Category: Eastside Business Journal

Wells Fargo leads NAHREP’s Inaugural Top 250 Latino Mortgage Originators List

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 Latino Mortgage OriginatorInaugural Top 250 Latino Mortgage Originators Report Sponsored by Radian Guaranty Recognizes Top Producing Hispanics in the Mortgage Industry

The National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals  (NAHREP) has released its 2015 report on the Top 250 Latino Mortgage Originators in the United States. Wells Fargo Home Mortgage led the way with the most agents on the list, with independent lenders New American Funding and Alterra Home Loans finishing second and third, respectively. NAHREP reports that it received more than 800 nominations from 42 different companies.

“These agents and Latino mortgage originators are highly dedicated to their trade and know first-hand the significance that homeownership holds for the Latino community,” said Teresa Palacios Smith, NAHREP’s 2015 president. “We are proud to recognize these hardworking individuals for their success and devotion to their profession.”

The Top 250 Latino Mortgage Originators reports include snapshots of interesting data points as well as photos and personal stories of this year’s honorees. The report, which is sponsored by Radian Guaranty, is available at

“Radian recognizes the growing importance of the diverse populations for our country’s housing and economic recovery, and is thrilled to partner with NAHREP in making sure that mortgage professionals are not only aware of the needs of these populations but are ready to support them,” said Teresa Bryce Bazemore, president of Radian Guaranty. “Radian is proud to recognize some of the best mortgage originators in the industry today and advance the goal of sustainable homeownership.”

The listing of the Top 250 Latino Mortgage Originators in America is compiled through a self-nomination process reflective of total transactions closed during the 2014 calendar year, which are verified by NAHREP and the senior management of the loan originator’s employer. Membership in NAHREP is not a requirement. This year’s Top 10 Latino Mortgage Originators in the U.S. are:

  1. Manuel Corral, GEM Mortgage, Pomona, CA
  2. Edward A. Hernandez, Wells Fargo Home Mortgage, Highland Village, TX
  3. Benjamin Herrera, Wells Fargo Home Mortgage, Des Moines, IA
  4. Donald Ambrose King, IV, Wells Fargo Home Mortgage, Des Moines, IA
  5. Alexander Varela, PrimeLending, Bedford, TX
  6. Miguel Dominguez, PrimeLending, Sterling Heights, MI
  7. Carlos Augusto Gutierrez-Villalba, Wells Fargo Home Mortgage, Tempe, AZ
  8. Sergio Corona, Wells Fargo Home Mortgage, Des Moines, IA
  9. Natalie Navarro, Wells Fargo Home Mortgage, Tempe, AZ
  10. Jorge Montoya, Guild Mortgage, Reno, NV

NAHREP’s Top 250 Latino Real Estate Agents will be announced on June 16, 2015. Both the Top 250 Mortgage Originators and Top 250 Agents will be recognized at the NAHREP 2015 National Convention & Latin Music Festival at the Chicago Hilton Downtown, September 20-22, 2015.

The National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals, a nonprofit 501(c) 6 trade association, is dedicated to advancing sustainable homeownership among Latinos by educating and empowering the real estate professionals who serve them. NAHREP is the premier trade organization for Hispanics and has more than 20,000 members in 48 states and 35 affiliate chapters.  Visit

PCCP and Align Real Estate Form JV to Purchase Pacific Towers Office Building in Downtown Bellevue

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Pacific Tower Downtown BellevuePCCP, LLC recently announced that it has formed a joint venture with Align Real Estate to acquire the six-story, 110,372-square-foot Class A Pacific Tower office property within the central business district of Bellevue, WA. The property is 95 percent occupied and includes ground-floor retail and a three-level parking garage consisting of 315 stalls. The acquired property consists of the bottom six floors of a 23-story tower, the top 17 stories are residential condominiums.

“This is our first joint venture with Align, a firm specializing in value-added office development throughout the Pacific Northwest and California,” said Erik Flynn, managing director with PCCP. “Bellevue Pacific offers us an opportunity to increase the asset’s revenue through value-add improvements including a lobby renovation and aesthetic upgrades to the tenant floors that are designed to enhance the building’s prominence in the marketplace and ultimately attract long-term tenants.”

