The Real Estate Market In the North End is Great… If You’re a Seller.

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Posted on April 13, 2016 at 9:16 am
South Sound Property Group | Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

North End Home Prices Continue to Strengthen

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Posted on January 21, 2016 at 11:45 am
South Sound Property Group | Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Why is Tacoma a Top 10 Housing Market to Watch in 2016

Tacoma recently ranked as number 10 on Trulia’s top 10 housing markets to watch in 2016, a list that also included cities like Grand Rapids, MI, Charleston, SC and Austin, TX (see the full report here).  Trulia’s rankings were based on a number of different criteria including strong job growth, low vacancy rates and high affordability.  I think high affordability was probably key to Tacoma’s inclusion on the list.  Though some of our buyer clients that are new to the Tacoma housing market have commented that prices here are high compared to where they’re coming from, the Tacoma housing market clearly remains a great value proposition when compared to Seattle where the median home price is more than twice as high.  As the tech industry continues to grow in Seattle, Tacoma will continue to represent a very attractive alternative to call home.  Not surprisingly, we’re seeing more and more folks from Seattle making the move to T-Town.  I think it’s that demand in particular that led to our inclusion on Trulia’s list of hot market’s to watch in the coming year.  To be clear though, Tacoma’s appeal isn’t just about being within commuting distance of Seattle.  For those of us lucky enough to live and work in Tacoma, it actually represents a preferable alternative.  A vibrant, livable small city with a big metropolitan hub nearby to visit when the mood strikes.

 

Mark Pinto is a top-producing Realtor with Windermere in Tacoma specializing in the purchase and sale of historic and luxury homes.  Click here to e-mail Mark or feel free to give him a call at (253) 318-0923.

 

 

 

 


Posted on December 5, 2015 at 10:17 am
South Sound Property Group | Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

North End Homes Prices Continue to Strengthen

Sales data for third quarter 2015 are in, and unlike previous years where we've seen a weaking in third quarter in north end home values, this year we've seen the market remain strong.  Inventory levels are a incredibly low levels.  We expect a slow down due to seasonality in the fourth quarter but all indications are full steam ahead for home values in north Tacoma for the new year.  For sales comparisons by zip code please see the information attached below.

 

Jeff Williams is a top-producing Realtor with Windermere in Tacoma specializing in the purchase and sale of historic and luxury homes.   Click here to email Jeff or give him a call at 253-303-1135.

 


Posted on October 27, 2015 at 12:59 pm
South Sound Property Group | Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Foreclosures drop to lowest rate since 2008

The number of homes in foreclosure has hit its lowest mark since January of 2008 – just another sign that the housing market has fully recovered.  Only 1.1% of all houses in Washington State are in active foreclosure.  The rate may be a bit higher in Tacoma’s North End, given the fact that Pierce County was hit harder than most by the housing crisis, but there’s no denying the fact that the housing market here is strong.  Houses are selling very quickly, often in multiple offers at or above list price.  The higher end market remains challenging because the pool of buyers for homes priced above $750,000 is still limited, but the market as a whole shows no signs of slowing as we head into late summer.

 

 

Mark Pinto is a top-producing Realtor with Windermere in Tacoma specializing in the purchase and sale of historic and luxury homes.  Click here to e-mail Mark or feel free to give him a call at (253) 318-0923.

 

 


Posted on August 21, 2015 at 8:36 am
South Sound Property Group | Posted in Uncategorized |

Census Data Suggests a Shift from King to Pierce County

 

According to an article in the Seattle Times, Gene Balk examined recent census data surrounding an emerging trend that points to a shift from King County to more affordable Pierce county. 

Gene notes, "It's no secret that newcomers are pouring into King County from around the country and the globe.  In fact, we broke a record in 2014 for the number of new arrivals from out of the state, which I wrote about in my last column.  But could we also be witnessing the emergence of a countertrend – that of a growing number of folks fleeing pricey King County and heading south to Pierce?  New data on U.S. counties, released by the Census Bureau on Thursday, hints that this may be the case."  Click here to read Gene's full article.

