The Ballard real estate recap: Bungalows vs. “Modernos”

Long time Ballard resident and local Real Estate Broker Sharon Giampietro shares a regular post on My Ballard to keep readers informed about the local real estate market.

Giampietro comes from a long line of realtors and has lived in Ballard for 30 years. She is currently a Broker at Windermere Real Estate in Greenwood.

Check out Giampietro’s latest insights into our neighborhood real estate market:

If Ballard buyers and their Real Estate Brokers could shout from the roof tops they’d say, “Homeowners – please put your homes on the market!!!” They might even pick up a bullhorn and add that they’d pay more than asking, do a pre-inspection and waive some contingencies- if they just had more inventory.

A few years ago the market was slow and sellers couldn’t dig up a buyer if a listing wasn’t a “9“or a “10” in terms of location and condition. The pendulum is always swinging and now it’s sellers who are dictating prices and buyers who are scrambling.

There is buyer demand and a corresponding upsurge in new construction in Ballard. But along with the (hopefully temporary) exit of a decent amount of inventory has come the end of the newly built “Ballard Bungalow” or its look alike.

Enter the “Ballard Moderno” (my moniker – rhymes with “bungalow”). These new construction homes have a very contemporary look and are the new neighbors of some vintage homes. Are these new neighbors getting along?

An informal survey of Ballard dwellers indicates that the new look of Ballard, i.e., Modernos and Bungalows side by side, is deemed by some to be cool while others don’t like the contrast. Scale is the most common concern as homeowners express the desire not to have a neighboring house that looms over theirs. Many of the Modernos, however, are meeting buyer demand for new housing stock with bigger, more open spaces and modern amenities.

We are in the midst of change here in the shire. In the first two months of this year, 66 new construction homes were added, up from 51 in the same period last year. While new construction homes are the rising segment of the market in terms of additional housing stock, other aspects of the market are lagging.

For January and February combined, 261 homes (not new construction) came on the market, down from 296 in this period last year. At the end of February, we had just over a month’s worth of inventory – a normal market would have at least 4 months of inventory.

The number of condos for sale was down slightly with 105 choices added in 2015 so far (new construction and not new combined), as opposed to 121 in the same period last year.

Supply and demand is affecting prices and so far in 2015 prices are climbing. In December 2014 the average home sale price was $560,000, in January $600,000 and in February $612,000. At the end of Feb 2015 the average home sale price year was $606,000, up from $510,000 in that same period last year. Our average number of days on the market is also one of the lowest in the city.

Many are watching these changes and lively discussions are taking place in our multitude of great coffee shops and cafes. Never dull, here in Ballard!

District hosts meeting about expansion of Loyal Heights Elementary

A community meeting has been organized by Seattle Public Schools to provide locals with more information about the expansion of Loyal Heights Elementary. The meeting is set for this Thursday, March 12, from 6:30 – 8 p.m. in the Loyal Heights Elementary cafeteria.

Loyal Heights Elementary is set to undergo a major expansion starting in 2016 to accommodate the increasing demand of the local growing population. The school is set to expand its current capacity of 450 students to approximately 660 students and must rearrange physical attributes of the school in order to do so.

As reported previously by the My Ballard team, a group of parents, friends and neighbors from the Loyal Heights Elementary community have banded together to try and save the fate of the playground on the school grounds.

“While many of the proposed changes will be of great benefit to our expanding student body, we are concerned that the building plans include a severe reduction in outdoor play space,” writes Loyal Heights parent Katie Kaku.

During Thursday’s meeting, representatives from the District’s Capital Projects and Planning team and the Architect will present initial design concepts for the modernization and new additions.

“The project will construct core support spaces – gymnasium, lunchroom, library etc. – sized appropriately to support that enrollment figure per the District’s current Educational Specifications for a 660-seat elementary school,” says Tom Redman from Seattle Public Schools.

All are welcome to attend the meeting.

Volunteer drivers needed to assist local seniors

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Senior Services’ Volunteer Transportation are calling for volunteer drivers to provide vital transportation for seniors all over Seattle.

Volunteer drivers use their own car and assist seniors in maintaining their independence by taking them to medical appointments.

