By Keith Creighton
Featured on West Seattle Blog
November 10, 2013
This past month, my wife and I moved from a hill atop Morgan to that same hill a mile south in Gatewood. One of the biggest considerations we faced was trading more space for less view and giving up the easy walk to the Morgan and Alaska Junctions.
We’re not the only family facing big changes in West Seattle.
How will the surge of demolition and construction (California/Alaska, above), store closures/moves (Sweetie, Coffee to a Tea, Alki Arts) and chain introductions (including Fatburger on Alki and plans for Whole Foods Market, LA Fitness) affect the values of your home and the quality of your life? I asked several Junction-area residents and real estate pros to share their expertise:
- Dawn Leverett of Windermere Real Estate
- Katie Hildebrand and Kirsten Donovan of The Usonia Group/Keller Williams Realty
- Jill Campbell of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Northwest Real Estate
Can you put a price tag on the concept of walkability? What will happen if the big chains push mom and pop shops out of West Seattle? Is White Center becoming the new West Seattle? Read what the pros have to say and weigh in with your comments.
We Have That:
Does the hometown charm of the three junctions (Morgan, Alaska and Admiral) affect the property values for homes around those areas?
Buyers have become more and more concerned with preservation, public transportation and walkability scores of the neighborhoods where they purchase. Around the Alaska Junction, you’ll see a property-value bump that extends south of Genesee, north of Hudson, west of 40th Ave SW and east of 45th Ave SW. Today, there are 15 homes on the market in this area (7 condos, 8 homes) compared to 360 homes available in all of West Seattle.
The Junction certainly is a magnet and known to be a positive selling factor. Many buyers want walkability. That could mean proximity to parks or beach or schools, but more often they want proximity to village-style shops and restaurants, the farmer’s market, etc. Entertainment options like ArtsWest Playhouse and Gallery make the Junction a highly desirable neighborhood, therefore increasing nearby home values. It’s hard to put an actual number on it, but if you look at two very similar houses in size, condition, and view, one is within 5 blocks of the Junction and the other is a mile or two away, you could easily see a 10 percent difference in price.
In early 2010, a young couple bought a refreshed craftsman bungalow three blocks from the Junction and ended up selling their car. They wanted a community with character, where everything was in walking distance and close to a bus line. They wanted to be close to the city, but in an area that wasn’t citified. The home they purchased for $265,000 in 2010 would sell in a heartbeat today for $375,000.
West Seattle is similar to an island in that outsiders [generally] do not drive through our neighborhood to get to somewhere else. Walkability to West Seattle’s three Junctions seems to be a big deal, especially for buyers 40 and under. Young professionals want to live in and near the center of activity rather than drive to the Junctions. For those who cannot necessarily afford a view, walkability to the Junctions scores second in popularity.
Link to full article here.