The reporter's observations certainly support what we as Realtors are seeing here in North Tacoma on a routine basis.  Many of our new buyers are people moving to Tacoma from the Seattle area, and our last four North End listings have sold to folks from Seattle.  So… what does this trend mean?  Well, we're currently seeing an upsurge in prices and a significantly low level of home inventory in North Tacoma. (you can review those trends here).  Thats good news if you currently own a home here, but not such good news if you're in the market to buy this spring.

 

 

Jeff Williams is a top-producing Realtor with Windermere in Tacoma specializing in the purchase and sale of historic and luxury homes.   Click here to email Jeff or give him a call at 253-303-1135.

 

 

 

 

 

 


Posted on March 28, 2015 at 7:47 am
South Sound Property Group | Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,

North End Home Prices Weaken

After a very strong spring real estate market, prices for homes in the North End of Tacoma (zip codes 98403, 98406 and 98407) are weakening and inventory is increasing. With interest rates staying low and inventory on the rise the market has created a window of opportunity for buyers this fall.  Click here for full details


Posted on September 18, 2014 at 7:17 am
South Sound Property Group | Posted in Uncategorized |

The Vintage Y – Home in Tacoma’s Theater District

 

One of the things I love most about selling real estate in downtown Tacoma is introducing clients to the different condominium buildings there – some shiny and new and others tastefully restored.  The Vintage Y at 714 Market Street falls into the tastefully restored category.  Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the building was designed by prominent local architect George Bullard and built in 1909 to house the Tacoma chapter of the YMCA.  As one of the first chapters in the Pacific Northwest, the Y provided its members with athletic facilities and a robust vocational education program. The YMCA vacated the building on Market Street in 1977, and it was ultimately converted into luxury condominiums dubbed the Vintage Y in 2005. Building amenities include a secure lobby and parking garage, a roof-top deck with barbecue, an outdoor patio, a fitness room and a guest suite.

 

The Vintage Y is located in the heart of Tacoma's historic theater district.  Nearby venues include the Pantages, the Rialto, Theater on the Square and the Tacoma Armory (all managed by the Broadway Center for the Performing Arts) Upcoming Broadway Center events include the Heritage Blues Orchestra at the Rialto, Spectrum Dance Theater at the Armory and The Capitol Steps at the Pantages.  The theater district is also home to the Grand Cinema, which offers an excellent selection of first run independent films.  Corina Bakery conveniently located next to the Grand on Fawcett, is great for a quick bite before or after the movies.  Deanna Bender’s Over the Moon Café on Opera Alley is one of my favorites for a casual lunch or special dinner.  The service is great, the décor is eclectic and the food’s delicious.  When I’m in the market for some new household furnishings, I like Giraffe and Dwelling, both on St. Helens.

 

Another great thing about the Vintage Y is its proximity to 27-acre Wright Park – a jewel of a green space that includes an arboretum, a playground, a running path and a pond complete with a bridge and waterside benches.  If you haven’t checked out the Vintage Y, the Theater District or Wright Park lately, you should.  Well worth the visit.  For more information about living at the Vintage Y and properties currently available for purchase, visit www.401vintagey.com.

 

 

 

 

Mark Pinto is a top-producing Realtor with Windermere in Tacoma specializing in the purchase and sale of historic and luxury homes.  Click here to e-mail Mark or feel free to give him a call at (253) 318-0923.

