Everyday I bring up the Portland condo list to see any new listings, see if anything has gone pending and to see if old listings have expired or were canceled. Sometimes what I see just makes me shake my head in disbelief. No question, this is a pretty hot market and I do see people paying more than they might normally do. And, while I do not believe we are at a peak yet, it is certainly not a time to let my buyer’s grossly overpay for a property either. Today, a new penthouse came on the market. This is a penthouse at Atwater Place in South Waterfront. The price is $2,700,000 and it is priced at $1000 a sq. ft., the same as what you are seeing at the brand new Cosmopolitan on the Park. Except that at the Cosmo, $1000 gets you up to the 27th floor in a brand new building!
Awhile back I wrote about three penthouse units that were priced in the $3,000,000 range. The first was the 3.8M penthouse at the Cosmo, which I thought would be the first to sell ( it just went Pending again this week). The first one to sell was actually the penthouse at The Elizabeth that was priced at $2,995,000. I represented the buyer on the purchase. You might have read in my blog “Who says it’s a seller’s market?” about the great price my buyer got for that unit… $2,200,000 fully furnished. The third one, and it’s still on the market, is at The Casey and still priced at $3,249,000.
I mention these three units because all three tried to push the $1000 ft barrier. I mentioned I thought the Cosmo would be the first to sell for a few reasons. First, it is a brand new building and brand new buildings always get a premium. Also, at 3.8M this is a property where the buyer can afford to “overpay” and are ok in doing so in order to have “The Best”. The penthouse at the Elizabeth was actually the first to sell and it sold for under $700 a ft.
In mentioning these three units, it helps clarify the pricing on the new Atwater Place penthouse. For one, it is not a new building…so no premium here. 2nd, it is not in The Pearl District…again, no premium here! (While I do like South Waterfront, the Pearl always gets a premium!) Also, keep this in mind, Unit #2403, a NE corner penthouse at Meriwether just went pending at $1,675,000 (598 sq. ft.). It was slightly larger and on a higher floor! At $1000 a sq. ft. the Atwater penthouse is just priced high. Sure, being a penthouse with great river views does justify a high price. (It does have outstanding outdoor living space) Will it sell? Sometimes there will be just the right buyer that loves the place, and the buyers agent usually sells homes in the suburbs and does not understand if a unit is priced high or not. The answer… you never know!
Another listing that was recently brought to me that is not in the MLS is one of the iconic townhomes on 11th in The Pearl. Before I mention this one…I want to show you a few of the comps first. Two units, with 2698 sq. ft. recently sold. One for $1,850,000 the other for $1,900,000. A third sold ( 2 units combined with 3888 sq. ft) for $2,425,000 , or $623 a sq. ft. The third had many high end custom finishes and was designed by the exceptional designer, Jefferey Lamb. Ok, drum roll please…. The new listing , #621 which is 2698 sq. ft… is priced at $2,600,000! Are you kidding me? When I questioned the agents pricing, he mentioned that all three of the comps were going through substantial remodeling. Ok, lets use the combined unit that sold for $2,425,000. Let’s say the new buyer decides he wants to put in an additional $400,000 in remodeling. This would still put this unit at $726 a sq. ft. , or $237 a sq. ft. less than #621 which is at an absurd $963 a ft!
Now you know why I just have to shake my head sometimes in the mornings while looking at new listings!
My purpose of writing about some of these overpriced units is not to beat up on them, but only to help educate buyers so that they don’t overpay for a unit. If you are a buyer in the market for a Portland condo, I know this market inside and out, especially the high end of the market. I would love to help you find your next dream condo so please, give me a call and we can begin to turn your dream of owning a luxury Portland condominium, into a reality…for the right price!
Brad Golik is a condominium specialist with Pearl District Properties. His area of focus is The Pearl District, South Waterfront and Downtown Portland. Brad is a founding member of Condo10 and an expert in internet marketing. You can reach him at 503-896-8856 or at email@example.com , www.LuxuryCondosofPortland.com
Just like many days, I start my day at Starbucks getting a cup of coffee and checking emails. Yesterday, while in Starbucks trying to warm up, I was speaking on the phone with a client about the current condo market. A very nice lady sitting next to me had heard a few things I was saying to my client and when I got off my phone she had many questions for me. No matter where you go, people always seem to like to talk real estate! This person, who I will call Sue, had many questions but the one she seemed to have the most interest in where my thoughts on the new Cosmopolitan. I did start the conversation with her explaining that I have discussed this project many times here on my blog, and it has not always been favorable. She explained to me that she was one of buyers that have now pushed the project to 88% sold. But she was insistent that I give her my honest opinion…so I did! I did start the conversation saying it was a nice building that I believe residents will enjoy for sometime. She asked me about the pricing and I explained to her my take on the pricing. When I explained that I thought it was fairly overpriced she agreed with me and then went on to explain why she bought. The current unit she was in had it’s views blocked by a new building and she wanted something with a view. She said she had been waiting for a view unit to come on the market but got tired of waiting. This is why she said she decided to pay a higher price than she felt comfortable with. I believe this is the exact situation that most of the Cosmopolitan buyers ran into. They wanted something in a nicer building and nothing was coming on the market! They did not have many options and decided to pay a higher price instead of waiting. After discussing the pricing of the building, Sue then asked me what I thought about the building. Being a future owner, I wanted to be somewhat polite and gave her somewhat of a sugar coated answer. She saw right through my answers, looked me in the eyes and said “What do you really think?” So, I told her!
