Developer slashing prices for Hjarta condos

What started out as a condo development, then turned into apartment building is now being turned back into condo building.

Units at Hjarta (1528 NW Market St) will be on the market later this month at deeply discounted prices. “Inventory will be officially released for sale on March 27, 2010 as part of a bulk sales approach whereas the seller offers a volume sales discount in exchange for quick closings,” the developer Pryde + Johnson states in a press release. The asking price for the units is 35 percent lower than the original asking price.

The new pricing is:
Studios (578 — 598 sq. ft.) will start from $244,950;
One bedrooms (614 — 921 sq. ft.) will start from $274,950,
One bedroom plus dens (792 — 923 sq. ft.) will start from $314,950;
Two bedrooms (1,037 — 1,447 sq. ft.) will start from $399,950
Two bedrooms plus den penthouses (1,331 — 1,578 sq. ft.) will start from $589,950
Three bedroom plus den penthouses (1,909 sq. ft.) will start from $799,950

Eighteen of the LEED “Silver” targeted homes will be released in the first batch of units available for purchase. Renters who currently call Hjarta home have the option of purchasing a unit. Leases will not be renewed in 2010. (Urbnlivn has the entire press release here.)

Geeky Swedes

The founders of My Ballard

91 thoughts to “Developer slashing prices for Hjarta condos”

  1. Who can afford these things? Median income in Seattle is about $56k. So we assume a couple together can scrape together about $120k a year. How do you afford $400k+, let alone $800k for a home?

    The affordability of the median priced home is *far* beyond the means of a median income. I have no solution. I just want to point out the absurdity of announcements like this.

  2. Ok, I'll try again w/out the video :-(once bit, twice shy)

    This is 35% less than the pre-flop speculators wet dream price.
    Maybe negotiate 30% less this rate, and you may be talking real world $$$. But still a horrible cost for housing, period.

    Also, To Hjarta, and others, you could have saved a bundle, and good faith (which is worth even more) if you'd just have admitted your all in bluff last year, instead of the 'hurry, only a few left, best prices now' crap. IMHO.

    Now, we need to get some commercial rate adjustments…

    *enter whitesnake*

  3. Solution = drop the prices. Simple enough. The developer may lose money but that's what happens in a free market when someone tries to sell something where there is no demand. Its like a BMW dealership opening up in Haiti and then wondering why they can't sell their cars for full price.

  4. well, you dont buy the 400-800k unit. You would buy the 700-900 sq ft 1 br for 275k. which buy the way is 200k less than my 800 sq.ft. house sold for last fall.

    all the myballard babies say waaa waaaa waaa.

  5. 800K for a three bedroom condo?! Ha! I bet there's also $600 a month in dues on it!

    FVVVVVVVCCK That! You can get a 4 bedroom 2 bath HOUSE for that on the top of Queen Anne.

    The developer is smoking crack.

  6. That's nice if you're a single person, or perhaps a cozy couple. And what about the rest of us with families?

    PS. It's “by the way”.

  7. Only if you set the zoning laws :)

    What we can do though is continue to laugh in their face as they lose money each month sitting on empty condos because they refuse to match their prices to what the market will pay. Throwing out renters that are providing them with their only source of income sounds like the stupidest move ever.

  8. I wish I could say I was surprised. Renters are looked on as 'temporary' and not as desirable as condo owners. But the supply vs demand ratio right now for condos isn't any better than it was before. Good luck guys, but………

  9. That stinks. Why kick out the renters? They're not going to be able to sell their places, and they'll just lose more revenue every month. Seems idiotic, as well as heartless.

  10. We've just gone through a big market analysis of real estate in the Ballard area in plans to sell our house and houses themselves (new or recently remodeled and updated- ie: in very good shape) are selling for roughly $290 (give or take) per square feet. I'm not sure what the market is for condos, but these are priced at roughly $420k per square feet. I can't imagine that condos have a higher square foot market value than a brand new or recently completely remodeled home.

    So they went from 60% higher than the market value to only 30% higher than the market value? Wow. How selfless of them.