Built in 1995, the property is located at NE 2nd Avenue, between 106th and 107th Avenues. It includes 24 Hour Fitness, Opus Bank, TIAA-CREF as well as other tenants. Over the past several years the property has been amidst a rapidly transforming neighborhood with new hotel, mixed-use, residential, and retail developments occurring on each side of the property.

Bellevue, the business center of the Eastside of Seattle, continues to see the highest growth in rental rates in its submarket with premium buildings experiencing average rental rate growth of 12.7 percent in 2014. Rental rate growth projections through 2015 are expected to reach approximately 8 percent with continued growth over the next four years.

Eastdil Secured represented both the buyer, as well as the seller, LaSalle Investment Management.

Pent-up demand triggering record pace of home sales around Western Washington

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Northwest Multiple Listing Service members notched a record high level of pending sales during April, surpassing the year-ago volume by nearly 1,800 transactions. Both closed sales and prices also surged last month as the spring market kicked into high gear.

Buyer confidence and buyer ability to purchase are fueling activity, suggested Ken Anderson, the managing broker and owner of Coldwell Banker Evergreen Olympia Realty. “Long building pent-up demand is being unleashed,” he commented.

MLS members reported an 18.7 percent year-over-year increase in pending sales, with the volume of mutually accepted offers rising from 9,590 transactions to 11,384. For the four-county Puget Sound region members logged 8,671 pending sales to top the 8,000 mark for only the second time in the past 16 years.

Closed sales and prices also accelerated, according to Northwest MLS statistics. Across the 23 counties covered by the report there were 7,696 closed sales. That total represents a 24.3 percent increase from the year-ago volume of 6,190 closings. Within the four county region, Pierce County experienced a jump of nearly 38 percent in closed sales compared to a year ago, followed by Snohomish County with a 35 percent increase, prompting one MLS director to comment, “That is super amazing.”

“We are still very clearly in the midst of a seller’s market and unless we see a significant increase in listings, it will remain that way for the foreseeable future,” remarked OB Jacobi, president of Windermere Real Estate. Jacobi and other brokers reiterated the dire need for listings.

Members added 11,495 new listings to inventory during April, but brisk sales kept supply tight and well below the level of a year ago. At the end of April, the MLS reported 18,132 listings of single family homes and condominiums in its database, a drop of more than 15 percent from the year-ago total of 21,390.

Compared to March, inventory at the end of April improved by 6.6 percent, but pending sales jumped 13.7 percent from the previous month.

“We’re in desperate need of inventory so I hope to see an increase in listings as we move further into the late spring/early summer,” stated Jacobi.

Northwest MLS figures show less than 2.4 months of supply at the end of April, down from the March figure of 2.5 months and down from a year ago when there was about 3.5 months of supply. Inventory is especially tight in King County, with 1.3 months of supply, and Snohomish County, with about 1.5 months. Many industry analysts use a range of four-to-six months as an indicator of a balanced market.

Prices on last month’s closed sales were up 12.4 percent. The median price for April’s sales of single family homes and condos was $309,000, which compares to the year-ago price of $275,000. For single family homes only (excluding condos), the median price rose from $287,500 to $320,000 for a gain of 11.3 percent. Condo prices jumped nearly 13.8 percent system-wide.

In King County, where homes fetch the highest prices, the median price of last month’s sales of single family homes was $480,000. That reflects a gain of 11.5 percent from the year ago price of $430,500. King County condo prices increased about 8.8 percent from a year ago, rising from $250,000 to $272,000.

“What’s available and that looks at least ‘pretty good’ is selling,” according to MLS director Dick Beeson, principal managing broker at RE/MAX Professionals in Tacoma. Commenting on the latest MLS statistics, he said, “What we have in the Greater Puget Sound real estate market is too many buyers chasing too few homes.”

Beeson cautioned buyers against “playing games” with sellers. “The new normal for buyers is that the quest for the perfect home may have to wait,” suggested Beeson. “You should buy now, get in the mix, buy a home and build equity for a future decision,” he advised. “Don’t wait to pay more for the same home next year.”

Brokers do not appear to be worried about a housing bubble.

