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.

Baking Up Something Sweet! Hood Famous Bakeshop Puts Down Roots In Ballard

 

Well known and loved pop-up Hood Famous Bakeshop is laying down roots at last, right in the heart of Ballard!

You may remember Hood Famous first gaining local fame and somewhat of a cult following after appearing with the Food & Sh*t pop-up series (which was co-founded by HFB’s owner Chera Amlag) with a routinely stunning rotating dessert course.

Hood Famous made a fabulous impression with it’s delicious and inventive desserts, drawing heavy inspiration from Filipino, Hawaiian and Asian flavors.

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While they have built their reputation on their not-of-this-world fabulous Ube cheesecake (just try and walk past that glorious purple color and not NEED a piece), they have expanded their menu to include even more exotic combinations like Coconut Pandan, Mango Calamansi, and White Chocolate Guava, much to the delight of patrons.

Amlag’s ability to blend the distinctive flavors of East and West so delicately and precisely is a testament not only to her skill and talent but also illustrates an obvious passion for food and culture.

Their new Ballard home will be a to-go only spot, with no seating space offered. However, in addition to grab-and-go goodies, Hood Famous will still be making items to order, taking catering orders and crafting luscious treats for selected retailers and restaurants in the greater Seattle area and Bellevue.

Hood Famous offers something truly unique and spectacular if you’re in the market for something sweet or just want to try something new.

Be sure to check them out when they have their grand opening this Saturday, October 8th, and see what all the buzz is about!

Hood Famous' violet hued Ube Cheesecake at Kraken Congee

Hood Famous Bakeshop 2325½ NW Market St,
(206) 486-6429
www.hoodfamousbakeshop.com

Open Thursday-Friday 12 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., Saturday 11 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. and Sunday 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

In Ballard, Portland Seeks Lessons on Affordable Housing

Ballard

A tech-boom, soaring real estate prices, and a very tight vacancy rate are causing the city climate of Portland to seem very similar to its neighbor to the north, Seattle. In an attempt to avoid the housing crisis playing out in the West Coast’s premier tech hub, San Francisco, Portland’s city planners are looking to Seattle, and specifically to Ballard, for innovative ways to preserve affordability. Yet, Seattle’s response to its booming population growth has not been universally applauded, especially in Ballard.

The city of Portland is particularly interested in Seattle’s Housing Affordability and Livability Agenda (HALA). The two major components of the agenda are an Affordable Housing Impact Mitigation Program, which requires developers to pay a fee on all new commercial development that directly funds the construction of affordable housing, and a Mandatory Housing Affordability Program, which requires builders to designate five to eight percent of units in new multifamily residential developments as affordable.

While most, if not all, of Seattle residents, can agree that affordable housing is a critical issue, backlash against HALA developed when an unfinished draft of recommendations was leaked to the press in July of 2015.  Among the recommendations was a proposal to increase density in Seattle’s single-family neighborhoods. Neighborhood density is a hotly contended issue, especially in the wake of Seattle’s 2010 land use code change for low-rise multifamily zoned areas.  Many urbanists, as well as developers and builders, argue that increasing density is the only way to provide sufficient housing units for the growing city.  Neighborhood activists and preservationists argue that new out-of-scale development is irreparable changing the unique character of the city’s residential neighborhoods.

Density is a particularly sensitive issue in Ballard.  Livable Ballard, a neighborhood advocacy organization argues that “under the code changes, modest and affordable houses and duplexes are being torn down and replaced with tall, expensive groups of three or four townhouses, which tower over the existing houses and sidewalks and are not at all compatible with the neighborhood.” Furthermore, the group argues that the type of new development being seen in Ballard is particularly worrisome as the neighborhood is already poorly served by mass transit. Neighbors are also concerned by the aesthetic implications of new development.  Chris Bodan, who moved to Ballard in 2004, described the new apartment buildings being constructed in the neighborhood to the Oregonian as “aesthetically and architecturally horrendous.”

Despite opposition from neighborhood groups, Seattle’s City Council passed the Affordable Housing Impact Mitigation Program component of HALA last fall and will be soliciting public feedback on the rest of plan this year. Meanwhile, Portland is in the midst of rewriting its own plans for growth and infill and while a HALA-like collation has not formed, city officials have said much about the need for affordable housing. Portland’s mayor, Charlie Hayes, however, has garnered much criticism from affordable-housing advocates for his support to preserve the low density of the city’s residential neighborhoods.

Hayes’ desire to preserve residential neighborhoods, best seen in his recommendation to reduce the allowable density in the affluent residential neighborhood Eastmoreland, is felt throughout the city. One merely has to scan the comment section of the Willamette Week to find an overwhelming number of diatribes against the city’s new apartment buildings. Yet, there is also consistent public outcry over increasing rents and real estate prices.

The current affordable housing conflict occurring across west coast cities has many wondering if  historic low-density neighborhoods have the ability to accommodate the type of growth the region is seeing?  Looking at Ballard, one might presume no.

Seattle Summer Streets Days Coming to Ballard & West Seattle

It’s that time of year again; Seattle’s annual series of Summer Streets Days is here, where certain streets are marked off for pedestrians, bicycles, skateboards and various block parties in the surrounding Seattle areas, in particular the Ballard and West Seattle

West Seattle Street Closure, Photo Courtesy of Seattle Department of Transportation

neighborhoods. Beginning tomorrow night, 22nd st NW in Ballard will be closed off from 4-7pm right next to Bergen Place Park. Also on Sunday the majority of Alki Avenue Southwest will be closed to motorized vehicles between 9am-5pm to clear out for morning traffic, a  5k fun run, live music, and other activities. Please be prepared for traffic backups, and utilize non-motorized vehicles for transportation.

