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.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:
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."
Piercy estimated 20 to 25 percent of new homes are second or vacation homes.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?
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."
(Mike Johnston, Ellensburg Daily Record, 10.22.2005)