“Some are talking about the potential for another housing bubble given the lack of homes for sale and the bullishness of buyers in bidding up properties,” acknowledged Jacobi. “For now,” he said, “I believe there are sufficient safeguards in place to keep this from happening.”

Anderson agreed. “With pending home sales in Thurston County at record levels I am often asked if we are repeating the problems the last run-up caused,” he stated, adding, “There are two important differences in this market. There is not the overbuilding we saw before, and the buyers are truly qualified for today’s mortgages. Both facts suggest we won’t have a problem with the oversupply that contributed to the recent downturn. This time the market improvement is built on solid footings.”

Northwest Multiple Listing Service, owned by its member real estate firms, is the largest full-service MLS in the Northwest. Its membership includes more than 23,000 real estate brokers. The organization, based in Kirkland, Wash., currently serves 23 counties in Washington state.

VITEK Mortgage Group Expands into Washington

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VITEK Mortgage BellevueVITEK Mortgage Group has announced their expansion into Washington. Their new team and office are located in Bellevue, WA at 10900 NE 8th Street Suite #110.  This new VITEK location will be the first of many to come in Washington, as they anticipate opening more offices in the near future.

The seasoned professionals of the new VITEK Bellevue team are aligned with our core principals of value, integrity, teamwork, excellence and knowledge.  Beyond their dedication to helping homebuyers achieve their dream of home ownership, they will be focused on truly serving the community.

VITEK President, Harry Duncan, says, “Our roots run deep in our love for Washington.  We spent a lot of time with family in the Seattle area while growing up.  Our mother was born, raised and graduated as a Huskey”.

We are excited for this time of growth and look forward to serving the Washington community.

About VITEK Mortgage Group

VITEK Mortgage Group has been in business for 27 years and is dedicated to opening doors to better lives.  They are licensed to originate loans throughout all of California and Washington and specialize in government, conventional, Jumbo, and down payment assistance home loans.  As a mortgage banker VITEK processes, underwrites and funds home loans in-house.  VITEK Mortgage Group is an Equal Housing Opportunity lender. NMLS # 37408 · Washington: Consumer Loan Company License # CL-37408. · California: Licensed by the Department of Business Oversight under the California Residential Mortgage Lending Act.

Frenzied Local Home Market Frustrating Home Buyers

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Buyer anxiety is rising as the pace of home sales is faster than brokers are able to replenish inventory, according to members of Northwest Multiple Listing Service. Figures just released for March show 11,408 pending sales during the month while only 10,505 sellers listed their homes for sale during the same period.

The market imbalance is played out with rising prices, an acute shortage of listings — particularly in areas close to job centers — and bidding wars.

The volume of new listings (10,505) added during the month increased 9.4 percent compared to a year ago, but fell short of satisfying demand in many areas. At month end, inventory in the MLS service area that encompasses 23 counties was down almost 14 percent, dropping from 19,736 listings to 17,007. Twelve counties reported double-digit declines from this time a year ago.

Measured by months of supply, there is about 2.5 months of inventory area-wide. In King County there is slightly more than 1.3 months of supply and in Snohomish County supply stands at just under 1.7 months.

Stiff competition is reflected in part by rising prices – but MLS officials emphasized sellers still need to be realistic.

Northwest MLS figures show prices on last month’s closed sales of single family homes and condos jumped more than 6.7 percent compared to the same month a year ago. The median price on last month’s closed sales area-wide was $292,500 which compares to the year ago figure of $274,000.

Home prices were considerably higher in San Juan and King counties. For the 26 completed sales in San Juan County during March, (one more than a year ago), the price jumped 25.5 percent, rising from $400,000 to $501,900. King County prices rose about 8.8 percent, increasing from $378,000 to $411,200.

Prices on single family homes (excluding condos) rose about 6.8 percent system-wide, increasing from a year-ago figure of $282,000 to $301,143. Within the four county Puget Sound region, Snohomish reported the sharpest hike at nearly 8 percent. The median sales price for a home in that county was $340,000 last month; twelve months ago it was $314,975. Buyers can expect to pay about 30 percent more in King County where a single family home that sold last month fetched a median price of $440,250.

