Seek Out These 12 Secret Seattle Parks For Springtime

Seek Out These 12 Secret Seattle Parks For Springtime

Seattle Parks

There are over 400 parks and over 6200 acres of park land in Seattle but sometimes it seems like we’re all just going to the same ones. If we’re not a Woodland Park we’re at Cal Anderson Park or over in Discovery Park. It’s easy to just stick to what you know. But Seattle is filled with the undiscovered, or only slightly-discovered, and the spring weather is beckoning to you to find them for yourself. Below we’ve mapped out twelve tiny or hidden parks that often fly under the radar. Some of them are beaches, others offer amazing views. All of them are worth the trip.

1 Cove Park

Right next to Fauntleroy Ferry Dock, you’ll find this new-ish park on the waterfront. Closed for a long time while the Barton Pump Station got upgraded, you can follow the top of the station down to the waterfront beach with salmon art leading the way. Be wary of the shore during low-tide, it can be a little dangerous. But there’s still lots of other space to explore or just sit and watch the ferries.

Year of Seattle Parks

Fauntleroy Way SW & SW Barton St
Seattle, WA 98136

2 S.W. Brace Point Street End

A third of a mile south of the Fauntleroy Ferry Dock, look for a “shore view” sign and that’s where youll find the public access spot. This private beach offers fantastic views of Vashon and Blake Islands. Bring a lunch and just hang out for a while, watching the ferries go by. Just don’t go too far north as it becomes private property quickly.

Year of Seattle Parks

Fauntleroy Way SW & SW Brace Point Dr
Seattle, WA 98136

3 32nd Avenue W. Beach

Go to the end of 32nd Avenue W. and you’ll find a small waterfront beach that’s a perfect jumping off point for a boat ride or just to sit and enjoy views of Downtown Seattle and Bainbridge Island.

Year of Seattle Parks

32nd Ave W & W Galer St
Seattle, WA 98199

4 Howell Park

Take a turn off of Lake Washington Boulevard onto Howell Place, which looks like a dead-end street, and you’ll find there’s actually a secluded park down there. There’s no parking lot so just make sure you don’t block any of the private driveways nearby. The path leads down through the woods to a beach lawn where, it’s rumored, you may find clothing-optional sunbathers from time to time.

Year of Seattle Parks

1740 E Howell Pl.
Seattle, WA 98112

5 Thomas C. Wales Park

This place was used as a gravel pit and for material storage prior to being developed into a neighborhood park. Some of that gravel has become public art and gives this tiny park a unique look and feel.

Year of Seattle Parks

2401 6th Ave. N
Seattle, WA 98109

6 Rainbow Point

Enjoy a great view of downtown and the Olympic Mountains, while also sitting on benches or making your way along the simple pathway. This park is lighted, and features trees and shrubs, along with plant beds and small lawns.

Year of Seattle Parks

NE 75th St. & Banner Way NE
Seattle, WA 98115

7 Bellevue Place

Bellevue Place is small grassy slope overlooking Lake Union across I-5. A short bike path runs through along bottom of the hill, connecting Melrose Ave E to a bridge over the highway to Eastlake Avenue. Great views here of downtown Seattle, Queen Anne Hill and the Olympic Mountains.

Year of Seattle Parks

Bellevue Pl. E and Bellevue Ave. E
Seattle, WA 98102

8 Belvoir Place

This small waterfront park located at 42nd Avenue NE is near Surber Drive NE in Laurelhurst. While the dock is in need of some serious repair, it’s a cool little gem of a spot for sunbathing or even getting in the water if you’re up for it. FYI, Belvoir Place has been designated a “Pesticide Free Park”.

Year of Seattle Parks

3659 42nd Ave. NE
Seattle, WA 98105

9 Herring’s House Park

This very neat little park in the Duwamish industrial area offers some respite against the hustle and bustle of trucks and trains nearby. There are walking trails here that provide views of the Duwamish River, and some interpretive signs to help inform visitors about the local ecosystem. There is also a small lawn area available for stretching out and enjoying the sun. This is actually a very special place in Duwamish culture, known as Tualtwx (Tohl-ahl-too).