  11. But seriously people, stop bitching, they're lowering prices. This is what you want, right? And I am sure that if they aren't selling in a certain amount of time, they'll lower them further. Besides, please remember that these are brand new, energy efficient condos, not some dinky old sixties house . But that's not the point for most people who whine about this, anyway, is it? It'sd that OMGCondosAre Evul! Which is getting really really tiredsome to listen to.
    That being said, I'd much rather live in a condo than a house any day, but probably will never buy one in Hjärta, as I can't really afford it, and as I am not 100% about the look of these.

  12. WTF… Condos, Apartments, back to Condos and the price! Crips! You can get a Condo up near Pinehurst a one BDRM for $160,000.00

    Tear it donw, put up a parking lot
    Tear it down put up a bowling alley :-)

  13. I say we turn this one into section 8 housing. Everyone wins. The landlord gets his rent and some otherwise homeless get a roof.

  14. I can't speak for anyone else, but my opinion is NOT based on a hatred of condos. My mother lives in a condo, for god's sake. It works for her, just like it works for many others. But the basic fact is this: There are way more condos around than there are gainfully employed people who can afford them.

  15. So your solution is to tell most of Seattle's population to move somewhere else where they can afford homes? And you don't see a problem with this?

  16. Almost two years ago I toured the condos at the Old QA HS. My wife and I had just had our second kid and my in laws (who live in NYC) wanted a small studio near us so they could visit often and not be in our hair (we live in a small 2 bedroom/1 ba bungalow).

    I worked in commercial real estate before and was even a lender <gasp> in a previous life so I was very familar with the market.

    The smallest studios they had were listed for 220k, I think. I told him flat out that that was absurd and that my in laws were prepared to make a cash offer of 150k.

    He laughed at me. Then I laughed at him. We left and I forgot about the day.

    A year later I read that they auctioned the remaing units. The one my in laws liked went for 156k. And that wa safter them carrying the costs for a year. I'm still amazed at how accurate my offer was.

    Anyway, you're a sucker to purchase any of these at their current list. Let them sit until the developer has a ballon payment due.

    I'll bet big money they drop by another 30%.

  17. I would venture to guess this decision has more to do with the occupancy rates the property-owner needs to retain to keep its financing than with anything else.

  18. “My earning more than median.” “Is that the problem you have with tis?”

    Well, besides the fact that most English teachers don't make more than median, I'd venture a guess that you're not one. Goody for you, though, that you and your friends have such well-paying jobs.

  19. Plenty of affordable housing in Seattle in Lake City Way, Rainier Valley South Park…..I'd like to live on Queen Anne but you don't see me complaining.

  20. Your solution is what, I buy a house for you? Or you demand little old Swedish grandmas sell their craftsman for $125K instead of $500K so you can afford it?

    Move to South Park if you can't afford Ballard.

  21. Well, this has pretty much been the way of the world since humans started living in caves. The smart ones got the dry, warm ones, the neanderthals didn't. Maybe you haven't figured it out yet why you get wet.

    If a neighborhood is too expensive, move to a cheaper one. May I suggest Greenwood or South Park or the Rainier Valley? You can easily find $200-250K homes on the southside.

  22. I think I was pretty clear about this. I have no solution. Nor am I complaining. I've asked nobody for anything. If you have a need to troll and start fights, try someone else.

  23. I stand corrected. Apparently you are suggesting that poor people stay in the ghettos away from the neighborhoods that the upper classes live in.

  24. Dropping the prices isn't the answer. Then what happens to all the people who paid market value a few years ago, you end up with half the community upside down on their mortgages.

  25. Oh, ok…btw, I just found 20-30 listings under $250K in the Rainier Valley and South Park. Let me know if you need any more help finding affordable housing.

  26. Who says the Rainier Valley and South park are ghettos? That's kind of racist isn't it? Or do you think white people who can't afford Ballard like you should never have to live near black people?

    Where else do you think you should be entitled to live even if you can't afford it? Next door to Bill Gates perhaps? Maybe you think you deserve to live on Lake Washington in a 4 bedroom with a pool? Let me know how far your sense of entitlement goes.

  27. talk about racist… assuming that bb is white. i'm not sure what the reasoning is to live in ballard but that's bb thing. maybe they like to walk to work? have family that need to support?

  28. Money drives where you can afford to live. I'll be leaving Ballard in the fall b/c this old house is killing us with the god damn oil bill (house built in 1910 or so). Probably to Greenhood. I used to live there, it's ok. Not awesome, but at least I can save some cash. Maybe buy some new jeans and shoes in the meantime, and we can probably have more room for our music and gym equipment. How it goes, I s'pose. C'est la vie. Or however that works.