The clients appreciate their improved access to medical care, meaningful interactions with caring volunteers, and increased peace of mind.

This volunteer opportunity is flexible as the program schedules on a week-by-week bases. In terms of time commitment volunteers need to have some weekday daytime available, but this time does not need to be consistent. Drivers typically provide one ride per week, yet they can do more or less.

“Let’s “drive the distance” to ensure that older residents of our community don’t get stranded!,” writes Case.

If you are interested in assisting the volunteer driver program call (206) 748-7588 or email Hilary at hilaryc@seniorservices.org. Case reports that drivers are not only needed in the Ballard area, but are needed all over Seattle.

Click here to check out more information on the volunteer transportation blog.

Photo courtesy of Hilary Case.

Development Update March 9: Subdivisions galore

One revised subdivision application and two subdivision approvals make up today’s development update from the City of Seattle’s Department of Planning and Development (DPD) as posted in the Land Use Information Bulletin.

Revised Application:

6723 Alonzo Ave NW

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A Land Use Application has been submitted to subdivide one development site into two unit lots. The construction of residential units is under Project #6405062. This subdivision of property is only for the purpose of allowing sale or lease of the unit lots. Development standards will be applied to the original parcel and not to each of the new unit lots.

Decisions:

6105 14th Ave NW

A Land Use Application has been approved to subdivide one development site into four unit lots. The construction of residential units are under Project #6384776. This subdivision of property is only for the purpose of allowing sale or lease of the unit lots. Development standards will be applied to the original parcel and not to each of the new unit lots.

Appeals of this decision must be received by the Hearing Examiner no later than March 23, 2015.

5900 28th Ave NW

A Land Use Application has been approved to subdivide one development site into three unit lots. The construction of residential units is under Project #6421843. This subdivision of property is only for the purpose of allowing sale or lease of the unit lots. Development standards will be applied to the original parcel and not to each of the new unit lots.

Appeals of this decision must be received by the Hearing Examiner no later than March 23, 2015.

Comments about the above applications should be submitted to PRC@seattle.gov or mailed to the address below:

City of Seattle DPD PRC
700 5th Avenue Suite 2000
PO Box 34019
Seattle, WA  98124-4019

CBRA to host monthly meeting this Thursday

Central Ballard Residents Association (CBRA) will meet this Thursday, March 12, at 7 p.m. at Ballard Swedish Hospital in the Cafeteria Conference Room.

Josh Hall from Seattle Human Services Department will be in attendance to discuss updates from HSD’s planning and development division.

CBRA members are also encouraged to pay their yearly dues this month. These dues help to offset State non-profit corporation filing fees, domain fees, and local group event participation and outreach costs.

All locals who are interested are encouraged to attend.

To find out more about CBRA click here to check out their website.

What’s on this weekend

Welcome to a sunny weekend in March! Enjoy it at some of these fun Ballard events.

Friday, March 6

  • Live music at Conor Byrne Pub (5140 Ballard Ave NW) at 9 p.m. Featuring Lanford Black, The Hobo Nephews of Uncle Frank and Palatine. Click here to purchase tickets and for more information.
  • Live Music at Tractor Tavern (5213 Ballard Ave NW) at 9 p.m. Featuring Scottish post-punk/indie: The Twilight Sad with Port St Willow. Tickets $14. Click here to purchase tickets and for more information.

Saturday, March 7

  • Peddler Brewing’s 2nd Birthday Celebrations at 1514 NW Leary Way. The first 250 guests will have the chance to take home an engraved credit card sized bottle opener with the purchase of a 22oz bomber. Click here to find out more.
  • Science Fiction and Fantasy Book Exchange at Phinney Neighborhood Center (6532 Phinney Avenue N) from 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. Trade your gently used science fiction and fantasy novels, DVDs, or magazines for something new.
  • Ballard Homestead Reopening Event at 6541 Jones Ave NW from 4 p.m. Click here to learn more.
  • Live music at Conor Byrne Pub (5140 Ballard Ave NW) at 9 p.m. Sunday Evening Whiskey Club featuring the biannual local Ball of Wax Audio Quarterly showcase. Click here to purchase tickets and for more information.
  • Live Music at Tractor Tavern (5213 Ballard Ave NW) at 9 p.m. Featuring Progressive Bluegrass: Hot Buttered Rum with Weatherside Whiskey. Tickets $15. Click here to purchase tickets and for more information.