Year of Seattle Parks

4540 West Marginal Way
Seattle, WA 98106

10 Andover Place

Andover Place is simply a narrow grassy slope between buildings, providing public access to the beach. Tree trunks washed up on the beach make excellent spots to sit and enjoy the view. This spot was gifted back in 1948 to be “used exclusively for public recreation and access to waters of Puget Sound.” It’s a good spot to explore the beach, especially at low tide.

Year in Seattle Parks

4000 Beach Dr. SW
Seattle, WA 98116

11 Chinook Beach Park

Chinook Beach Park features a small beach area complete with driftwood and logs that have washed up along the shore. There is also a simple, long walking path along the beach, which offers spectacular views of Lake Washington and the Cascades beyond. A small concrete landing provides a good platform for a picnic or camera tripod, as well as an interpretive sign that gives some background information on the area.

Year of Seattle Parks

Rainier Ave. S & Ithaca Pl. S
Seattle, WA 98118

12 Bhy Kracke Park

Go ahead, make a “buy crack” joke. This unusual park is located on a steep residential area and the sloping hillside give you a great view of downtown, Lake Union, the freeway, and Capitol Hill. There are benches, bike rack, and drinking fountains if you want to hang out for a bit. Make sure you walk down the steep hill to appreciate the flowers and peep a different view down below.

Year of Seattle Parks

1215 5th Ave. N
Seattle, WA 98109



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What If I Wait Until Next Year To Buy A Home?

What If I Wait Until Next Year To Buy A Home? | Simplifying The Market

What If I Wait Until Next Year To Buy A Home?

As a seller, you will be most concerned about ‘short term price’ – where home values are headed over the next six months. As either a first-time or repeat buyer, you must not be concerned only about price but also about the ‘long term cost’ of the home.

Let us explain.

There are many factors that influence the ‘cost’ of a home. Two of the major ones are the home’s appreciation over time, and the interest rate at which a buyer can borrow the funds necessary to purchase their home. The rate at which these two factors can change is often referred to as “The Cost of Waiting”.

What will happen over the next 12 months?

According to CoreLogic’s latest Home Price Index, prices are expected to rise by 5.5% by this time next year.

Additionally, Freddie Mac’s most recent Economic Commentary & Projections Table predicts that the 30-year fixed mortgage rate will appreciate to 4.5% in that same time.

What Does This Mean to a Buyer?

Here is a simple demonstration of what impact these projected changes would have on the mortgage payment of a home selling for approximately $250,000 today:

What If I Wait Until Next Year To Buy A Home? | Simplifying The Market

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5 Tips for Buying a Home

5 Tips for Buying a Home

Looking to buy a home? Here are five essential tips for making the process as smooth as possible.

Get your finances in order.

Start by getting a full picture of your credit. Obtain copies of your credit report. Make sure the facts are correct, and fix any problems you find. Next, find a suitable lender and get pre-approved for a loan. This will put you in a better position to make a serious offer when you do find the right house.

Find a house you can afford.

As with engagement rings, there’s a general rule of thumb when it comes to buying a home: two-and-a-half times your annual salary. There are also a number of tools and calculators online that can help you understand how your income, debt, and expenses affect what you can afford. Don’t forget, too, that there are lots of considerations beyond the sticker price, including property taxes, energy costs, etc.

Hire a professional.

While the Internet gives buyers unprecedented access to home listings and resources, many aspects of the buying process require a level of expertise you can’t pick up from surfing the web. That’s why you’re better off using a professional agent than going it alone. If possible, recruit an exclusive buyer agent, who will have your interests at heart and can help you with strategies during the bidding process.

Do your homework.

Before making a bid, do some research to determine the state of the market at large. Is it more favorable for sellers or buyers? Next, look at sales trends of similar homes in the area or neighborhood. Look at prices for the last few months. Come up with an asking price that’s competitive, but also realistic. Otherwise, you may end up ticking off your seller.

Think long term.

