One of the nation’s most expensive housing markets is the focus of a new plan that would encourage new construction focused on affordability
One of the nation’s most expensive housing markets is the focus of a new plan that would encourage new construction focused on affordability.
According to a Seattle Times report, Mayor Tim Burgess has previewed a plan that was first begun by his predecessor Ed Murray. Under this endeavor, the city would give the greenlight for denser construction and taller buildings in 27 so-called urban villages, which are neighborhood nodes designated since the 1990s to accommodate the majority of Seattle’s expansion. The mayor’s plan would also rewrite zoning mandates in the urban villages to allow a wider variety of housing options, such as cottages, row homes and small apartment buildings. The proposal also includes zoning changes with requirements for developers to build low-income housing as part of their projects or pay fees to finance municipal efforts to create affordable housing elsewhere.
“There is a housing crisis in our city,” Burgess said in a press conference. “I don’t know anyone who disagrees with the desire to create more affordable housing.”
The introduction of the plan is one of Burgess’ last major policy announcements. Jenny Durkan, who was elected mayor on Tuesday, will be sworn in Nov. 28. Burgess said Durkan supported the plan.

The latest “Emerging Trends in Real Estate” study put out annually by PwC and the Urban Land Institute is predicting that Seattle will be the hottest real estate market in 2018
The latest “Emerging Trends in Real Estate” study put out annually by PwC and the Urban Land Institute is predicting that Seattle will be the hottest real estate market in 2018.
The new study is based on a survey of 1,600 property owners, developers, investors, lenders and real estate industry professionals. Seattle, which placed fourth in last year’s report, was cited for its fast-growing population and a youthful, educated workforce, coupled with a high quality of life environment. However, the report noted that the housing market could be less challenging, as the city ranked 10th in homebuilding prospects for the coming year.
The other top markets ranked in the survey as among the hottest for 2018 are Austin, Salt Lake City, Raleigh-Durham, Dallas-Fort Worth, Fort Lauderdale, Fla., Los Angeles, San Jose, Nashville and Boston. However, the report warned that income inequality could pose significant challenges to all real estate sectors and the wider economy.
“If a so-called black swan is out there, it could be less in overheating than in unraveling,” the report said. “The long-term strength of the U.S. economy has been in the stability and growth in middle incomes. Upward mobility in both the blue-collar and white-collar sectors has fueled housing demand, consumer spending, and even office sector growth … The three-decade-long exacerbation of income inequality, wage stagnation, and regional economic disparities threatens the breadth of the demand drivers across the economy, and for real estate as well.” 

WAMP CAMP 2017, The Un-Conference for Real Estate & Mortgage Professionals, will be held Wednesday, Aug. 9 at the Seattle Center Armory Loft Meeting Rooms (formerly the Seattle Center House), 305 Harrison Street, 2nd Floor in Seattle.
At WAMP CAMP, each meeting room will include a professional Coach/Facilitator.  YOU and all other attendees will choose the topics you want to discuss. Those topics with the most votes will be designated a room and a time ... with the exception of the ALL-STAR room, which will feature four back to back nationally renowned speakers with specific topics (we’ll be announcing these later). We’ll post the “YOU Choose” Topics & Meeting times LIVE at the event (so folks can register and choose right up until the event starts). You can sample many topics in any given hour, or stay in one discussion that’s of particular interest.
Click here for more information and to register or call WAMP at (206) 484-6442.

Evergreen Home Loans has announced that it was named the “Best Large Company to Work For,” and one of the “100 Best Companies to Work For,” in Washington State by Seattle Business Magazine
Evergreen Home Loans has announced that it was named the “Best Large Company to Work For,” and one of the “100 Best Companies to Work For,” in Washington State by Seattle Business Magazine.
The designation was announced at an awards dinner hosted by Seattle Business at the Washington State Convention Center in Seattle. The companies on the list were selected based on employee feedback through extensive confidential surveys. This year marks four straight designations to the Best Companies to Work For list for Evergreen Home Loans.
“We recently celebrated our 30-year anniversary at Evergreen Home Loans, so it’s very special for us to add the designation as the best large company to work for in Washington state to this historic year for the company,” said Don Burton, President of Evergreen Home Loans. “At Evergreen, we empower our associates to know they have the runway to succeed and grow. Helping people find home and helping our associates feel highly valued are equally important to us. We believe that collective acts of kindness make this a great place to work and an even greater place for our customers to find home financing.”
Evergreen Home Loans began with five employees in West Seattle in 1987 and has grown to more than 758 associates at 56 locations, serving seven states.

WMBA Presents the 2017 Mortgage Bankers Golf Classic, Wednesday, July 12 at the Washington National Golf Club, 14330 SE Husky Way in Auburn, Wash.
Click here for more information, call (206) 622-8425 or e-mail wmba@qwestoffice.net.