Sunday, March 8

  • The Art of Spinning for Classic Swedish Tapestry at the Nordic Heritage Museum (3014 NW 67th St) from 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. Share the day with an internationally-known teacher, fiber artist and master spinner by joining Judith MacKenzie for this hands-on workshop. Cost is $105 full day, $60 half-day. Museum members $95 full day, $55 half-day. Click here to register and learn more.
  • Ballard Farmers Market along Ballard Ave from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. Click here to see this week’s specials.
  • The Art of Spinning for Norwegian Coverlets at the Nordic Heritage Museum (3014 NW 67th St) from 1 p.m. – 4 p.m. Share the day with an internationally-known teacher, fiber artist and master spinner by joining Judith MacKenzie for this hands-on workshop. Cost is $105 full day, $60 half-day. Museum members $95 full day, $55 half-day. Click here to register and learn more.
  • Mostly Nordic Concert Series: Denmark “Sparklers and Marzipan – a Birthday Salute!”at the Nordic Heritage Museum (3014 NW 67th St) at 5 p.m. Featuring Nielsen’s Wind Quintet, Clarke’s March for the Prince of Denmark, and a potpourri of popular works such as Prokofieff’s Peter and the Wolf, Sousa’s Liberty Bell March, Roupen Shakarian’s Alpine Morn, and some PDQ Bach just for fun. Click here for more details and to purchase tickets. Ticket prices start at $22.
  • Open Mic at Conor Byrne Pub (5140 Ballard Ave NW) at 7:30 p.m. All are welcome. For more information click here.

SPD locate goods stolen by North Seattle burglary ring

SPD officers located hundreds of suspected items stolen by a North Seattle burglary ring inside a Burien home on Thursday morning. Check out more details from the SPD blotter post below:

A cello taken in a Seattle break-in was just one of the hundreds of suspected stolen items found by Seattle police Thursday morning inside a Burien home.

SPD’s Major Crimes Task Force has been on the trail of a ring of burglars, suspected of targeting homes in North Seattle, Queen Anne and Magnolia.

On Thursday morning, around 7 a.m., SPD SWAT served a warrant at the home in the 12000 block of 1st Avenue S., where police found “a ton of stolen stuff,” according to Major Crimes Task Force Captain Eric Sano.

Police arrested two people inside the home for warrants, and are now investigating and sorting through evidence. Police believe some items found inside the homes may have been taken in unreported break-ins.

We’ll have more updates as the case develops.

Ballard Homestead re-opens tomorrow

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The Ballard Homestead building at 6541 Jones Ave NW is set to reopen as a community venue tomorrow.

The space, set to be curated by Abbey Arts, will play host to a variety of Abbey style distraction-free acoustic concerts and cultural events for people of all ages and incomes.

The building, constructed in 1923, was originally built as a “Mission Hall.” After years of minimal usage as a church building Ballard Homestead was renovated with guidance from Nathan Marion of Lonely Buildings consulting and building steward Brian Wardlaw. Many local contractors, Abbey Arts and Seattle Works volunteers and neighbors also worked together on the project.

After two years of renovations, the new Ballard Homestead is set to maintain an “old time house feel” and focus on community interaction through arts and culture events. A Rainwise garden has also been installed with large water tanks to collect roof runoff water.

“With a beautiful new space opening in this growing neighborhood, the Seattle community can enjoy a show in an intimate setting away from the bustle of downtown Ballard.  Just around the corner from restaurants on 24th Ave NW, the location is easily accessible by transit and there is lots of free street parking on 65th and 23rd as well,” says the curators from Abbey Arts.

Ballard Homestead is set to be an all-ages venue with many opportunities to bring the little ones to early events. A living room has also been created downstairs filled with games including foosball, corn toss, air hockey, pool shuffle ball and more.

The team are hosting a grand opening event tomorrow Saturday, March 7, at 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. All are welcome to attend.

Click here to learn more about the new community venue