 

 

 


Posted on September 17, 2014 at 9:23 am
South Sound Property Group | Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Misconceptions about Tacoma’s Historic Homes and Neighborhoods

There are a lot of misconceptions about historic homes and historic districts in Tacoma.  As a Realtor, a former board member of Historic Tacoma and a current member of the Tacoma Landmarks Preservation Commission, I’m often asked about the potential impact that historic designation might have on a property.  Many people worry that historic designation is a negative thing.  I believe (and I think the data supports me on this) that just the opposite is true.  Inclusion on the historic register has been proven to increase the value of a property and also allows for property tax credits related to home renovations.  For me, Tacoma's historic buildings and neighborhoods are a big part of what makes it so special, and I think it’s important to protect that heritage.  Below are some common misconceptions about properties included on the historic register and homes that are contributing structures in a designated historic district.

 

Misconception #1 – I can’t make any changes to the house.

FALSE – Interior changes to a property on the historic register do not require any additional approval above and beyond regular city permitting.  If you want to remodel a kitchen or a bathroom or upgrade plumbing, electrical or heating, the permitting and approval process is exactly the same as any non-historic home in Tacoma.  Exterior changes to the home do require approval from the Landmark Preservation Commission (a process called design review).  For guidelines about the type of exterior changes that require design review, visit the City of Tacoma Historic Preservation website.

 

Misconception #2 – I can’t replace any windows or doors in the house.

FALSE – While it's true that you can't replace existing wood windows with vinyl or metal windows, you are alowed to replace rotting or deteriorated windows with wood replacements.  Existing wood windows can also be repaired.  Older windows may be painted shut, sash chords and weights may not be operating properly or windows may be missing putty that holds the glazing in place.  These issues can be easily and inexpensively addressed with repairs, saving you thousands of dollars in replacement costs.  Of note, the life expectancy of a vinyl window is only about 20 years.  Properly maintained wood windows last a lifetime.  Studies also show that single pane wood windows with well fitted exterior storm windows provide the same energy efficiency as dual glazed windows.  For more information about wood windows versus vinyl, please check out my blog “Why replacing wood windows is a costly mistake.”

 

Misconception #3 – It’s harder to sell a historic home because of all the restrictions.

FALSE – A number of studies have been done over the years showing that property values increase dramatically when a neighborhood is designated as a historic district.  A study conducted in Tucson, AZ showed that home values in a historic district there were 30% higher on average than similar homes in non-historic neighborhoods and that homes in the historic district appreciated at a rate that was 15% greater than their non-historic counterparts.  It pays to be historic!  For additional findings, visit the American Council on Historic Preservation.

 

Misconception #4 – The “historic police” will tell me what I can and can’t do to my house.

FALSE – As long as you maintain your home properly, you'll never have to worry about additional scrutiny, and trees and landscaping don't fall within the scope of historic protection.  The good news for historic properties located in Tacoma is that there is now a mechanism in place to protect structures on the historic register from neglect and ruin.  The purpose is to avoid demolition of the structures.  Click here to learn more about Tacoma’s Historic Property Maintenance Code.

 

 

 

 

Misconception #5 – All old structures are considered historic.

FALSE – There are only about 1,300 structures in Tacoma that are on the local, state, or national historic registers.  Only structures individually listed on the Tacoma Historic Register or located within a Tacoma historic district are protected.  Designated historic districts in Tacoma include the Wedge, North Slope, Old City Hall and the Union Depot/Warehouse districtSalmon Beach is on the Washington Register, and Stadium District is on the National Register.

I’ve outlined a number of benefits to owning a historic home – from increased property values to the protection of our city's heritage.  If you’d like to learn more about how to place your home on the historic register, or would like to learn about the implications associated with buying or selling a historic home, please contact me or visit the City of Tacoma’s Preservation website at http://www.tacomaculture.org/historic/home.asp.  

 

Jeff Williams is a top-producing Realtor with Windermere in Tacoma specializing in the purchase and sale of historic and luxury homes.  Jeff is also a former board member of Historic Tacoma, and currently serves on the City of Tacoma's Landmarks Preservation Commission.  Click here to email Jeff or give him a call at 253-303-1135.

 


Posted on August 14, 2014 at 2:07 pm
South Sound Property Group | Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

What Makes a House a “Craftsman?”