Obviously, you shouldn’t buy unless you’re sure you’ll be staying put for at least a few years. Beyond that, you should buy in a neighborhood with good schools. Whether you have children or not, this will have an impact on your new home’s resale value down the line. When it comes to the house itself, you should hire your own home inspector, who can point out potential problems that could require costly repairs in the future.

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Just Listed – Two Bedroom Condo with Gorgeous Views of the Sound and Olympic Mountains!

Waterfront Living with Gorgeous Views of the Sound and Olympic Mountains. Beautiful Two Bedrooms plus Den/Office. 1.75 Baths with Gleaming Hardwood Floors, Kitchen with Eating Bar, Dining Area with Custom Bar Cabinet and Wine Fridge. Living Room with Gas Fireplace and Slider that Leads to 180-Degree View Deck. Master Bedroom with Views, 3 Closets, 1 Walk-Through. Beachfront Pool, Rec/Party Room, Wood Working Shop, Sauna, Boat Launch and Boat Storage, Plus a Great Beach to Enjoy! Washer and Dryer in Unit, Pets Welcome. Elevator, Extra Storage, Covered Parking & Plenty of Guest Parking. Minutes to Lincoln Park, Downtown & More. You’ll love it here!

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Beautiful West Seattle Townhome Just Listed!

7204 California Ave SW #C Seattle, WA 98136

Beautiful 3 bedroom, 2.5 bath Townhome in West Seattle. Interior Amenities Include Hardwood Floors, Stainless Appliances, Granite Counters, Custom Tile Work, Tankless H20, Gas Fireplace Surrounded by Slate Tile & Detailed Wood Mantel. 2 Private Decks. Spectacular Landscaped Yard is Fenced & Great for Entertaining. Some view of Sound from 2nd bedroom. Close to Restaurants, Shops, Parks, Schools & Playgrounds. Minutes from Downtown. Sellers Rave about Their Great Neighbors. No HOA Dues. You’ll love it here!

Offered at $475,000

Contact us for more information! 206.462.4444

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Thinking about buying an A/C unit before the Summer heat hits?

5 Tips for Buying Central Air Conditioning

(Photo courtesy of Angie’s List member Thomas R. of San Diego)

A/C systems last between 10 and 20 years, so you’ll probably buy a new one at some point.

The air conditioner plays an important role in the home, helping to circulate cool air, reduce humidity and maximize comfort. A typical central A/C system can last anywhere from 10 to 20 years, so most homeowners will have to purchase a new system at some point in their lives.

Consider the following factors before buying a new central A/C:

1. Finding an HVAC installer

Angie’s List has ratings and reviews on HVAC companies nationwide. Once you’ve decided on two or three contractors, ask for a quote. Ask the contractor to list the make and model of the A/C unit on the quote so you can check reviews and compare prices.

2. Installation price

When you replace or install a new A/C unit, there are two costs: the price of the unit and the price of installation. You may be able to save money by purchasing the unit yourself at a wholesale cost, but you’ll likely still be charged for the install.

RELATED: How Much Does Installing a New A/C Cost?

3. A/C unit size

Your A/C size is crucial to a comfortable home. Make sure the central A/C is large enough to cool down your house but not so large it wastes energy. A system that is too big for your home will cycle on and off frequently, consuming electricity and reducing energy efficiency. If it’s too small, it will not be able to cool your entire home on hot days.

Before recommending a unit, the HVAC contractor should come to your home to do a load calculation. The contractor will consider the size of your home in square feet, the amount of insulation in your home and other factors to determine the correct size unit.

VIDEO: 5 Things to Know About A/C Maintenance

4. Energy efficiency

Air conditioner efficiency is measured by the Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER), and the government now requires that all A/C units have a SEER rating of 13 or higher. A rating from 14 to 22 earns an energy-efficient classification.

MORE: Buying an A/C? Compare First and Lifetime Costs

5. Air conditioner maintenance

Most A/C manufacturers recommend yearly maintenance. Failure to maintain your unit may void the warranty. Ask your contractor for details. Consider an HVAC maintenance contract with a trusted contractor to head off potential A/C problems before they become serious.…

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Buying Near Transit? Pay Up.

