Autumn is here and we have the drizzle to prove it! I understand that this isn’t a universal opinion, but I am quite pleased to have the return of the chilly damp that is Seattle at its best. (Watch it get sunny and shoot up to the 80’s this weekend just to spite me.)
MyNorthwest has a slightly fluffy article about how apartment building trends in Seattle are preventing condo building. Or maybe it’s about how difficulties around condo development in Settle are causing that problem. It’s a little light on actual content, but does capture the very warranted feeling that there’s a gaping hole where the entry-level housing market ought to be. Useful if you’re looking to capture the flavor of the current market and aren’t fussed about details.
Less fluffy and more interesting, this article from HousingViews takes a look at the effect of the tax Vancouver instituted on non-resident foreign buyers in 2016. News of the tax was received in some quarters with the assumption that those buyers would leave Vancouver and come to Seattle. From the data presented in that article, it looks to me like they stayed in Vancouver, they just stopped paying as much on the houses to be there. (Price growth slowed, but transaction rates didn’t.)
If you’re more interested in the infrastructure we already have, Curbed did a ranking of Seattle neighborhoods to find the ones that make car-free life the easiest. They look at transit access, walkability, and bikability. It’s a handy guide, especially if you’re interested in details about upcoming transit shifts for some of the neighborhoods discussed.
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.
Bertha is on track to finish tunneling this week. I’m not going to lie, Bertha completing her project is going to feel like the end of an era to me. I might have to do an honorary reading the The Little Engine that Could in her honor when she makes it through.
Everybody knows Seattle is growing. We’ve got a number for how much. Adding around 1000 people per week is a little daunting to think about, especially when I start wondering where to put them. No wonder inventory is so low.
All of that probably explains why Seattle prices are setting records for all time highs. Now is a good time to sell, not just because you’ll get a good price, but because please, pretty please, we need the inventory 🙂
Next week, we’ll see whether Bertha made it!
Maps and stats are the theme for this week. First up is this mapping project designed to give walking directions that make sense from the pedestrian’s perspective.
FEMA has issued updated flood maps that put 800 more properties in flood zones. If own or are looking in Pierce county, you might want to check whether you’re affected by the changes.
The road to funding the 2040 transportation budget is nearly there. At least, it looks like it’s there enough to get started. (Which is great, because otherwise it might turn into the 2050 plan.) And it’s definitely needed since commute times everywhere, including the Eastside, are growing.
There is a lot of interesting analysis for stat wonks to pry open in this writeup from the Seattle Bubble. Particularly interesting is the breakdown on where current market growth is happening and comparisons to prior markets that saw similar growth patterns.