Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Seattle Public Utility Bills to See an Increase in Rates

faucetSeattle Public Utilities has issued a statement indicating they will need to raise rates nearly 30% over the next 6 years for residential garbage, sewer, water, and storm water collection to keep up with current service demands. According to the Seattle Times, the average bimonthly bill will increase $16 each year, and SPU wants to hear from the public on the issue, and will be holding public meetings beginning next month to seek feedback.
They’re inquiring if the general public is most interested in cutting back on certain operations or planned projects, and recommend lower rates or smaller increases. Over the past ten years the city’s utility rates have risen 96%, and inflation in the area has gone up 25.6%. Seattle has higher rates than several of the neighboring cities with an estimated combined monthly bill averaging $139, compared to $126 in Tacoma and Portland, and $127 in Bellevue. If you’re interested in attending one of the public forums to learn more about Seattle Public Utilities plans for the future, see the lists of dates and locations here.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

King County Still Experiencing Low Inventory

Wash park home newEven though 2014 is predicted to see an increase in inventory, right now there still isn’t a  big selection for prospective home buyers. According to the NWMLS, while December saw an increase in inventory of 6.2% from a year ago, an increase in sales mostly offset that increase.
While inventory rose slightly across the board in King County last month, it was especially tight in Seattle, where inventory fell slightly. Inventory is still quite tight across King County as we wait for more listings to hit the market, and builders to finish new construction projects. According to the NWMLS the median home price in King County in December was $419,825 which was up 10.5% from December 2012, and $450,000 in Seattle, up 7%. It is an excellent time to list your home in the Seattle area, and if you’re interested in selling your home, contact your local Seattle real estate agent today.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Ideas to Conserve Water in the Seattle Area

Environmental awareness and attitudes to the conservation of natural resources have changed significantly over the last few years and decades. What is more, the technology and methods that are now available to would-be conservationists can, even on a small domestic scale, make a significant contribution to the effort of saving water. Fresh water and drinking water may well become an even more valuable resource in the future. Therefore, a few simple steps now can help households to save a potentially precious resource, saving money at the same time.

Tips on conserving water to benefit homes and households

With help and advice from local companies such as Jim Dandy emergency plumbers, a number of beneficial water conservation techniques can be put to use. These can include apparently small actions and much larger conservation projects on a domestic scale. A few of the practical smaller steps can be carried out immediately, and the benefits may even be visible on the next water bill. Many of these steps involve ensuring that a household consumes only as much water, as it actually needs. Very frequently, additional water is used by mistake or needlessly, such as through a faucet that has been left dripping or through a toilet that flushes an inappropriately large quantity of water. Tackling these issues need not involve a large investment.

Cost benefits of saving water

A household can consume an enormous amount of fresh water each week, and this will be reflected in the utilities bill. The meter does not differentiate between water that is used for showering and water that is lost through dripping faucets, overfilled baths, or unsuitably large toilet flushes. Both intentional and unintentional water usage costs a household money.  Therefore, there can be great cost benefits to be had in checking and updating faucets, in changing to a dual-flush toilet or other modern bathroom technology, and in educating household members in how to use no more water than is necessary when bathing, cooking, or watering the garden.

Environmental benefits of saving water

There are, of course, environmental benefits as well as financial benefits to be gained from the smart use of water. For example, fresh water that is drawn from the surroundings for domestic use may deprive other elements of the environment from necessary supplies. In Seattle, this may be seen in the effect on water levels in rivers. A drop in water level in the river system can affect human uses, such as boating and fishing, as well as the natural users of the water, including fish and the other animals and plants that make up a healthy, diverse ecological river system. 

Furthermore, innovative efforts have been made to enable households to improve the quality and quantity of fresh water available to them. These efforts include the installation of domestic and neighborhood rain gardens that work to collect and filter rainwater, reducing the levels of pollution in the water. Furthermore, such rain gardens have in many cases become attractive visual features in their own right.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Mortgage Rates: Past, Present and Future

wash park newsletterOver the past 30 years, mortgage rates have ranged anywhere from a high of 18.63% in the early 80′s, to a low of 3.2% in late 2013. While rates are considerably low, many prospective homeowners have been able to buy now, taking advantage of a more manageable monthly mortgage payment which can be a huge factor in the overall affordability of the home buying process. But what is in store for mortgage rates in 2014?
After hitting an all time low near the end of 2012, rates have progressively risen throughout 2013, but now that the Federal Reserve has announced it will begin to wind down the stimulus program, which has helped keep rates down in the past, and rates are expected to rise above 5% as the economy continues to recover. Those who missed out on the 3% mortgage dip might feel disappointed that they didn’t take advantage of the historic low, but in comparison rates will still remain considerably low over the course of the year. For more information on Seattle Real Estate, contact your local real estate agent today.