com

 

Ballard to See Changes to its Bus Route

Ballardites, if you take the bus, pay attention. According to the Ballard News-Tribune, Ballard will be receiving a Rapid Ride, known as Rapid Ride D. It’ll make for a fast connection from Ballard to downtown Seattle, similar to the 15X, but with different stops and at all normal bus hours. The Rapid Ride D line will be slower than the 15X, but will offer more frequent service, better facilities, and more. Fortunately, the Ballardites spoke loud and clear at a recent Metro meeting, and the 15X will be kept, along with the Rapid Ride D. However, the local 15 route will be replaced with the Rapid Ride line D.

Stay tuned for updates on how the Rapid Ride D will impact other bus routes in the Ballard area. As of right now, the plan is for the 18 route to go through Fremont, Route 24 will change, and Route 46 will be eliminated. I’m eager to see the impact that the Rapid Ride will have on Ballard.

Congrats to the Best Farmer’s Market in the State – The Ballard Farmer’s Market

The votes are in! According to the Seattle Weekly, the best farmer’s market in the state of Washington is none other than Ballard’s own Farmer’s Market. This is the second year in a row that the Ballard Farmer’s Market has won this award. Held every Sunday, rain or shine, the Ballard Farmer’s Market is fantastic. It boasts great-tasting, varied produce throughout the year, even in the winter, and I always love picking up the soap there too. Along with having fantastic offerings year-round, it’s also in a supreme location, in the heart of Ballard on Ballard Avenue. In the summer months, I like to swing by Vera’s for breakfast, stroll around the Farmer’s Market, pick up a slice of wood-fired Veraci pizza, and enjoy the crowd.

If you haven’t stopped by, the Ballard’s Farmer Market is held every Sunday, from 10am-3pm, along Ballard Avenue. For more information, check out its website.

Is North Ballard Seattle’s Best Kept Secret?

Trulia recently released a report analyzing neighborhoods that locals look at but out-of-towners frequently look over in the daunting home searching quest. These would be considered a city’s best kept secret. According to the report, summarized in the Seattle P.I., Ballard’s zip code of 98117 is Seattle’s best kept secret. Encompassing Loyal Heights, Crown Hill, North Beach, Whittier Heights, and Greenwood, the 98117 zipcode offers quietly upscale homes without the expensive prices. Personally, I live in the 98117 zip code and think it is a fantastic neighborhood. It offers lots of restaurants and stores, yet still has a neighborhood feel to it.

What do you think? Do you think 98117 is Seattle’s best kept secret?

Seattle Funding Precinct – Liaison Attorneys

When there is a public safety issue or a chronic neighbor nuisance, it’s not always most efficient or effective to call 911. Sometimes, it’s best to go through a precinct-liaison program. Up until now, Seattle budget cutbacks have prevented funding to such programs.  According to a Seattle Times article, the Seattle City Council has restored funding to allow four attorney liaisons in  Seattle’s five police precincts.

For the Ballard area, your precinct liaison attorney is Jana Jorgensen. Starting in mid-February, you can contact her as a resource to solve neighborhood issues, like nuisance properties, feuding neighbors, and gang activity. Additionally, she lives in the North precinct, so she has a vested interest in the public safety issues of Ballard and the surrounding neighborhoods. With a precinct liaison attorney, it increases the police capabilities, using legal means to solve community issues. You can contact her at 206-684-7765 for your community needs, starting mid-February. To view the precinct-liaison attorneys in the other precincts of Seattle or for more information, please visit the Seattle Times article.

Ballard Bank Approved for New Building

Ballard Hjarta IIThe DPD has approved plans to replace the Ballard building at 2020 NW Market, home of the Washington Federal Savings and Loan Building. The new Washington Federal Savings and Loan Building in Ballard will keep the same address, but designs show a 9,000 sq.ft structure with parking for 13-14 cars. EHS Design describes the early structure designs as “a new old building” and that it will be a “nice backdrop to the Carnegie [Library].”

For more information, please view the report here. If you would like to submit a design appeal, it must be received by January 26th, 2012.

Ballard’s Going Down Under: Kangaroo & Kiwi Pub Moving to Ballard

Great news, Ballardites! Ballard is getting a little dose of Southern Hemisphere action, as the Kangaroo & Kiwi Pub has plans to move to Ballard in April. According to the Ballard News Tribune, the Kangaroo & Kiwi Pub will occupy the ground floor of the Old Carnegie Library, filling the 3,000 sq. ft space with a restaurant, wine cellar, and even a backyard patio.

This is an excellent fit for Ballard. I’ve been to the Kangaroo & Kiwi Pub in Green Lake and enjoyed the tone. It has the “down undah'” vibe without being kitschy. If you’re looking for a place that plays Phil Collins non-stop and has fighting kangaroos, this isn’t the place. Instead, it honors the culture with Australian and New Zealand cuisine, like lamb sandwiches and vegemite! It also offers import beer options beyond Foster’s, and plays rugby, cricket, and football matches on the TV.

As mentioned in an earlier blog, Ballard is turning into a 21+ version of the EPCOT World Showcase. I can’t wait to check this place out in April!