Another area has approved the MHA upzone plan. The first portions of the Central District, focusing primarily near 23rd St. and Jackson. This is part of the city-wide plan to create areas where developers can take advantage of increased zoning limits in exchange for contributing to the affordable housing stock in the city. The University District and portions of downtown have already been through the process, and the rest of the city will go through it between now and the end of the year.
Case-Shiller numbers for March are out and it’s more of the same. I’m waiting on the numbers for June (I’m still dancing about inventory going up), but we have a little to wait for those still.
In objectively cheerful news, the Fremont Solstice parade is safe for another year. This is relevant since it was in danger due to a lack of real estate; specifically, they couldn’t find anywhere to affordably store their floats. Seattle City Light saved the day. It’s a summer miracle!
In light of the news about increased inventory in June, this article from Redfin about national market trends is interesting. That change wasn’t seen nationally. Given that the rate of growth and inventory depletion we’ve seen has diverged from the national trends (by being faster) that isn’t necessarily surprising. Seattle gets a special call-out for market competitiveness. We’re tied with Denver and Portland for shortest median time on the market at 7 days.
Dovetailing with news about market competitiveness is this report on the growth of poverty in high-density neighborhoods. The article goes into detail about the differences between trends in Seattle as compared to national trends. The insights are likely to be useful to anybody following the upzoning and MHA (Mandatory Housing Affordability) programs in progress across the city.
Mostly unrelated to anything else, there’s a report out tracking how much time people spend in Seattle looking for parking. It’s not pretty. But we already knew that.
The NWMLS numbers are out, and the exciting news from last week was real. Inventory in June really truly did go up. Now, let’s all cross our fingers for a a repeat performance in July.
Data from the large rental listing sites on July rent changes in the area is out, and Curbed has handily compiled it here. Most of the numbers are comparing median one-bedroom rent listing prices to the same for July of 2016, and saw increases from 4-6%, but one of the sites actually reported a decrease of 17%. Because nothing is every quite as straightforward as you might hope.
Speaking of straightforward, the city of Seattle has passed an income tax on high-earners, to be implement in income earned beginning January of 2018, collected in April of 2019. The tax is intended to, in part, lower the burden of property taxes, which is good news for a lot of people. Rules around the tax are still in development and should be released in November.
Here’s a headline I’ve been hoping to see forever: preliminary numbers for June indicate that inventory is up! Anecdotally, that seems to fit what I’ve been seeing – it has been marginally easier for me to find active comps on properties than what I’ve been accustomed to, so I expect that uptick will survive any corrections as the numbers firm up. In the mean time, I’m going to chalk this up as a 4th of July miracle and pretend the fireworks yesterday were all about this.
Indications of an increase in inventory isn’t the only big news out in the last week, though. It looks like Redfin is preparing to go public, which has industry wonks in an excited tizzy. The Seattle market is, of course, deep in Redfin’s home turf, so the opportunity to peek under their hood provided by preparations for an IPO is great fun. I’m most interested in seeing what they’re going to fund with that sudden injection of capital. Whatever Redfin is doing, it’s usually worth paying attention to. They both have a deep knowledge of how the industry actually works, and how to competently do tech in the industry, which is an exceedingly rare combination. This will be water cooler fodder for a while to come.
Any other week, the imminent arrival of not one, but several bike share options would have taken the top news slot. This is not that week, but it’s still exciting news. I’m looking forward to the battle of the bikeshares, though I’m likely to sit out active participation in favor of quality time with my trusty cycle.