MLS members logged 6,769 completed transactions of single family homes and condos during March to outgain the same period a year ago by 1,016 transactions for a 17.7 percent increase. Of that total, condos accounted for about 14 percent of the volume. The median price on last month’s condo sales was $240,000, which was about 9 percent higher than a year ago. In King County, the median sales price was $269,600.

Northwest Multiple Listing Service, owned by its member real estate firms, is the largest full-service MLS in the Northwest. Its membership includes more than 23,000 real estate brokers. The organization, based in Kirkland, Wash., currently serves 23 counties in Washington state.

11 Questions with Scott Cameron Co-Founder of Land Advisors Organization

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  1. Scott Cameron Co-Founder of Land Advisors OrganizationWhat was your first ‘job’?

My very first job was at a grocery store in my home town. I stocked shelves and bagged groceries when I was in high school.

  1. What did you do before you got started in real estate?

After I graduated from college, I worked for a division of US Steel Corporation outside of Philadelphia as a management trainee. This position involved learning a variety of skills and offered an introduction into sales. I learned a lot, including respect for those men and women working for years on graveyard shifts to support their families.

  1. How did you get started in real estate?

While I was working in the Mid Atlantic I played on flag football team. One of my teammates was in real estate development and he invited me to interview with East West Partners to sell new homes and lots in a master planned community in Richmond, Virginia. East West Partners then brought me to the Puget Sound where I dove into the real estate market as the marketing and sales director for a master planned community called Lakemont, which is a 468 lot community on Cougar Mountain.

  1. Why did you transition into selling land?

I sold lots to buyers and builders from the beginning of my real estate career, and transitioned to selling raw and entitled land when the opportunity arose in 1999.

  1. It seems like most of the desirable land has already been developed – where are the ‘spots’ in our market?

The areas that we expect to see substantial growth are core markets with easy proximity to the major arterials, such as the communities along 405 and I-5, especially in Pierce, North King and Snohomish counties. The most successful communities have a good school district with access to amenities such as shopping and entertainment. These are and will continue to be hot spots from a rental, multifamily and single family development perspective.

We also anticipate more development in Seattle’s urban core with the gentrification of blighted neighborhoods resulting in greater urban density.

  1. What kind of process do you use to find land to sell?

Our process is simple: a) know the market, b) maintain great relationships with builders, developers, private landowners and other brokers while sustaining an active presence with trusted advisors who represent families and trusts. We use electronic newsletters, events and social media to stay in touch with our constituents. Integrity and results generate business.

  1. How have the tools changed since you’ve been in the business?

Market research is a key differentiator in our business. Before the days of digital communication, we did a lot “windshield” and word-of-mouth market research that took a great deal time to do and substantial dependence on information owners. Now we have the benefit of easy access to any information we need with propriety subscriptions to specialized, in-depth market research.

  1. Have you had any mentors in your business career? Role models?

Yes, I’ve been blessed with the opportunity to have worked with many bright, entrepreneurial, hard-working and funny people from whom I have learned and borrowed traits from. One of the biggest was not taking myself altogether too seriously.

  1. What was the best piece of business advice that you’ve ever received?

Work smart. Work hard. Follow your heart and your passion.

  1. Have you read any good business or real estate books lately? Any you would like to recommend? Any other sources of information to share: blogs, podcasts, email lists, YouTube channels?

On the business side I tend to read books and articles, listen to podcasts and subscribe to emails that focus on building relationships and understanding people. Two of my favorites are StrengthFinder and the podcasts presented by Vistage, a CEO and business owner group that I am a member of.

  1. You are known for giving back to the community and supporting local non-profits, which ones are you most active with?

I’ve been actively involved in the Boys & Girls Club of Bellevue for years. I also support Augie’s Quest, which funds ALS research, and I participate in mission trips to build homes in Mexico with Esperanza International. Most recently I’ve dedicated time to a new chapter of HomeAid which is the non-profit arm of the National Association of Home Builders.

Bonus question: What is it like at Notre Dame on St Patrick’s Day?

Every day at Notre Dame was St. Patrick’s Day!

Scott Cameron is the Co-Founder of Land Advisors Organization.  Land Advisors Organization can also be found on Facebook and LinkedIn.