This is how much more you’d have to pay for a home near light rail

Originally published June 26, 2016 at 8:00 pm Updated June 27, 2016 at 2:34 pm

The findings could be a sign of what’s to come as the Puget Sound area considers a massive transit expansion along with new homes near stations.

By Mike Rosenberg

Seattle Times business reporter

As Seattle and surrounding cities look to significantly expand train service throughout the region, here’s fair warning for those looking to live the car-free lifestyle: If you want to live near a transit hub, you’ll likely have to pay up.

Seattle-based real-estate firm Estately crunched the data on the median cost so far this year to buy a home within a mile of each existing and forthcoming Link light-rail station — and how that compares with other home values in the region.

The results were clear: Take the Capitol Hill station, which just opened in March. Already, homes sold near the station are going for a median price of $505,000, or $35,000 more than the rest of the neighborhood.

On Beacon Hill, south of the stadiums, buyers near the station paid a typical price of $516,000 this year, an extra $61,000 compared with other homes in the area. In Pioneer Square, the extra cost near the station is $78,000.

Looking for something cheaper? In Tukwila, the cost to buy a house near that city’s station this year has been $340,000, or $88,000 more than the rest of town.

How about the forthcoming light- rail stations on the Eastside, where communities are already planning for new homes in transit villages? In Bellevue, houses near four of the five coming stations have sold this year for a typical price of $775,000 to $800,000, vs. $710,000 citywide.

The findings echo studies done in other cities. Economist Matthew Gardner, who has studied the issue of housing costs near Seattle transit in the past, said the cost premium to live closer to the train will only grow as traffic gets worse, light rail expands, and a rising number of millennials and others look to ditch their cars.

The report doesn’t seek to answer whether the stations themselves are driving up costs, or if those stops just happen to be in high-cost areas.

“Potentially you can be further out than living in Queen Anne but still pay more because of that convenience living close to transit,” said Gardner, the chief economist at Windermere Real Estate.

The issue has grown in recent years as more and more people have been priced out of the Seattle core and have moved to outlying neighborhoods and suburbs, where many commuters want to ride transit to work to avoid punishing traffic. The potential to do that is limited by the relatively small size of the light-rail system today, but the network is growing and more large developments are popping up near stations.

Most significantly, Puget Sound area voters are weighing the $54 billion ST3 transit expansion, which officials on Thursday placed on the November ballot. That package could produce dozens of new stations over the next quarter-century, generating nearby housing that could allow more people priced out of expensive areas to live farther away and ride the train to work.

The Estately study doesn’t look at the possible stations included in the ballot measure, but it does examine housing costs near existing Link stations and new ones that are already under construction or approved on the Eastside and north and south of Seattle. Many of those stations won’t open until the early part of the next decade, but cities are already planning for transit villages near them.

Gardner said if the ballot measure is approved, property values would “absolutely” rise near the stations included in the expansion, which would stretch to West Seattle, Ballard, Issaquah, Tacoma and Everett.

The good news — other than for property owners sitting on land near proposed stations — is that Seattle hasn’t seen quite the same added cost premium as other cities for homes along the rail line, said Estately CEO Galen Ward. That’s largely because the train line here simply isn’t as useful as other places with more robust transit systems.

“Our transit line is very new compared to most cities,” Ward said. “The kind of density that drives a premium, like restaurants and stores, hasn’t had a chance to fully form here.”

Ward’s company has done similar analyses for costs near train lines in the Bay Area, Washington, D.C., Chicago, Boston and Atlanta. And while the added cost premium to live near the train is smaller in Seattle, the overall prices aren’t.

Homes near transit in central Seattle and the Eastside are considerably more expensive than along rail lines in Chicago and Atlanta, and similar to those in Boston and D.C. But as always, the Bay Area takes the cake: Homes along that region’s train systems in San Francisco and Silicon Valley cost two to three times as much as those in Seattle after accounting for home size.

