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Monday, October 31, 2005

Seattle Residents Fleeing To Ellensburg?

Okay, so that title was a bit overdramatic. But that's the job of a "reporter" right? Heh. Anyway, about 100 miles east of Seattle on I-90, the Ellensburg area is experiencing its own real estate boom, with new homes popping up at a record pace:

Building permits issued for new homes in Kittitas County outside city limits hit an all-time high of 286 in 2004, an increase over the 235 issued in 2003.

The 2004 record level was reached and exceeded on or about Oct. 19, according to Darryl Piercy, director of Kittitas County Community Development Services.

"It's definitely a continuation of the trend we've seen in the last few years," Piercy said. "This area is tremendously attractive if you live in the Puget Sound area where your faced with traffic congestion, a large population and crime."
I'm not familiar enough with real estate lingo to know whether 286 permits means 286 homes, or 286 projects (which could each be multi-home), so I'm not sure how big a number we're really talking about here, but it's apparently enough to get noticed frequently by the locals. Speaking of locals, it seems that quite a few of the new homes aren't going to be inhabited by them:
Piercy estimated 20 to 25 percent of new homes are second or vacation homes.

Bob Hansen, a 31-year veteran in real estate, said if the nation's economy doesn't change dramatically, the boom trend could continue through 2006, at least.
He said a Seattle resident looking to retire in the Kittitas Valley can sell their $300,000 to $400,000 home and come here, buy acreage in the country and build a new home. The demand is high for three- to five-acre rural lots.

"They want to get out of the mess over there," Hansen said. "It's the lifestyle they are after."
Or is it the relatively cheap land that they think will appreciate considerably in the coming years? When I hear "second or vacation home" lately, that tends to be translated in my head as "investment home." Good thing a "dramatic" change in the nation's economy is so unlikely. Right?

(Mike Johnston, Ellensburg Daily Record, 10.22.2005)


Anonymous said...

great blog. keep us update. specifically watch the eastside. Most new houses in Redmond, Kirkland have cut prices in the last mth.

Anonymous said...

unbelievable, fleeing to ellensburg? Reminds of the stories five years ago of people commuting from Cle Elum to Seattle. It takes just one winter of trying to go over the passes on a daily basis to change that attitude..

Anonymous said...

BTW, there is a house in my neighborhood, Ballard/Greenwood that listed originally at $555,000 and has dropped ( in $25K increments) to $499,000 the past month and a half. BWAHAHAHAHA!