Tuesday, November 23, 2004


Well, it's been a crazy week, but I'm back, and I have a backlog of stuff. So why am I posting under the title "NASCAR"? Is it shameless search engine bait? Actually, the latest real estate development news in the Seattle area is that the proposed NASCAR track has been scrubbed. In the interest of full disclosure, I am not nor have I ever been a NASCAR fan (I usually refer to it as SPASCAR.). And I have to admit that I'm glad this went up in smoke. It was more of a public funding boondoggle than the Seahawks' stadium and would have grossly expanded the traffic and planning disaster that is Metropolitan Seattle. Better to put something in that actually has some thought behind it. I shall now restrain myself from comments about the hillbillies in eastern Snohomish and Skagit counties.

Thursday, November 11, 2004

Big Apartment Sale in Seattle

Harsch Investment Realty of Portland, OR, has sold The Nettleton Apartments at 8th and Madison to Bascom Northwest Ventures of San Francisco. The Nettleton is a two-building, 351-unit high rise built in 1951. The reported price is $37 million, or about $105,000 per unit. New and renovated buildings in Seattle are going at about $200,000 per unit, so Bascom has plenty of head space in its equity position to pay for renovations. Bascom has been expanding its holdings throughout the Pacific Coast markets (and also Utah) and has acquired three other properties in the Seattle area this year.

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Building Codes

The 2003 editions of the international building codes are out with changes all over the place, including new seismic standards. Check the ICC for more information. We'll walk through the changes during the next, few weeks.

Big Dig

Turns out Boston's Big Dig is really the Big Sieve. Check the Boston Globe. Just shows that time and money aren't the only ingredients in successful construction.

Interest Rates II

"OK," you may ask, "Why do you think real rates will go up when they haven't reacted to the Fed so far?" Fair enough. First, much of what the Fed has done this year was already built into the market. Everyone knew the Fed's rate couldn't stay down and set the markets accordingly. Second, the Fed's moves are starting to affect the cost of capital, i.e. interest on loans mere mortals like us enter into. Third, the burgeoning federal deficit is putting a lot of pressure on supply of capital, driving its price up. Big ticket items are the ones most affected by the cost of financing, and real estate is the biggest ticket item of all.

Interest rates

As expected, the Fed boosted the federal funds rate a quarter-point today. As was not expected, at least not a week ago, the Fed is expected to raise the rate another quarter-point next month. The Fed's moves this year haven't been reflected in mortgage and purchase financing yet, and they haven't shown up much more in operations financing, but the operative word is yet. Rates in general now seem to be experiencing upward pressure. Check Bloomberg for more info.


...to The Real Estate Spot. The plan is to provide a place for news and comment concerning legal developments affecting real estate. This can run the gamut from building permits to remodel your house to workers' comp issues for construction contractors, with many stops along the way. We'll have to see what grows. I can guarantee that it will also contain random bits of interest. For example, although cocoa futures are falling again today, the war in the Ivory Coast is expected to keep supplies constricted and prices up. Just in time for the holidays.