    Not all Seattle neighborhoods see higher prices just for being near a train stop, but the vast majority do. In Seattle, the median cost citywide for a house this year is $384 per square foot. But near the seven stations between the stadiums and the University of Washington, it typically costs between $403 and $605 per square foot, Estately said.

The exceptions come if you’re willing to wait a while. At the north end of the system in Lynnwood, where service is scheduled to start early next decade, prices near the planned station are actually a little cheaper than the rest of town. Same goes for the home costs near the coming Kent/Des Moines station on the south end.

But even that strategy is limited: In Northgate, where a station is planned for the coming years, the cost to buy near the stop has been $493,000 this year, an extra $18,000 compared with the rest of the neighborhood. Ditto for the coming stop in Mountlake Terrace.

Overall, the Estately map shows homes along the Link line on a cost-per-square foot basis are priciest in downtown Seattle and on the Eastside and cheaper on the north and south ends, just as they are in general.

The report did not look at rental rates near transit stops, or costs near bus stops.

Mike Rosenberg: or 206-464-2266

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4 Reasons to Buy This Fall

4 Reasons to Buy This Fall | Simplifying The Market4 Reasons to Buy This Fall

It’s that time of year; the seasons are changing and with them come thoughts of the upcoming holidays, family get-togethers, and planning for a new year. Those who are on the fence about whether or not now is the right time to buy don’t have to look much further to find four great reasons to consider buying a home now, instead of waiting.

1. Prices Will Continue to Rise

CoreLogic’s latest Home Price Index reports that home prices have appreciated by 6% over the last 12 months. The same report predicts that prices will continue to increase at a rate of 5.4% over the next year. The Home Price Expectation Survey polls a distinguished panel of over 100 economists, investment strategists, and housing market analysts. Their most recent report projects home values to appreciate by more than 3.5% a year for the next 5 years.

The bottom in home prices has come and gone. Home values will continue to appreciate for years. Waiting no longer makes sense.

2. Mortgage Interest Rates Remain at Historic Lows

Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey shows that interest rates for a 30-year mortgage have remained at or below 3.5% for 13 consecutive weeks. The Mortgage Bankers Association, Freddie Mac & the National Association of Realtors are in unison, projecting that rates will increase by this time next year.

Any increase in rates will impact YOUR monthly mortgage payment. A year from now, the percentage of your income that you spend on housing will increase substantially if you choose to wait.

3. Either Way You Are Paying a Mortgage

Everyone should realize that, unless you are living with your parents rent-free, you are paying a mortgage – either your mortgage or your landlord’s. As a paper from the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University explains:

“Households must consume housing whether they own or rent. Not even accounting for more favorable tax treatment of owning, homeowners pay debt service to pay down their own principal while households that rent pay down the principal of a landlord plus a rate of return. That’s yet another reason owning often does—as Americans intuit—end up making more financial sense than renting.”

4. It’s Time to Move on with Your Life

The ‘cost’ of a home is determined by two major components: the price of the home and the current mortgage rate. It appears that both are on the rise.

But what if they weren’t? Would you wait?

Look at the actual reason you are buying and decide whether it is worth waiting. Whether you want to have a great place for your children to grow up, you want your family to be safer or you just want to have control over renovations, maybe now is the time to buy.

If the right thing for you and your family is to purchase a home this year, buying sooner rather than later could lead to substantial savings.

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Renting Vs. Buying

Rent vs. Buy: Be Haunted by Prices, Not Rates

Rent vs Buy Fall2016_Hero

By Ralph McLaughlin | Oct 20, 2016 12:01AM

Buying a home is 37.7% cheaper than renting on a national basis, which is up just a bit from last year. Though the Fed is likely to raise rates by year’s end, homebuyers should be more concerned about rising prices.

