Fast-Growing Global Real Estate Firm Targets In-City Neighborhoods; Relocation Associated with Urban Campuses
Executives of Realogics Sotheby’s International Realty (“RSIR”) are pleased to announce the appointment of Susan Gebhardt and Laura Halliday as Senior Global Real Estate Advisors within the Seattle branch office of the expanding global brokerage network. Gebhardt and Halliday join the fast-growing brokerage, each offering more than two decades of local real estate experience as the firm focuses on the “next generation” of pivotal in-city housing markets.
“Both Sue and Laura bring market knowledge and esprit de corps to RSIR – the kind of positive culture and influence that both clients and other brokers want to associate with,” said Dean Jones, President and CEO of RSIR. “Of course, they are also tremendous brokers and provide us with greater reach into key neighborhoods that will be very active in the coming years.”
Gebhardt resides and works on Mercer Island and Halliday lives in Broadmoor within Madison Park – both are resident experts in their communities but also service coveted areas such as Washington Park, in addition to the broader metro area. Jones is targeting in-city markets of Seattle because he observes an increasing preference for urban campuses and the development of millions of square feet of office space. He knows that job growth and the relocation of large employers, such as Expedia, which will bring thousands of new residents to the area, will spur demand. Meanwhile, existing residents will have more opportunity to downsize from single-family homes.
“We are experiencing a renaissance with close-in neighborhoods because downtown Seattle is booming as the financial and cultural center of the region,” adds Jones. “Savvy consumers realize the relative value compared with the Eastside, which until recently has experienced the lion share of demand for luxury homes – stoked in large part by foreign buyers. Unlike San Francisco, we don’t have a robust light rail line and worsening traffic is driving homebuyers to position themselves closer to the city.”
By example, Mercer Island, perfectly positioned between Seattle and Bellevue, experienced rising demand and the top sale in 2015 – a waterfront estate at Faben Point that sold for $11.8 million. The value of waterfront properties on Mercer Island are exemplified by Gebhardt’s two land-only sales on the north end in the last year and a half, which garnered $4.5 and $4.7 million respectively. Gebhardt also believes that West Bellevue’s boundless rise in median home prices, which increased 17.5-percent year-over-year in 2015, caused many consumers to consider alternatives. Mercer Island witnessed a consistent volume of home sales but median home prices increased by 10.7-percent in 2015.
“The secondary markets are becoming a primary focus where renowned schools, greater affordability and a propensity for capital appreciation coexist,” said Gebhardt. “I’m excited to join RSIR and play a leading role in educating our consumers on these trends – I’m drawn to their market intelligence and robust communication platforms to better educate and serve my clients.”
Gebhardt estimates she’s been involved in more than 50 waterfront transactions on Mercer Island over 20 years and is a resident expert. Halliday likewise sees the opportunity in Madison Park, especially within the gated community of Broadmoor, as sales volume increased 66-percent last year and where Halliday was the top-producing broker in 2015, according to NWMLS data.
“Where else can you live within a distinct golf course community just minutes from a world-class city on the rise,” questioned Halliday. “Seattle literally grew up around Broadmoor with thankfully, no freeways. We enjoy stately homes in a gated enclave with a family-oriented heritage that has remained intact for nearly a century – it’s simply the best of both worlds.”
Both Gebhardt and Halliday will serve on the New Construction Advisory Committee for RSIR as the downtown Seattle condominium market reboots and for-sale inventory is being designed. Jones knows that many would-be buyers for luxury high-rise homes are currently living in nearby single-family residences but are unlikely to move unless the lifestyle and design proposition is compelling.
“I greatly value input from opinion leaders like Sue and Laura when conceiving the next generation of these neighborhoods,” adds Jones. “I’m confident our buyers will include downsizing empty-nesters from markets like Mercer Island, Washington Park and Madison Park, by example, so having brokers in-house that can help clients navigate this journey will fuel this emerging housing cycle.”
Jones confirms that new high-rise condominiums are finally in the pipeline after more than six years of apartment building. He predicts this new supply will soon free up resale inventory in a market plagued by anemic selection, rising home prices and increasing interest rates.