  29. “Housing is unaffordable for the majority of the population.”

    Really? Then how come every house on my street is occupied?

  30. If he's black, why's he so upset about the suggestion that he can easily afford a house in the Rainier Valley? It seems to me he thinks he's entitled to live here in Ballard which, in a free country, he's not, unless he can afford it.

    Hey, I like to walk up to Queen Anne, doesn't mean I scream and stamp my feet that I can't afford a 4 bedroom house up there with a downtown view and demand someone fix it for me. I just bought a house in Ballard where I could afford that amount of space.

  31. So poor people are automatically black now? That's it, dig yourself just a little bit deeper..

    You are suggesting that poor people go to neighborhoods for poor people. Those are called ghettos. They transcend race. That you jumped in to suggest that ghettos are for black people says far more about your racist views than anyone else's.

    Nobody is suggesting any sort of entitlement. Somewhere along this thread, you invented this strawman and now you're beating the stuffing out of it. Have fun with that. The rest of us will be over here having an adult discussion.

  32. You've missed the point entirely. The problem with “barking more” is that you dedicate all of your mental resources to being a noisy jackass. Perhaps you should rethink your philosophy.

    The fact is that a median income can't afford a median priced home. The point in mentioning this is that it is a strong indicator of an unhealthy, unsustainable housing market. It has nothing to do with being rich or poor, though in all your braying you've confused yourself into believing so. When the middle of the middle class can't afford to root themselves in neighborhoods by buying homes, society and our economy both suffer.

  33. Who knows but I can guarantee the old lady who just sold her home of 50 yrs down the block for $575k was very happy. Maybe you should complain to her for demanding such a high price and being greedy?

  34. Reality Check: They're underwater right now. People bought during a bubble. You can't prop up the bubble, no matter how much you want to. People will have to accept the results of the decisions they made.

  35. I'm sure she was happy. And she had a buyer, so good for her. This has nothing to do with greed. Once again, another strawman.

    Thank you for finally being honest about something though. You don't know. So I would suggest that you do something “waggy” and go look up the foreclosures, houses under water, and other relevant stats for your neighborhood. Consider the implications of middle class people leaving Ballard because they can't afford it. Consider what that does to the neighborhood.

  36. Wow, you've only just figured out one of the basic tenants of human civilization and where people live? No wonder you can't even afford Ballard.

  37. Maybe Ballard is no longer a medium
    income neighborhood? Ever think it might be changing with an influx of money?

    All real estate is local. I found over 200 listings in south Seattle under $200k. If you want to buy a house, may I kindly suggest you look there?

  38. It's not just Ballard. It's almost all Seattle neighborhoods. The middle class are being priced right out of the city. If you don't understand why that's a problem, nobody can help you.

    I'm not looking for a house. I live in Ballard and I'm quite happy here. You can stop trying to hurt my feelings with your asshole “you can't afford Ballard” comments.

  39. Sure there are people around here under water, but that's their fault they over extended. The market will take care of them and the property they should not have been allowed to buy. Some people sadly like to live beyond their means.

  40. ” It's almost all Seattle neighborhoods”

    Go to Refin, search South Seattle, under $250K, you'll find over 200 listings. Call the agent, go visit a house, make a bid.

    Bingo, you found affordable housing.

  41. “Consider what that does to the neighborhood.”

    If you mean fewer neighbors who park their trucks on their lawns and refuse to maintain their homes, then I hope the change continues.

  42. We've thought of those things, but we rent and don't think the landlord will foot that expense. We will bring it up, however, before we terminate the lease, for sure. (would rather not though) Because we're decent tenants that he might like to keep. You should see the furnace in the basement. I've never seen anything like it. It's an absolute behemoth. All windows are 1/16″ glass and the house is a sieve with regard to energy and heat.

  43. I think that you are right on. Why should any of these complainers whine about how much the developer is trying to sell their condos for? Its not like these whiners are actually interested in buying one. Its not like they tore down a bunch of more affordable units to build this thing. Its not like there isn't any affordable housing in Ballard.