While the Federal Reserve Bank will likely increase interest rates later this year, rates would have to turn sharply higher to push the rent vs. buy decision towards renting. In fact, nationally and in the 100 largest markets, rising home prices are more likely to have an impact on homebuyers’ bottom line than increasing rates. In this edition of Trulia’s Rent vs. Buy report, we look at where, and by how much, rates and prices would have to increase to erase the financial benefits of homeownership. We find that:

  • Nationally, the benefits of lower mortgage rates have been mostly offset by higher prices. For households who move every seven years and can afford to put 20% down, it’s 37.7% cheaper to buy this year. This up just slightly compared to 37.2% last year.
  • Buying is cheaper than renting in each of the 100 largest metros. The range is from over 50% cheaper in Miami and Fort Lauderdale, Fla., to under 20% in Honolulu and San Francisco.
  • Homebuyers should be more concerned about rising prices than rising mortgage rates. Rates would have to more than double to wipe out the financial advantage of buying, whereas prices would only need to increase by 67%. In San Jose, Calif., prices would only need to go up by 24% for the cost of buying to be the same as renting, whereas rates would have to jump by 45% – or 1.6 points – for buying to cost the same as renting.

Higher Prices Have Eroded Benefits of Lower Mortgage Rates

Mortgage rates – as measured by average rates reported by the Mortgage Bankers Association – have dropped sharply over the past year from 3.9% to 3.7%, but buying has only become a little cheaper than renting. It is now 37.7% cheaper to buy than rent on the national level and that’s only slightly better than this time last year, when buying was about 37.2% cheaper. What gives? Home prices have outpaced rents, which erased most of the savings that homebuyers received from lower mortgage rates. Nationally, prices have increased by 5.9% since last year compared to an increase of 3.5% for rents. But thanks to low mortgage rates keeping pressure on prices, buying a home today continues to be the best deal since 2012.

Rent vs Buy Hero
the largest financial advantage of homeownership are there, with Philadelphia and Syracuse, N.Y., being the only non-Southern markets to make the list. Buying a home in Miami and West Palm Beach, Fla., will be the easiest on your wallet: after seven years of homeownership, buying a home is 53.2% cheaper than renting. Buying a home in nearby Fort Lauderdale isn’t a bad deal either, where homeownership is 52.9% cheaper.

Where Buying a Home Beats Renting

U.S. Metro Median Home Value, Fall 2016 Median Rent, Fall 2016 Cost of Buying vs. Renting (%), Fall 2016
1 Miami, FL $259,527 $2,000 -53.2%
2 West Palm Beach, FL $241,509 $1,950 -53.2%
3 Houston, TX $176,513 $1,575 -52.9%
4 Fort Lauderdale, FL $217,342 $1,800 -52.9%
5 Charleston, SC $218,090 $1,575 -52.5%
6 Baton Rouge, LA $158,405 $1,350 -51.7%
7 New Orleans, LA $171,302 $1,450 -51.2%
8 Syracuse, NY $122,040 $1,400 -51.0%
9 Philadelphia, PA $141,176 $1,300 -50.8%
10 Columbia, SC $124,733 $1,125 -50.6%
Note: Negative numbers mean that buying costs less than renting. Data for all metros and all scenarios presented in this report can be downloaded here.

Potential homebuyers in the West and Northeast have a more difficult decision to make, although it’s still significantly cheaper to buy than rent. Eight of the ten markets with the slimmest rent vs. buy margins are there. The financial advantage of homeownership is narrowest in Honolulu, but still 17.4% cheaper over 7 years with 20% down. In San Jose, the margin is just 18.6, and in Milwaukee – one of only two not in the West or Northeast – it’s 19.6%. Those considering buying a home in the other seven metros where the financial advantage is narrowest should fear not: it is at least 22% cheaper to buy a home than rent one in each of these markets.

Where the Financial Advantage of Buying is Slimmest

U.S. Metro Median Home Value, Fall 2016 Median Rent, Fall 2016 Cost of Buying vs. Renting (%), Fall 2016
1 Honolulu, HI $629,606 $2,500 -17.4%
2 San Jose, CA $954,153 $3,600 -18.6%
3 Milwaukee, WI $203,148 $1,300 -19.6%
4 Newark, NJ $331,086 $2,200 -22.9%
5 San Francisco, CA $1,094,742 $4,300 -25.9%
6 Madison, WI $224,918 $1,525 -27.4%
7 Sacramento, CA $348,813 $1,750 -27.5%
8 Fairfield County, CT $396,892 $2,400 -28.6%
9 Oakland, CA $658,223 $3,000 -29.2%
10 Ventura County, CA $540,662 $2,600 -29.4%
Note: Negative numbers mean that buying costs less than renting. Data for all metros and all scenarios presented in this report can be downloaded here.