Early Spring Brings Bumper Crop of Homebuyers Who Face Inventory Drought

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Favorable weather and restored confidence are propelling home buying activity around Western Washington to the highest level in nearly a decade, according to Northwest Multiple Listing Service sources.

“The pent-up demand being unleashed has rocketed pending sales back to the levels of our record year in 2006,” said Ken Anderson, president/designated broker at Coldwell Banker Evergreen Olympic Realty in Tumwater. Buyers have come off the sidelines, the former MLS director commented, adding “At the same time, homes for sale are near a 10-year low.”

Northwest MLS figures show pending sales system-wide surged 18.7 percent in February compared to the same month a year ago, rising from 7,247 mutually accepted offers to 8,599. Twenty of the 23 counties in the service area reported double-digit increases in pending sales.

Those numbers might be even higher given the ample supply of buyers, but inventory is far from ample.

“Listings are flying off the shelf faster than allergy medicine in this early spring market,” quipped MLS director Frank Wilson, the branch managing broker at John L. Scott, Inc. Poulsbo.  He said the brisk activity is posing challenges for buyers. “They will probably make several offers before one is accepted and they just need to expect to be competing with others,” he cautioned.

Northwest MLS broker-members added more news listings to the database during February than 12 months ago (7,852 last month versus 7,234), but the higher sales volume kept inventory levels well below year-ago totals. The MLS reported 16,946 total active listings at month end. That compares to a total of 19,273 for the same month a year ago for a drop of about 12 percent.

John Deely, principal managing broker at Coldwell Banker Bain, also commented on the imbalanced market. “The early spring weather has brought a bumper crop of buyers to a market experiencing a drought of listings.” The MLS director said activity in Seattle continues to move “at the fastest pace in memory.”  It is not uncommon for weekend open houses to draw upwards of 100 group visits and bidding competitions, he reported.”Multiple offers rule the day, with many bids at 20 percent over well-priced properties around Greater Seattle.”

For the 4,761 sales of single family homes and condominiums that closed during February, the median price was $280,000.  That reflects a gain of about 6.5 percent from the year-ago sales price of $263,000. The volume of closed sales jumped about 13.5 percent from a year ago. Brokers reported 4,761 closed sales last month, which compares to 4,196 for the same month a year ago.


For single family homes, which accounted for 86 percent of all sales, the median price system-wide jumped about 7.4 percent, rising from $270,000 to $289,925.

A comparison of the four-county Puget Sound region shows single family homes in King County had the highest median price at $429,900 (up 6 percent from a year ago), followed by Snohomish County where February’s completed transactions commanded a median price of $330,00 for a year-over-year gain of nearly 4.8 percent. Kitsap’s median price was $238,903; in Pierce it was $233,000.

Condo prices increased 6.7 percent year-over-year, from $215,500 to $230,000. The total number of sales increased 6.7 percent.

“February was a very robust month,” observed Gary O’Leyar, a past chairman of the Northwest MLS board. “If there is any real estate market slowdown, we’re not seeing it,” he said, suggesting doubters look at King County’s Eastside corridor for new or newer high end homes in the $900,000-plus price range.

Northwest MLS figures show 68 homes sold for $900,000-plus in its Eastside segment during the first two months of 2015, outgaining the same period a year ago when brokers sold 36 such homes. “Be prepared to get in line to get into the new home pipeline,” O’Leyar advised.

The market for waterfront homes also appears to be gaining momentum.

“This is the year for waterfront homes in Kitsap,” reported Frank Wilson, noting they have been the last to recover price wise. “Values for waterfront homes were pretty flat in 2014 and they should start appreciating in 2015,” he said. “In the future, buyers will say ‘I wish I would have bought a waterfront home back when they were affordable.’ Today they are affordable.”

“Undeniably, our unusual spring-like weather has not only fueled and jump started an early allergy season, but the market as well,” suggested Diedre Haines, Coldwell Banker Bain’s principal managing broker for South Snohomish County. Characterizing the market as “exceedingly active,” she noted garden shops, home improvement stores, furniture stores and other retailers that sell home-related items are also experiencing high levels of activity.