    More supply on the market never hurts anything. We should all be thankful that there are handfuls of empty units available. Wait until demand outstrips supply again and we will be looking at much higher prices all across the board.

    All these little whiny bitches need to shut up, I can't believe how many comments are in this thread about a developer lowering prices.

  44. Who said that they are throwing them out? Not renewing a lease is quite a bit different then throwing them out. Plus, these renters should have seen it coming. Kind of obvious that the developer would put these units back on the market as the economy picks up.

  45. I love how everyone on this blog is some kind of real estate expert. Seems kinda idiotic to assume that you have more knowledge then developers that do this for a living. The units will sell eventually, quite possibly after another price lowering, but they won't sell with people living in them.

    Don't worry about the renters, if they can afford the amount of rent they were charging, they can afford to move to another new apartment in ballard. There are plenty of them.

  46. Every time a Ballard business closes due to increased rent, there are always really similar comments to the one you just left. The typical commenter can't understand why a landlord would want more rent, even if they would have to wait with a empty building for awhile.

    They are not “throwing out renters.” They are simply not renewing leases. It would be kind of hard to sell a unit where someone had a lease, huh?

    Who knows, I'll bet you after depreciation, taxes, maintenance, interest payments on the construction loan, and other expenses they weren't making hardly squat on the rent. As the market looks like it may pick up briefly, I'm sure the developer and the bank that financed it are eager to get rid of some units. I'll trust that they know what they are doing, they are professionals. I don't know anything about real estate and you are just some jackass named Dave who thinks it is “the stupidest move ever.”

  47. Eeew, tough spot. Hopefully your landlord will right his ways and make some upgrades. He ought to know that good tenants are worth a lot and want to keep you happy.

    Good luck.

  48. Yes, I am just some jackass named Dave, but I do know something about real estate. I got my B.A. in Economics in '05 and have been following the real estate market since that time. I quickly realized we were in a bubble and that the prices were not sustainable so I decided not to purchase real estate. I also am just finishing up a certification program to become a real estate appraiser. So sorry if you don't know anything about real estate but don't be so quick to assume I don't.

    Real estate “professionals” making bad decisions are the whole reason we are in this Great Recession. Lenders gave out bad loans, and agents sold unaffordable homes, both more concerned about getting their commission check then if the buyer will be able to pay off the loan. Developers were blind to the idea that home prices could go down. A perfect example of this is the developers at Escala raising the prices on the luxury condos in 2006 to “send a message” to buyers. Escala is now dropping prices because raising prices in 2006 didn't result in anymore sales. All you need to become an agent is a high school diploma and take a 60 hour class and pass an easy state exam. Developers and lenders don't even need that. Developers just need to have money. Just because they are “professionals” doesn't mean they always make smart decisions.

  49. I'm amazed that everyone seems to be independently coming up with the same estimate that dropping these prices down another 30% will bring it to market equilibrium. Sounds like everyone is in agreement here, except the owner.

  50. 35% off is $800,000 you must be kidding! What was the developer smoking thinking you could sell any condo for ONE MILLION+ in ballard.

  51. Such a hot button topic on the bulletin board. This is a recession. Not everyone can afford certain products. If you don’t have the money to afford a premium product, don’t buy it. If you have the money and the product has value to you, then make the purchase. Nobody is forcing anyone to buy an expensive condo, a craftsman cottage, Whole Foods groceries or an iPhone. There are still cheap apartments to rent and normal groceries to purchase. There are still neighborhoods that are affordable.

  52. This is one of the struggles with attempting to improve energy efficiency – landlords have little incentive to insulate the properties they let out because they aren't responsible for the energy costs. This is where some regulations/standards might help improve things.

  53. Jizzball, calling your fellow posters whiners/b*tches/stupid/jackasses doesn't really move the argument forward. It only makes you sound like an angry, angry jerk.

  54. Just a correction to the opening sentence. Hjarta has always been a legal condominium entity. It was never converted to an apartment, then re-converted. Like their other project, Florera, the developer took unsold units off the market and rented them for cash flow. Same thing occurred at West Water, Carbon 56, 5th & Madison, etc.

  55. Gee Whiz, BMWL, you certainly enjoy ranting! Rather righteous, aren't you?

    This comments series would certainly be more enlightening to me without your knee jerk, anecdotal, know-it-all proclamations.