Prices More Threatening to Homebuyers than Mortgage Rates

There’s been much speculation that the Federal Reserve Bank will increase rates in December, but homebuyers should be more concerned of rising prices than rising mortgage rates. The tipping point, that is, the price or rate at which the cost of buying equals the cost of renting, is much higher for rates than for prices. For example, the median home value tipping point for the U.S. is $467,772, which is 67% higher than today’s median value of $280,103. In comparison, the tipping point for U.S. mortgage rates is 9.1%, or 145% higher from today’s average mortgage rate of 3.7%.

Rent vs Buy Supporting Graphic

Home Value and Mortgage Rate Tipping Points: Metros with Slimmest Price Margins

U.S. Metro Median Home Value, Fall 2016 Median Home Value Tipping Point % Home Value Increase to Tipping Point Mortgage Rate Tipping Point % Rate Increase to Tipping Point
1 Honolulu, HI $629,606 $774,415 +23.0% 5.3% +44.8%
2 San Jose, CA $954,153 $1,183,149 +24.0% 5.4% +47.5%
3 Milwaukee, WI $203,148 $257,998 +27.0% 6.6% +80.3%
4 Newark, NJ $331,086 $437,034 +32.0% 7.2% +96.7%
5 San Francisco, CA $1,094,742 $1,488,849 +36.0% 6.1% +66.7%
6 Madison, WI $224,918 $319,384 +42.0% 7.9% +115.8%
7 Sacramento, CA $348,813 $495,315 +42.0% 6.9% +88.5%
8 Fairfield County, CT $396,892 $567,556 +43.0% 7.6% +107.7%
9 Oakland, CA $658,223 $947,841 +44.0% 6.8% +85.8%
10 Ventura County, CA $540,662 $783,960 +45.0% 7.0% +91.3%
Note: Negative numbers mean that buying costs less than renting. Data for all metros and all scenarios presented in this report can be downloaded here.

There are some markets, though, where the tipping points are relatively lower. Prices in Honolulu, San Jose, and Milwaukee would only need to rise between 23% and 27% to reach the tipping point, while rates on the hand rates would need to increase between 44% and 80%. While such a large increase is unlikely to occur anytime soon, the point is that any threat to the financial benefits of homeownership are more likely to come from price pressures than rate pressures since rates would have to go up by a much larger proportion than prices to affect the rent vs. buy decision.

Rent vs Buy Supporting Graphic

The Recap

It is slightly cheaper to buy than rent this year compared to last. While rates have dropped significantly compared to last year, rising prices have eroded much of the financial benefits of lower rates that would accrue to homebuyers. Homebuyers should also be more concerned about prices outpacing rents than any possible rate hike by the end of the year. This is because the tipping point for rates is proportionally much higher than the tipping point for prices. In other words, rates would have to go up much more than prices for the costs of buying a home to be parity with the cost of renting. But buyers don’t need to fret too much. Even in markets where it the rent vs. buy decisions is toughest, Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) would have to raise rates aggressively. For example, in Honolulu and San Jose, the FOMC would have to increase six times at a quarter point each to reach the tipping point, and even if they did there’s no guarantee that mortgage rates would follow suit since they are more closely tied to the 10-year bond. On the other hand, price increases to the tipping point in some markets are not unprecedented. Prices in San Jose, on the other hand, climbed to near tipping point rates in 2013 at 21% year-over-year. Still, we think either scenario – aggressive price or rate increases – is unlikely to play out anytime soon. The FOMC has only raised rates once in the past 10 years, and prices would have to grow to their tipping with little movement in rents. The latter of which hasn’t happened since the housing market recovery began in 2012.