WMBA's Auction & Dinner Meeting will be held Friday, May 19 at the Woodmark Hotel & Still Spa, 1200 Carillon Point in Kirkland, Wash. This will be a “Brazilian Carnaval” themed evening to raise money for the WMBA and Attain Housing. It’ll be a fun-filled evening with dinner, cocktails, carnival games, live auction and a paddle raise for Attain House.
Click here for more information, call (206) 622 8425 or e-mail wmba@qwestoffice.net.

The Washington Mortgage Bankers Association Past Presidents Night will be held Tuesday, April 18 at the Woodmark Hotel, 1200 Carillon Point in Kirkland, Wash. Past Presidents Night is when WMBA takes the time to honor the association’s past presidents and their many contributions to their long-standing success.
WMBA is excited to welcome Mike Flood of the Seattle Seahawks. Mike is the VP of Community Relations and will be sharing some of the awesome work the Seahawks do for our community. He’ll also be sharing various business and marketing opportunities the organization is affiliated with and how we can potentially partner with individually or with our respective companies.
In addition, WMBA just received confirmation that Seahawk’s legend, Jordan Babineaux will be joining them! WMBA will be donating $500 to Jordan’s charity of choice for his attendance.
Click here for more information or call (206) 622-8425 or e-mail wmba@qwestoffice.net.

The 2017 NW Mortgage Expo & Real Estate Summit will be held Friday, September 22 at the MOTIF Seattle Hotel, 1415 5th Avenue in Seattle.
For more information, call (206) 484-6442 or click here for complete details
Tony Blodgett is the regional vice president for the Northwest at New American Funding and president of the Washington Mortgage Bankers Association (WMBA). National Mortgage Professional Magazine recently spoke with Tony about his work with his state’s mortgage trade group.
When did you first get involved with Washington Mortgage Bankers Association? What was the path that led you to a leadership role within WMBA?
WMBA is a fairly new organization. I was a member of the Seattle Mortgage Bankers Association for the past 20 years. Through networking and attending events and talking to people in leadership positions, I let them know that I was interested in being more involved in the organization. This led me to being on the board. This was about five years ago. Soon after, our treasurer resigned and we needed someone to fill that position. I was nominated, which got me into an executive leadership role.
There was a unique situation that same year–the merger of the Seattle Mortgage Bankers Association and the Washington Mortgage Lenders Association. When the organizations merged, I was asked to remain as treasurer for a second year. From there, I became vice president and then president. My term as president began in September of 2016 and runs for a year.
Why should members of your state’s mortgage profession join WMBA?
There are a number of benefits that someone gets from being a member of WMBA. There are networking aspects–where you can gain knowledge from other lenders. We are a statewide organization that has a full-time lobbyist and good communication with the legislative community. Companies that join us have a voice and can be part of influencing change.
How is WMBA involved in shaping legislative issues, at both the state and federal levels?
We have our chairman of the board focusing exclusively on legislative initiatives related to our industry. We work very closely with our local legislators. Each year, we participate in a Legislative Day, where we go to Olympia and meet with important legislators who work with the mortgage and banking industries. We also have good relations with the Washington State Department of Financial Institutions.
At the federal level, a number of us represent the association at the Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) National Advocacy Conference where we meet with federal legislators in Washington, D.C.
What has been your most significant accomplishment within the association?
Supervising the merger between the Seattle Mortgage Bankers Association and the Washington Mortgage Lenders Association required a lot of support from both organizations. It took a lot of effort to get those groups aligned, and we grew even stronger from the mortgage professionals in Washington State.
What is the synergy between WMBA and the national MBA?
Part of what we did in the merger was to become a member of the national Mortgage Bankers Association. That offered an additional benefit to our members and it gives us very close communications with the national MBA. We work pretty closely with them on anything happening with our local legislators. We may not always agree 100 percent, but we try to work with the MBA in representing the same positions on a national level, as well as a local level.
In your professional opinion, what can be done to bring more young people into mortgage careers?
There are not a lot of young people coming into the industry. What could help would be if more companies had programs in place to bring in entry-level people. It is difficult to get a job in mortgage banking, because the typical company wants people with experience, especially on the sales side. It is also difficult for people to earn a living while learning the business. That could be helped by a program where we bring on junior mortgage originators and maybe salaried positions to come in and learn the business.
What is the housing market like currently in the state of Washington?
We have a very strong housing market, led by good strong employment and growth. The challenge is a lack of inventory. It is harder to find a home and that drives home values up due to the lack of supply in the market.
Also, we are something of a seasonal market. The listings of homes are typically lower through the winter months, and then increases in the spring and summer months.
Phil Hall is managing editor of National Mortgage Professional Magazine. He may be reached by e-mail at PhilH@NMPMediaCorp.com.