    Sorry, but if there were a 'block' button, I would have hit it on you long ago.

    No personal slam intended, just a wish that we could return the conversation to a Ballard Style . . . where the majority are interested in as much diversity as the hood can sustain!


  56. Wow, what a bargain, only $399,950 for a two bedroom. Are you kidding, you can buy a house for that! I'm sure the $399,950 buys you a view of Scooters' Burgers, and not the better views of the other condos across the street!

    In the past you could count on a bunch of profit seekers to scoop these units up and then turn them around at a profit before the units were ever ready for occupancy. This was a market in itself. The other group of buyers were the ones looking for a sophisticate slice of condo life complete with doorman, exotic breakfast snacks in the lobby each morning, and “discerning amenities around every corner” This market is also gone!

  57. These things were put up during the recession, and perhaps the builders tried to save money. Be sure to check for double walls (party walls) to control noise. Such walls are separated by an air gap and “decoupled” to keep sound from the next unit from transmitting to your unit. Also, financing has been very tough for builders, so be sure to check to see how long the units were exposed to the elements. For example, you will see some condos in Ballard and throughout Seattle that have been sitting without siding for over a year. This destroys the vapor barrier through UV damage. These barriers should sit in the sun no more than about 90, 120, 180 days max. Once you suffer water damage you and your condo association will be hit with large repair bills. It is not common to talk with condo owners in Seattle and Vancouver Canada who have paid over $100,000 each to repair large building water damage.

  58. Yes, a 2 bedroom would have started at $540,000, before the generous discount from the builder. Yes, those were the good old days in Ballard. We are so lucky to see the building boom end here so as to keep the character of the town. Also, you had places like the apartments across from the locks that were up for sale in the tens of millions of dollars. Many retired folks would have been displaced once the property sold. Also, places like the child daycare center in Crown Hill was due to be displaced as property price was beyond their reach. Now they own their own building, thank God once the property values dropped. Even a good guy like Matt's Hotdogs couldn't make it on the corner of 24th and Market–how can you make a profit selling hotdogs when your rent is $5,000. Speaking of hotdogs, I sure miss the Norwegian hot dogs from the Norwegian food store on Market St. They too had to through in the towel due to property values, rents, etc. Even the newspaper, The Ballard News Tribune, is almost gone due to the fact that no one supports local business in Ballard anymore. They had to lay off all of their delivery staff, including disabled folks from Northwest Center, and pulled the paper out of almost all the coffee shops and restaurants in Ballard. Again, no one is supporting local business or the advertising this paper needs.

    This is the new face of Ballard.

  59. It's pretty apparent that the anger posters are salesman or others with a dog in the industry somehow, builders, flippers who got caught etc. Certainly the world as they thought it would always be has come crashing down.

    Hopefully they will learn a bit.

  60. To be honest, the biggest problem the owner will have selling these units is the fact that there are no longer any banks, or mortgage brokers out there able to get buyers into non-conforming mortgages. In the good old days, a couple would opt for the studio at $244,950, sorry, $318,435 before the owner's generous 30% discount; yes, that's more like it I believe studios were running about $300,000 here in Seattle at one time. Anyway, the couple would go for the $318,000 studio and the mortgage broker would say: “Why are you only buying a studio? You qualify for a loan of $500,000, and the good news is, if you get in on an “interest only” loan we can get you into the 2 bedroom unit for $766,935. You will have to get “PMI” mortgage insurance and that will run you another $150 – $200 a month, but that's a small price to pay considering that this unit price could double in the next few years! Anyway, I think you should go for the 2 bedroom…. you never know when a guest will be in town and would be nice to let them have their own room, and not sleeping on the couch.” Oh, those were the days.

  61. Interesting discussion.
    Name, your insight on the Queen Anne HS condos was spot on.
    I have a hunch that the renters at Hjarta are not sorry that they’ll be looking for new abodes; it’s apparently quite unpleasant to live in the building because of the noise levels from the traffic and fire engines. At least I don’t like being woken up at 3:30AM by a fire truck.

  62. This is a great discussion, and as a previous renter at the Hjarta (first hand knowledge) these condos are not nearly worth what they are pricing. The idiotic managment tried to offer dropped rental prices months before leases were up to get people to stay. None of the renters wanted to resign becasue everything that looks nice in the building doesn’t work!

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