I told her that early on in the design process the developer had called on many of the top condo agents to give some feedback on the project and to make suggestions as to what they thought our clients would like, which at the time I thought was a smart thing to do. There were some very good suggestions that agents made, most were not implemented. For example, large decks. This is something all condo buyers would like to have. The final build out is nearing the end and one thing I will say, VERY small decks for a majority of the owners! Other simple things were suggested. One of my suggestions, which I had seen in buildings in Seattle and Denver, was a small area on the Mezzanine level where owners could take their dogs for a walk, and do their business. This so that owners don’t have to go down to street level and worry about safety later at night. Again, it didn’t happen. Other agents had suggested a better variety of cabinetry. While Pedini is nice, it’s not for everyone. So instead of variety, the future owners were offered super contemporary with a choice of light, medium and dark! This was something Sue said she struggled with. To me, it did not seem that the developers listened to the agents much. While I was hoping for something very special, to me it is just like The Metropolitan, just a little taller. Now don’t get me wrong, I love The Metropolitan! In fact, architecturally, I like the exterior look of The Metropolitan much more. But for the prices being paid, I was hoping for more. For something pretty special. For these $800 to $1200 a square foot prices, I was hoping for a building with more amenities like those in the Insignia in Seattle, Lumina in San Francisco , Bellevue Towers in Bellevue,WA. Or Spire in Denver. ( http://www.insigniabybosa.com/#/tour , http://luminasf.com/amenities/ ,
http://bellevuetowers.com/#building , http://www.spiredenver.com/amenities/ )
Now, some of these nice amenities come with a price, higher HOA fees. Part of the problem with most of our buildings is that we do not build high enough. While 28 stories at The Cosmopolitan is a good start, it is still not enough to spread the cost of amenities like those at the above mentioned buildings. When you have a building that is closer to 40 stories, it is much easier to spread the cost among more owners. When I toured Spire in Denver, CO (41 stories), I was blown away by the fantastic amenities…and then I was really blown away when I saw the owners were paying about half of what typical owners in Portland’s nicer buildings were paying for their HOA fees. While there are many people that are opposed to building higher, it is what makes the most sense if people want nicer amenities and also keeping their monthly cost lower. Imagine if you will, in the location of the current Centennial Mills, a beautiful waterfront condo building much like that of Bellevue towers. Two 40 story towers that offer the most amazing views, and to be right on the river! Sit on your large deck and take in views of Mt. Hood and the Willamette River. Between the two towers, you have a spacious, park like mezzanine level where you sit by an outdoor fire sipping wine and watching ships pass by! In the summer months, you join your neighbors at the outdoor theatre to watch movies. Perhaps you are a little more active and wish to go swim laps in the indoor pool and then relax afterward in the steam room or sauna.
Ok, back to reality! Big, usable decks would have been a good start!
Brad Golik is a condominium specialist with Pearl District Properties. If you would like to tour some of Portland’s luxury condominium buildings, call Brad at 503-896-8856 or visit http://www.LuxuryCondosofPortland.com
This week there were two new penthouse condos that came on the market. One was priced at $1,995,000 and the other at $2,200,000. Yesterday I toured the unit with the higher price. The agent is pushing the fact that it was named “Top 10 penthouses to die for” on MSN Real Estate… I however, was not as impressed. Let’s start with what is right with this beautiful unit. The architectural elements throughout this penthouse were very nice. Warm woods on the floors and ceiling gave a cozy feeling to the unit. But when paying over $2,000,000, cozy is maybe not the feeling I would want! Having three bedrooms and three parking spaces is a nice plus. The finishes in the bathrooms and kitchen were very nice. Now with what I did not like about this unit. I felt somewhat cramped in this 2,239 square foot unit. The main living area seemed very tight to me. While the kitchen was nice, it featured GE Monogram appliances instead of the typical higher end Sub Zero and Wolf appliances we are accustomed to seeing in this price point. The biggest disappointment was the outdoor living area. While the deck was a spacious 800+ square feet, it faces west directly into the 405 freeway noise! The freeway is only one block away. In addition, this is a mid rise building, and while yes it is a penthouse, you still have the neighbors next door at Avenue Lofts and Irving Street Lofts looking down onto your deck so not much privacy. At $2,200,000, my expectations in this price would be something more like the PH3 that sold at the Metropolitan last year for $2,240,000. That penthouse had 3,245 square feet and a massive deck that was pretty much on top of the world with total privacy in one of Portland’s most desirable buildings!
The other unit that came on the market was priced at $1,995,000 and away from the freeways in the heart of the Pearl District. Slightly larger with 2,550 square feet, this unit just lives much larger. While the deck space is smaller than the other penthouse, it still has plenty of space with 628 square feet with 3 mountain views and a much quieter location so that you would actually use your deck! This unit is in one of my favorite loft style buildings… The Elizabeth!
If you would like to tour either of these Portland penthouse units or any other luxury condominiums in Portland, give me a call and we can set up a tour and take a look at some of Portland’s most beautiful condominiums. If you are looking to buy a condo in Portland, OR., why not work with Portland’s condo specialist!
Brad Golik 503-896-8856