PSE customers to receive a one-time $40 credit

PSE customers getting $40 one-time credit

Nov 18, 2014, 6:58am PST

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​If you’re a Puget Sound Energy customer, you’re going to get a $40 credit on an upcoming bill.

miller-ben.jpg Ben MillerContributing Editor- Puget Sound Business Journal Email

If you’re a Puget Sound Energy customer, you’re going to get a $40 credit on an upcoming bill.

That’s because the credit is related to PSE’s sale of assets in Jefferson County in 2010.

The credits will total $59.2 million and both residential and commercial customers will receive the one-time credit on their December or January bills.

PSE said in a statement that it wanted to distribute the payout in winter, when "it will be a benefit to customers when electric bills are typically higher due to colder weather and shorter daylight hours."

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13 November, 2014 16:05

Attacking a ‘quasi-cartel:’ Seattle real estate firm aims to cut agents’ commissions

Nov 13, 2014, 6:31am PST

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A new Seattle online real estate company said it aims to cut commissions paid to real estate agents, calling the industry a "quasi-cartel."

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miller-ben.jpgBen MillerContributing Editor-Puget Sound Business JournalEmail

In a move that will obviously inspire passionate debate in the Seattle real estate community, a new Seattle online real estate company said it aims to use technology to cut commissions paid to real estate agents, calling the industry a "quasi-cartel."

Surefield, an online residential brokerage, said it will undercut the traditional 6 percent fee paid by seller (3 percent for the buyer’s real estate agent and 3 percent for the seller’s real estate agent) to 1.5 percent.

The company said it will rely upon 3-D images of homes for sale by "giving buyers the most realistic, remote tour of a home, enabling a new level of commission savings with no trade-offs."

"The U.S. real estate industry has been operating as a quasi-cartel for far too many years, just look at the high commission rates as proof of tacit collusion," said David Eraker, Surefield CEO, in a statement that will draw the ire of many a Seattle real estate agent.

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Happy Birthday to Doug!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY DOUG!

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Redfin buys Walkscore.com

Wednesday, October 22, 2014, 8:42am PDT

Redfin buys Seattle walkability startup Walk Score as competition heats up

Rachel Lerman

Puget Sound Business Journal

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Seattle real estate company Redfin, led by CEO Glenn Kelman, announced its first… more

Seattle online real estate company Redfin has acquired Walk Score, a Seattle company that calculates neighborhood walkability.

It’s the first acquisition for the decade-old company. The companies did not disclose terms of the deal.

"The acquisition is Redfin’s first and the reason for it is simple: We want to give folks a complete portrait of what it would be like to live somewhere new, within the house and in the surrounding neighborhood," Redfin CEO Glenn Kelman said in a blog post Wednesday.

The news comes just months after another acquisition in the Seattle online real estate market. Zillowannounced this summer it would acquire San Francisco-based Trulia for $3.5 billion.

Zillow is a tough and growing competitor for Redfin, but the smaller company does have a different business model that gives it a distinct advantage. Redfin employs real estate agents and has access to MLS data. Zillow has been criticized by real estate agents and homeowners for having out-of-date information.

This region is emerging as a leader in real estate technology as both Zillow and Redfin grow. There have been rumors that Redfin will join Zillow as a publicly traded company at some point in the near future, but for the time being, those are just rumors. CEO Kelman told Bloomberg in 2012 that he expected the company to be public in 2014. It’s not looking like that is likely to come to pass.

Kelman said in his blog that Walk Score, a company with 10 employees, is a good fit because it will provide Redfin more information about neighborhoods and provide Walk Score access to real estate agents.

Walk Score shows more than 20 million scores every day on 30,000 websites. It will operate as a separate entity "for the foreseeable future," according to the Redfin press release.

The acquisition will allow websites that use Walk Score to display 5,000 ratings each day for free, eliminating a fee that used to be required for more than 100 ratings.

Walk Score, which was founded in 2007, raised $2 million in 2012 from angel investors including Rudy Gadre and Geoff Entress. The majority of the team will join Redfin, and Walk Score CTO Matt Lerner will become Redfin’s vice president of local engineering.

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2nd Q Market Update – The Gardner Report

Western Washington I 2014 Second Quarter Market Update

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Posted in Market News by Matthew Gardner

The average home price in Western Washington in the first half of 2014 was $355,335—up by 4.6 percent over the first half of 2013. As is seen in the chart to the right, all but four counties saw average sales prices rise compared to a year ago. Price growth has been tapering over the past year, but remains generally positive.
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Still too tight: limited number of Seattle houses for sale drives prices higher

Aug 6, 2014, 6:32pm PDT

Still too tight: Limited number of Seattle houses for sale drives prices higher

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The number of houses that are for sale in the greater Seattle, while increasing, remains constrained. The result is higher prices.

stiles-marc-psbj-1000px.jpgMarc Stiles

Staff Writer-Puget Sound Business Journal

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More houses were for sale last month in the Puget Sound region compared to this time last year, but the inventory was still way too limited, area Realtors said Wednesday.

As a result, the price of houses and condos continues to climb. Snohomish County notched the biggest price hike last month when the median price of sold homes hit $319,950 in July. That’s 10 percent higher than the same month a year ago.

The median price increase 8.3 percent in Kitsap County to $252,250. In King County, the median sales price was $425,000, up 6.5 percent, and in Pierce County last month’s median price was $230,000, a 4.5 percent hike. The numbers were in a Northwest Multiple Listing Service report.

For months, real estate agents have been clamoring for more houses and condos to sell. They’re starting to get their wish, albeit slowly. In the four counties, the number of residences on the market climbed to nearly 14,700 in July, or around 1,550 more than a year ago.

Matt Deasy of Windermere Real Estate in Bellevue said King County is slowly improving supply should alleviate the frenzy among buyers, who are engaging in bidding wars. The frenzy, however, continues for some homes in desirable areas, such as Ballard, Green Lake and North Seattle, agents said.

“Inventory levels are still the main concern in many areas,” said George Moorhead of Bentley Properties in Bothell. He said buyers complain “there just isn’t enough to look at, then when something great does come up there are multiple offers.”

Unlike many previous years, Moorhead said “this year, we have seen weeks of aggressive activity.”

PSBJ

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Zillow buys Trulia for $3.5B

Online real estate company Zillow Inc. said it’s buying San Francisco rival Trulia Inc. in an all-stock deal worth $3.5 billion.

Seattle-based Zillow (NASDAQ: Z) said Trulia will remain an independent brand, but Trulia CEO Pete Flint will now report to Zillow CEO Spencer Rascoff.

"Both companies have been enormously successful in creating compelling consumer brands and deep industry partnerships, but it’s still early days in the world of real estate advertising on mobile and Web. This is a tremendous opportunity to combine our resources and achieve even more impressive innovation that will benefit consumers and the real estate industry," Rascoff said in a statement.

The deal wasn’t a surprise: As late as last week, there was speculation about the deal, although the purchase price was estimated to be only $2 billion.

Ben MillerContributing Editor- Puget Sound Business Journal

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