Dick Beeson, the principal managing broker at RE/MAX Professionals in Tacoma and a member of the Northwest MLS board of directors, believes the market is adjusting to scarce inventory and the abundance in the buyer population in the form of multiple offers and frustrated buyers and sellers. “But buyers will not be dissuaded,” he believes, in part because they anticipate hikes in interest rates. “Sellers are frustrated because they can’t find replacement homes. Some won’t list their homes because of fear of not finding a suitable replacement,” Beeson believes. “This cycle will work its way out as spring brings more inventory, hopefully, and sellers give in and say they trust there will be a home for them somewhere,” Beeson stated.

Like Beeson, brokers around the Northwest MLS service area are clamoring for listings:

  • “Hopefully, more potential sellers will seize this market window of opportunity as a good time to sell before the regional real estate market does finally start to level out and take a breath; which it will eventually.” — Gary O’Leyar, Berkshire Hathaway HomeService Signature Properties.
  • “We desperately need inventory. Potential sellers of all shapes, sizes, price ranges and locations should be contacting their brokers and jumping off the proverbial fence.” — Diedre Haines, Coldwell Banker Bain.
  • “Sellers haven’t experienced a market this favorable since those frothy days (of 10 years ago). With home prices now consistently on the rise, savvy sellers looking to trade up know this is the time to make that move.”  — Ken Anderson, Coldwell Banker Evergreen Olympic Realty.

Northwest Multiple Listing Service, owned by its member real estate firms, is the largest full-service MLS in the Northwest. Its membership includes more than 23,000 real estate brokers. The organization, based in Kirkland, Wash., currently serves 23 counties in Washington state.

The End of Houses in Bellevue Below $500k?

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Is it possible that we have seen the end of houses in Bellevue priced at less than $500k?  This was the Bellevue Homes Report that I posted at A New Day Real Estate early this morning:


Bellevue Homes Report A New Day Real EstateIn the past couple of days, there has been 20 new single family residences in Bellevue listed for sale on the NWMLS used by local real estate professionals to market and sell properties.  This is good news and a short trend of increasing home inventory that I would like to see continue for awhile.  These 20 newly listed Bellevue homes range in price from $542k to $1,999,995, with the average asking price at $889,336 and median asking price of $775k.

While 20 new SFR were listed, 6 were sold (closings) and 6 others went ‘Pending’ or ‘Pending Inspection’.   The sales that closed ranged in price from $466,200 to $972,526, with an average sales price of $755,621.

Out of the 111 Bellevue ‘houses’ on the market, there are currently only 6 listings that are priced at less than $500k.  Four of those properties are townhomes and come with HOA fees and I don’t consider them houses – they are really condos in disguise.  One of the two Bellevue houses that are priced at less than half a million dollars is in the Renton school district, which is not as desirable as the highly rated Bellevue School District.  That leaves only one house in Bellevue, in the Bellevue School District that is priced less than $500k.  Could this be the last house in Bellevue priced under half a million?

Probably not, but …. prices are going up, inventory is still low and demand seems to be getting stronger.  Even neighborhoods in Bellevue that in the past might have seemed less desirable are now in high demand and homes in good condition are fetching top prices.

I’d love to hear your opinion, will this be the last house in Bellevue priced under half a million?

Half of Condos For Sale in Bellevue at Washington Square

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According to a post this morning on A New Day Real Estate’s Bellevue Condo Report, half of the condos listed for sale in Bellevue are located at Washington Square in downtown Bellevue.

Although there are 140 condo properties in Bellevue listed for sale, a few of them are at 55+ communities and one of them is a boat slip in Newport Shores.  Listings at Washington Square account for 69 other properties, leaving the remainder condo inventory in Bellevue at super low levels.



Low Rental Inventory, Strong Rents Good Signs for Landlords in Bellevue

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A New Day Real Estate Bellevue WashingtonToday on the Bellevue Rental Report at A New Day Real Estate, I talk about the lack of properties in Bellevue being offered for lease on the NWMLS.

Low rental inventory and very strong and increasing rents makes it a good time to be a landlord in Bellevue.  If you are considering renting your investment property and would like some information about A New Day Real Estate’s property management services, please let me know.