This is a big week for market reports. Top of it is Abodo’s report on the state of the millennial market. Unsurprisingly, it shows that home ownership for millennials is down compared to historical trends. More interesting is that it traces this trend back ten years to well before millennials entered the market. It also has a good breakdown of how long millennials have to save in order to have a down payment for the median priced home. (Hint: It’s a long time.) The data seems to show that if people want more millennials in the market, wage increases and competitive low downpayment programs would probably go further than blaming avocado toast.
That news dovetails nicely (?) with the Case-Shiller numbers for April, showing that Seattle prices are up 12.9% year over year. That’s over 2% faster than the national rate of growth, and according to the data, the fastest growth in the country. Median prices are up, inventory is still down, and there’s not really much sign of this changing.
At least renters in Seattle are about to get some help with keeping their voter registration up to date.
This week’s news is all about MHA. MHA is the Mandatory Housing Affordability program that’s part of a city-wide rezoning project to increase density while requiring developers who take advantage of the new zoning to contribute to Seattle’s supply of affordable housing either by including units in their development project, or paying an equivalent fee into a city fund to do the same. Reviews of the zoning changes have been going on neighborhood by neighborhood over the last year, with East Lake, Downtown, and the University District already getting easy approval. Things slowed down a bit when the Council began looking at the International District and Central areas.
Related, the draft Environmental Impact Study on different strategies for implementing zoning changes has been released and the public comment period is open on it. Earlier today I attended (the first?) public presentation of the findings, which focused on comparing to different MHA approaches to projections where no MHA programs take effect. One of the strategies focused on a neighborhood’s displacement risk and it’s accessibility to opportunity in making its decisions. While both programs have very similar net effects across the city, the differences at the neighborhood level are stark. If you’d like to get a look at the reports, data, and places for you to leave your official comments (which will be answered in the final report) this is the page for you to watch. I’ll probably be talking about this more as the process continues since this is going to have a huge impact on the local housing market.
Everybody knows the first three rules of real estate are location, location, location. This story gives you a pretty good idea of why. A mining company is having to pay to move a town out of the risk zone created by its mine, and it’s expected to cost around one billion (not a typo) dollars. It really is easier to move house than to move a house.
The Seattle Bubble has the breakdown on the preliminary stats from May. The big takeaways are that inventory was up month over month, but down year over year. May being up over April is to be expected – we should see that continue through August and a taper in September or October – but I am perennially hoping for inventory to be up year over year, too. Or at least to be the same. Inventory, please! We needs it.
Rent price stats are out, too, and Curbed Seattle has a good breakdown of them. The headline takeaway is that median rent prices are up year over year, but that’s not what’s most interesting about this article. Read past the headline for a breakdown on where the data is coming from and how it’s calculated. There are meaningful differences in methodology across sites that means you’re going to have a preference for one over another depending on why you’re looking at rental prices.
A very long saga involving redevelopment of Key Arena took a significant step forward today with the Oak View Group getting selected for the project. They’ve already had additional partners sign up in the relatively short time since the official announcement. Queen Anne and the city at large are going to be watching the progress of this project pretty closely, especially since it’s being touted as one with low risk to public funds.
Redfin, the owners of WalkScore, has released its list of the 10 most walkable cities, and Seattle ranks as number 8. Our current walk score is 73.1, up 0.2 points from last year. Walkability across the board is increasing, and the article goes into depth on trends and specific areas that have shifted.
The Count Us In report for 2017 has been released. This is a more scientific, thorough analysis that was implemented this year to replace the previous one night count conducted in previous years in January. The new report gives a much more comprehensive view of the homeless population in the city and its surrounding areas and has a wealth of good information for anybody interested in this and related issues.
Also out is Zumper’s spring map for median one-bedroom rental prices, broken down by neighborhood. Rental prices don’t perfectly match to sale prices, but this is a good reference for demographic breakdowns of the city and is particularly useful for anybody looking at investment property.
The are-we, aren’t-we question of a housing bubble question remains very present with the latest Case-Shiller numbers with the March data come out. As always, the Seattle Bubble has a great analysis for you to take a look at and continue to chew this question over. It’s definitely starting to look like we’re a bit bubbly, though I’d like to see the numbers in the last graph adjusted for inflation and get a line for what reasonable growth (a percentage based on population growth) would look like.