New Home Showcase
May 18, 2012
Buyers making their move to downtown high-rise
Olive 8Open noon–6 p.m. daily at 737 Olive Way, Seattle
One-bedroom homes from the mid-$400,000s, two-bedroom homes from the low $800,000s
206-382-4820 or olive8.com
SEATTLE -- Brokers at Olive 8, a 229-unit high-rise condominium and hotel in downtown Seattle, report better-than-expected sales during the typically robust spring sales season. Since March 1, there have been two dozen new purchases at Olive 8 representing more than $20 million in sales volume, according to the Northwest Multiple Listing Service.
"I think there's more to this than a seasonal sales spike," says Julie McAvoy, the community sales director for Olive 8 and a broker with Realogics Sotheby's International Realty. "Prospective buyers recognize that new-construction condominium inventory is finite -- there hasn't been a groundbreaking since 2007, and there likely won't be for a while given the credit crunch. Furthermore, it takes several years to build a new tower."
Preferred selection in the city is becoming a challenge, says McAvoy. She adds that trends point to rising median home prices downtown, which could mean reduced affordability overall.
"Many consumers fear higher interest rates after the elections," she says. "A 1 percent change in interest rate is equal to a 10 percent change in terms of monthly housing costs, so buyers are motivated to lock in today's prices and historically low long-term rates while they are here."
The combined effect of stabilized prices and a low monthly payment helped encourage David and Kari McGrath to make a move. After waiting several years to sell their home in Woodinville, they recently found a buyer and bought at Olive 8.
"It's not just a good time to buy, but a good time to sell as well," says David McGrath. "We are absolutely thrilled to be shedding hours of commute time and dramatically improving our quality of life at Olive 8."
Says Kari McGrath, "We've been watching the market downtown for several years, and we feel this is a better long-term investment -- both in terms of the total monthly expenses and the real potential for capital appreciation ahead. While our last place may have been worth more if we waited longer to sell, we felt downtown Seattle real estate would appreciate at a much faster pace, so a decision to move laterally was easy."
While job growth downtown bodes well for the local economy, she says, she worried about increased traffic and the costs of highway tolling and gas prices. "I'm certain more and more people like us will opt to relocate to the city," McGrath says. "And given the lack of new buildings to choose from, I think the market is only going to get more competitive and more expensive. We're glad to make the move now."
Olive 8 is located above a full-service Hyatt hotel. Residents and hotel guests are just an elevator ride away from the second-floor fitness center, yoga studio and Pilates room, 65-foot saline lap pool with whirlpool, and his-and-her saunas and steam rooms, as well as the Elaia day spa.
Only residents have access to the 18th-floor owners' retreat. This facility includes a full-size catering kitchen, billiards room, media center, indoor and outdoor lounge, barbecue area and dog run. Additionally, The Hyatt at Olive 8 provides homeowners with preferred rates for hotel rooms, valet parking, restaurant and in-room dining, housekeeping, laundry and dry cleaning, and other concierge services.
Such amenities would normally be a burden on the homeowners' association dues, but the monthly dues at Olive 8 have been reduced by 15 percent this year to 47 cents per square foot.
"The McGraths are like many homebuyers today -- they are doing the math," McAvoy says. "They want to know that prices and HOA dues are tried and true. We've got scores of recent home sales to demonstrate our market value and two years of actual HOA budgets to rely on, so Olive 8 provides the kind of market confidence that buyers are looking for."
The RC Hedreen Company designed Olive 8 to LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Silver status, the first of its kind for a hotel and condominium tower in Seattle. As a result, the building produces less waste while it consumes less water and electricity. In fact, Olive 8 actually creates energy -- two wind-driven turbines were recently fitted atop the building to supplement the building's electricity demand.
Substantially sold out below the 30th floor, Olive 8's remaining homes begin above the penthouse level of most other buildings on the market, according to McAvoy.
Content provided by Olive 8.
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