Zillow released a report on the number of million dollar zip codes across the country and Seattle gets some attention. While the Bay area dominates the million dollar zip code range, Seattle gets special attention for doubling its number since the housing peak in 2007. Keep in mind that these numbers are being judged based on the Zestimate, which is a fraught metric.
Continuing with the spate of stories about the state of the local renter market, a new study using census data indicates that every generational group in Seattle has a significant portion of people who are overburdened by the rent. The report looked at the proportion of income spent in rent for three different age groups by people who rent instead of owning. While the different groups had very different rates of homeownership, they were all fairly similarly burdened by their rent.
Related to the theme of Seattle’s growth from the last several weeks, Seatac is growing, too. The south terminal has been undersized for quite some time, and the new terminal is expected to double its capacity. The hope is that this will reduce delays and crowding in a way that significantly improves the Seatac experience. Hurray!
We have numbers for July. Inventory is up compared to June, down compared to July of last year. Not the good news I was hoping for, but better than it could be.
It’s trendy to complain about the traffic in Seattle, but I-5 had a particularly spectacular traffic event: an escaped pig went wandering up the highway. The big was rescued! And sent back to auction.
Everybody loves talking about millennials and the market. It looks like they’re putting down their avocado toast, skipping marriage, and buying homes to give their dogs more space. This actually seems practical to me. (Not the toast part. I’m not putting that down.) Then again, I’m a millennial.
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!
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.
The news this week is all about renting. Seattle is one of the few places in the country where the current median rent wouldn’t cover the mortgage on the median priced home according to a study from Zillow. Most of the time in most places, median rents and mortgage payments are commensurate, or the rents are higher. The Seattle market just keeps finding new ways to stay special. That doesn’t mean that buying can’t be the right choice for somebody renting in the current market, but it does mean the current market is challenging, and there may need to be reasons other than strictly budgetary ones at play to make renting a good choice for a buyer.
Which makes the timing of this article from Curbed Seattle on the best neighborhoods in the area to rent in fortuitously timed. They have several different categories based on your main priority in your neighborhood, and include a category for the best burb to rent in. Even if you’re stalwart in your property ownership, it’s a handy article just to see how your neighborhood stacks up from a renter’s-eye-view.
The burbs category in the Curbed article is especially handy in light of this article from rentcafe.com blog breaking down the growth rates for renters in 20 metropolitan cities and comparing it to the rates of growth in the suburbs. In most cases, including Seattle, the burbs are adding renters faster than their urban centers. That’s particularly surprising given the stereotype of people renting in the city, but moving to the burbs when they buy. Market norms and trends a generation from now probably aren’t going to look much like they traditionally did before the housing crisis, and this is a striking example of where those differences are going to come from.
It’s going to be hard to top Thunder snow for big stories in the last week. I have to take personal responsibility for that one – I’d just finished mentioning to a client how I’d gotten lucky and only been out during dry weather when the sky opened up to start dropping ice. I’ve learned my lesson. I highly recommend checking out the video footage of lightning hitting the Space Needle, though.
With today kicking off a new month, next week will probably be chock full of market data. Come back for that!
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.
Lots of fun things to take a gander at over the last week.
My favorite is this article about the new Pac-Man street park in Capitol Hill. It’s just a few blocks from where I keep my main desk, so I’ve been appreciating it since its installation.
Finding out that Seattle (actually, the greater Seattle Metro area) is ranked as the 6th best place to live in the U.S. is pretty great news, too.
The Seattle Bubble stat report for December‘s data is out and it confirms what we already know: inventory is even lower, prices are still going up, and that looks likely to be the case for some time.