As a Realtor who comes from Pasadena, California (the birthplace of Craftsman architecture), and a current member of the Tacoma Landmarks Preservation Commission, nothing makes me crazier than real estate agents who incorrectly market houses as a Craftsman.  It is our job as Realtors to understand houses!  Craftsman is a distinct historic architectural style, and 95% of the time does not apply to new or newer construction.
 
Since we have tremendous examples of intact Craftsman homes all over Tacoma, I thought I’d explain to you, our astute real estate clients and followers, exactly what defines a Craftsman, and why.  

 

History: The Craftsman was the dominant style for smaller houses built throughout the country during the period from about 1905 until the 1920s. It originated in southern California and most landmark examples of Craftsman houses are concentrated there. The style quickly spread throughout the country via pattern books and popular magazines, but rapidly faded from favor after the mid-1920s.  These residences were given extensive publicity in such magazines as the Western Architect, The Architect, House Beautiful, Good Housekeeping, Architectural Record, Country Life in America, and Ladies’ Home Journal, thus familiarizing the rest of the nation with the style. As a result, a flood of pattern books appeared, offering plans for Craftsman bungalows; some even offered completely pre-cut packages of lumber and detailing to be assembled by local labor (referred to as “kit” houses). Through these kit houses, the one-story Craftsman house quickly became the most popular and fashionable smaller house in the country.

Character Defining Features:   Although these are considered the most typical character defining features of a Craftsman, not all of these will apply to each Craftsman-style building.

  • Low-Pitched Gabled (or sometimes Hipped Roof)
  • Wide, Unenclosed Eave Overhang
  • Timber Framed
  • Triangular Knee Brace Supports
  • Wood Shingle Siding and/or Wood Horizontal Siding and/or Cut Stone Cladding
  • Wide Window and Door Casings
  • Tapered Porch Supports
  • Low Porch Pedestals usually Supporting Columns
  • Exposed Rafters
  • Decorative (False) Beams or Braces under Gables
  • Shed, Gabled or Eyebrow Dormers
  • Porches, either Full- or Partial-Width
  • Sloping (Battered) Foundation

 

Types of Craftsman:

 

Cottage Style Craftsman – Typically a one-story building with a compact rectangular plan; a centralized main entrance consisting of a partial-width porch and flanked by windows; a symmetrical facade; a side-gabled low-pitched roof; horizontal wood siding; and Craftsman stylistic details.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Bungalow – The typical bungalow is a one-story house with low pitched broad gables. A lower gable usually covers an open or screened porch and a larger gable covers the main portion of the house. In larger bungalows the gable is steeper, with interesting cross gable or dormers. 

 

 

 

 
 

 

 

 

Clipped-Gabled (Hip Roof) Craftsman – A Craftsman building covered by a gabled roof which has had its gable point “clipped off.” The roof can be front, side or cross-gabled. Typically this type of Craftsman is a one-story building. Sometimes the clipped-gabled roof will have gabled, hipped or eyebrow dormers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Colonial Craftsman – A Craftsman building which displays Colonial Revival features. Typically, this type of Craftsman has a trellised front and/or side porches, symmetrical façade and columns.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Aero-plane Craftsman – A Craftsman building with a set-back second-story and wide overhanging eaves which gives the impression of an airplane wings. This style can have a front, side or cross-gabled roof.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Transitional – A building which appears to be “transitioning” from the Victorian-era into the Craftsman-era. Typically, this type of house retains a vertical emphasis on the facade and Victorian-era design elements, but is differentiated by its Craftsman features.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jeff Williams is a top-producing Realtor with Windermere in Tacoma specializing in the purchase and sale of historic and luxury homes.  Jeff is also a former board member of Historic Tacoma, and currently serves on the City of Tacoma's Landmarks Preservation Commission.  Click here to email Jeff or give him a call at 253-303-1135.

 

 

 


Posted on May 9, 2014 at 2:06 pm
South Sound Property Group | Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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