Trulia calculates the costs of buying and renting by:

  • We use our quality-adjusted measure of home prices and rents, which allows an apples-to-apples comparison between rental and owner-occupied housing units. We looked at median home value and rent in March 2016 in each of the largest 100 metros.
  • We calculate the initial total monthly costs of owning and renting, including mortgage payments, maintenance, insurance, and taxes.
  • We calculate the future total monthly costs of owning and renting, taking into account expected price and rent appreciation, as well as projected inflation.
  • We factor in one-time costs and proceeds, including closing costs, down payment, sale proceeds, and security deposits.
  • We calculate net present value, which reveals the opportunity cost of using money to buy a house instead of investing it. Net present value is the worth in today’s dollars of a future stream of payments and proceeds, taking into account expected interest rates.

Trulia’s Rent vs. Buy Calculator lets you compare renting and buying costs using other assumptions about prices, rents, and other factors. It uses the same math that powers our interactive map and this report. You can read our extended methodology here.

– See more at:…

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Not Home for Thanksgiving? 7 Tips to Keep your Home Safe.

Take these precautions before you head out of town.

Homemade Turkey Thanksgiving Dinner

By Niccole Schreck | Contributor Dec. 10, 2014, at 9:50 a.m.

For many, the best part of the holiday season is spending quality time with family – and when you live in another city or state, that means packing up and heading out. Before you leave, it’s important take the proper precautions to keep your house or apartment safe while you’re gone.

If you’re traveling this holiday season, ensure your home is secure with these seven tips:

1. Lock up. This may seem like an obvious rule of safety, but sometimes the most obvious rules are the ones we forget to follow. Make sure every door and window in your home is properly shut and locked. If you don’t already have a deadbolt on your doors, you may want to consider investing in one, as it can make your door more secure and offer you peace of mind (which is priceless).

2. Avoid posting your whereabouts on social media. Some people post everything on Facebook – even if it’s just a photo of lunch. It’s only natural that you would want to post a status on Facebook or Twitter sharing your excitement about traveling for the holidays. However, you may want to think twice about this. You never know who may be looking at your social media pages, and you don’t want strangers knowing that your house or apartment is vacant for a week.

3. Put lights on a timer. If you have holiday lights, put them on an automatic timer when you go out of town. You can set the timer up so that your lights go on at a certain hour each night, making it appear as if you’re in your home at all times. Consider setting a few indoor lights on timers as well to help your residence look lived in even when you’re not there. With that being said, you should closely examine any strings of holiday lights before putting them on a timer. Frayed cords are a potential fire hazard, so if you notice this on your lights, it’s time to throw them away and invest in some new ones.

4. Don’t leave a key. Having a spare house key is a must. However, it’s crucial to be careful about where you store that key. Don’t leave it in a fake rock or place it under your doormat because these are locations criminals will look. Instead, leave a key with a trusted friend or neighbor so you’ll have it if you need it, but know your key won’t end up in the wrong hands.

5. Ask someone to pick up your mail, or stop your mail. Here’s another benefit about having friendly neighbors: They can pick up your mail and newspapers. Having newspapers piled up on your doorstep might as well be a sign saying, “Hey everyone; I’m not home.” Ask a neighbor to pick up the papers and mail until you return after the holidays. You can also easily temporarily stop mail delivery on the U.S. Postal Service website.

6. Keep valuables out of sight. Go through each room to see if there are any valuable items that are out in the open. Even if these items can’t be seen directly from a window, you should find a safe place for them. If someone does break in to your residence, you don’t want to make it easy for them. Store your valuables in unexpected locations. For example, most burglars aren’t going to pick up toilet bowl cleaner or a container of sea salt. Use common cleaning supplies and pantry items to keep your valuables safe from theft.

7. Leave your curtains in their normal position. It would make sense to close your curtains when you leave, but this may not necessarily be the best option. If you don’t normally close your curtains, this could be a sign telling others that you’re out of town. It’s best to leave your curtains as you normally would, and make sure any valuables that can be seen through the windows are out of sight. You don’t want to give someone a reason to want to come in.

Happy Thanksgiving from the Beth G Homes Team!

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