Saturday, August 2, 2014

You won’t believe what my realtor sent me

Kevin - congratulations! You have been in your condo for six years as of June 30! Just closed on a unit in the other stack for less than you paid. Crazy market!  Did the building next door take away your view? Hope all is well.  Congrats! Roger.
In 2014, I celebrated six years in my condominium in the Belltown neighborhood of Seattle.  I purchased my condo in June 2008 for $327,000, not long after the US entered a severe recession due to the bursting of the housing bubble in mid-2007. At the time, I thought it was an ideal time to buy since housing prices had already started plummeting and the US government offered a first time home buyer credit, which would make the purchase price more affordable.  Although housing prices had started to decline, I knew that historically inflation adjusted housing prices had climbed steadily since at least 1970 and housing seemed like a safe investment. I also figured that rents were only slightly less than a monthly mortgage payment, so I would be better off buying.

Little did I know, I ended up catching a falling knife.  Housing prices continued to decline after my purchase.  By 2011, my condo value was $234,000, a loss of $93,000 in equity, or close to 30% of the original purchase price.
http://www.jparsons.net/housingbubble/
Adding insult to injury, in June 2012 a construction project kicked off next door across the alley that wiped out my view of Elliot Bay.  I knew there was always the possibility of losing my view since there was an underdeveloped lot next door, but it didn't truly hit me until the construction reached my floor.
New construction next door from my living room, which eliminated my view of Elliot Bay
The construction eventually wrapped up in 2013 and housing prices had started to recover, especially with Amazon growing and investing heavily in the Seattle area.  By 2014, my condo value reached $325,000 based on sales of similar properties in the area, or about $2,000 less than I paid for it originally.  I’m still technically down substantially if you factor in inflation, although renting over the same period would have cost me well in excess of that.

Needless to say, I'm still a little bitter about buying the condo.  Over the years, my realtor has always sent me mail to stay top of my mind in case I decide to buy or sell again in the future.  Smart move on his part, however, his most recent note celebrating 6 years in my condo hit two of my main pains:  
Kevin - congratulations! You have been in your condo for six years as of June 30! Just closed on a unit in the other stack for less than you paid. Crazy market!  Did the building next door take away your view? Hope all is well.  Congrats! Roger.
Yeah Roger, I bet another unit in the complex sold for less, and yes, I did lose my view.  Thanks for reminding me!  I'm sure we'll work together again in the future...

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