Syttende Mai Festival This Thursday!!

This Thursday happens to be Norwegian Constitution Day, and the annual Syttende Mai festivities in Ballard! Beginning at the Nordic Heritage Museumat 10am, Festival activities will run all day in

Photo Courtesy of 17thofMay.org

appreciation for our Nordic community. Some festival events include free admission to the NHM all day and Nordic treats will be sold in the cafe, and there will be free live entertainment at Bergen Place Park,  a Nordic inspired parade and an open house at Leif Erickson Hall with food, beverages and wine for purchase! For more information regarding the Nordic holiday activities please visit the 17th of May website.

Golden Gardens Yard Work Party Tomorrow!

Tomorrow at Golden Gardens Park, Green Seattle Partnership will host a forest restoration work party to help clean up the area. The weather forecast for this weekend is sunshine and blue skies, with a high of 74; perfect weather to be working outdoors! According to

Photo Courtesy of Myballard.com

Ballard-based Groundswell NW, volunteers are needed between 10am to 2pm, and duties will include removing various invasive plant species from the grounds. Earthcorps will be providing all of the necessary equipment, gloves, and positive attitudes to get the job done; and will also be offering light refreshments for their appreciation. If you’d like to sign up to volunteer for the event, you may do so by visiting the Earthcorps website.

New Park Plans Cause Tension Over Parking

Plans for the new $1.5 million park along 14th Avenue NW will take away some 90 parking stalls along the street, and a group of local Ballardites is fighting to keep those parking spots in place. The tension is part of a citywide battle over how much parking is enough, and the City Council is actually considering a proposal to eliminate required parking around new apartments and condominiums within a quarter mile of frequent transit. Parking may still be included, but builders wouldn’t have to provide parking for each unit.

Proposed green space along 14th near NW 60th street

 

A group for the East Ballard Community Association have been petitioning the city for nearly a decade to bring a green space to 14th Ave NW, a street that has more parking along curbs and across a wide median, than almost any other residential street in the city. According to the Seattle Times, at two separate meetings in the city, about 100 people attended to help plan the new park and fewer than 20 complained about the potential loss of parking. But those who did object came in hot, with the argument that with the surge of redevelopment in Ballard, they’ll be losing more parking and don’t want to take away anymore than they must. The arguments continue on both sides, those arguing the green space citing that they are not against a park, but the decrease in parking stalls will cause a problem for handicapped and elderly; those for it stating a two block park isn’t going to cause as much fuss as they’re making. Find an extended description of the Green Space on the Seattle Parks and Recreation Website.

Ballard High School Competes in NY Jazz Festival

Ballard High Essentially Ellington FestivalAs I mentioned in an earlier post, the Ballard High School jazz band was invited to play in a prestigious nationwide high school jazz competition, Essentially Ellington, in New York City. It was Ballard’s first time being at this impressive jazz festival. This weekend, they along with two other Seattle schools and twelve other nationwide high schools tooted their horns to the Ellington tunes of “Night in Tunisia,” “Tutti for Cootie,” “Riding on the Blue Note,” and other Ellington classics.

Roosevelt, Ballard, and Mountlake Terrace represented the Puget Sound area very well at the competition. Roosevelt High, well-known for its quality jazz band program and a regular competitor in “Essentially Ellington,” won second place at the festival! Ballard High won individual accolades for its performance. I would keep my eye on trumpet player and senior Sam Zisette and vocalist Jade Likkel, both Ballard High students. They each received awards for their performance at the festival. Congratulations, Ballard High!

Mother’s Day is Right Around the Corner: Best Gift Ideas!

Do you find yourself stumped every year, scrambling around to try and find the perfect gift for your Mother, who seems to already have everything you can imagine? Do you wind up getting something safe and uninspiring year after year, resorting to a 99 cent card and hand written poem you have stored on your computer’s hard drive?  I can safely assume we’ve all been guilty at one point in time of last minute shopping when we’re down to the wire and wind up with an impulse buy, maybe something that you yourself would enjoy a little more than Mom. This year it might be time to plan a week or two ahead, and get your Mother something unexpected. Here is a list of things you might find inspiring to get for her this Mother’s Day weekend:

1. Is she a fabulous cook? Whether she needs it or not, a cooking class from Seattle Hipcooks in South Lake Union might be the perfect treat.

2. Does your mom love jewelry and recycling? why not get her a recycled sterling silver necklace from Uncommon Goods.

3. Is she a tech whiz? If your mom has had her new Ipad 3 longer than you have, get her a new Mother’s Day inspired Ipad case!

4. Is she hopelessly in Love with Seattle? Get her something personally homemade from Etsy!

5. Is she remodeling? The new West Elm in Seattle is full of inspiring decor she’ll love, or grab her a giftcard.

6. Every Mom appreciates a good musical; take her to the theatre! The 5th Avenue’s summer schedule is out now.

7. Does she have a green thumb? Whether she does or not lend her a hand! Help her garden grow by getting her the best fragrant plants in her garden.

8. Still stumped…check her pinterest account and see what she’s pinning these days, or if she has a wishlist board waiting for you!

9. Or if you’re on a budget, here is a list of free Mother’s Day activities from CBS that you can take her to and enjoy a day just the two of you.

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.