Seattle Bubble has moved! Redirecting...

You should be automatically redirected. If not, visit update your bookmarks.

Off-topic comment? Interesting link?
Head over to the forums, or click here for open threads.

Monday, February 27, 2006

Looking Into Downtown's Future

Is downtown Seattle destined to become populated with nothing but luxury condos and low-income housing? If taxes and fees for building downtown keep going up, some see that as Seattle's future.

As the Seattle City Council prepares to vote on reshaping downtown Seattle with taller buildings, a heated debate remains over how much residential developers should pay to maintain affordable housing downtown.

Builders who want to profit from taller skyscrapers would contribute to a fund used to create housing affordable for $11-an-hour workers such as Allen and other low-income residents.

Business interests, neighborhood groups and even some low-income housing builders worry that if the city imposes fees that are too high, it could frustrate goals to concentrate new residents downtown.

Additional expenses for affordable housing, environmentally friendly buildings and underground parking could disproportionately hurt developers trying to build less lucrative apartments or condos aimed at the middle class, some argue.

"It guarantees downtown will have only luxury or subsidized housing, which ... will not make a healthy neighborhood," said Kate Joncas, executive director of the Downtown Seattle Association.
Certainly if the appreciation of the last five years were to continue, and the City Council imposed more and more fees, that would seem to be a likely outcome. Of course, appreciation isn't likely to continue this break-neck pace, so a two-caste system seems rather unlikely. Come to think of it, I seem to have heard this argument somewhere else...

(Jennifer Langston, Seattle P-I, 02.23.2006)

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Mobile Homes Disappearing In Seattle's Bubble

While most home "owners" are nothing less than thrilled about skyrocketing real estate prices, mobile home owners are having the land sold out from under them as land owners cash in on Seattle's bubble.

Our state is facing a mobile home space crisis. Exploding real estate prices are making the land too valuable for this moderate-to-low income way of life.

According to state figures, 115 parks have closed in Washington since 1989.

In the past year, nine parks have sold or are up for sale in the Puget Sound area, where land prices have risen the most.

Six hundred twenty one families in our area now must find another place to move their mobile homes, 167 in King County alone.
I guess it's not really surprising, as all sorts of low-cost residential options have been replaced with sardine subdivisions and chicly condos.

(Wayne Havrelly, KIRO 7, 02.21.2006)

Renting "May" Be Better Even In Olympia

Here's an insightful headline from The Olympian: Renting may be better for first-time buyers. Yes, that's "may be better." Heh.

Is it better to rent than to own, particularly as the median price of a home in Thurston County keeps climbing and now approaches $250,000?

Renting offers the advantage of flexibility and a landlord who will take care of repairs; home ownership brings the reward of increased equity and a tax write-off.

But as the difference between the average cost to rent and a typical mortgage payment widens, some experts say renting could be a better option for prospective first-time buyers.
Taylor, a former Ohio resident who lived in Tacoma for four years and has spent a year in Olympia, describes the prospect of West Coast property ownership as "nightmarish."

Property values are "grossly inflated," homeowners' insurance has become more expensive, and lots are getting smaller, he said.

"I wouldn't be able to sneeze without offending my neighbor," said Taylor, 38, who works as a shipping and receiving clerk for Office Depot in Kent.
You don't say.

(Rolf Boone, The Olympian, 02.19.2006)

Monday, February 20, 2006

Everett Condo Buyers Anxious To Spend

Readers of this blog know that up-and-coming condos in Bellevue will cost $400k for 700ft², but what about up in Snohomish County? Well, your $400,000 won't go much further, netting you a mere extra 100ft², and hopeful residents of Everett's fancy new waterfront condos aren't batting an eye.

But last week, Olsen said the condominiums would begin at about $400,000 for the smallest floor plan of 800 square feet. Larger floor plans of about 2,000 square feet, which Olsen said would be the most sought after, will run between $600,000 and $800,000.

For some on the waiting list, the cost of a waterfront home is virtually never too high.

"I intend to spend about $1 million," Everett resident Ron Spelhaug said. "I'm ready; I'll do it tomorrow."
There's a saying that comes to mind... something about more money than sense... More power to you, I guess.

(Krista J. Kapralos, Everett Herald, 02.19.2006)

More Mortgage Co. Shrinkage

Another local mortgage firm has been shrinking lately. Mortgage Investment Lending Associates, Inc.'s staff has shrunk by roughly 17% since January.

Rising mortgage rates and the slowing housing market nationwide have caught up with Mortgage Investment Lending Associates Inc., which has reigned as one of the region's fastest-growing companies.

Better known simply as MILA, the wholesale mortgage lender has reduced its work force by about 120 people since Jan. 1.
The lending company now employs about 600 people, according to company estimates.
So much for that "fastest-growing" title, I guess. Maybe they should think about getting into the foreclosure business.

(Eric Fetters, Everett Herald, 02.15.2006)

Friday, February 17, 2006

San Francisco A Warning To Seattle

Here's a good one to chew on. Is Seattle's housing market poised to become as ridiculous and unlivable as San Francisco? Could be...

The ripples of San Francisco's housing crisis don't stop at the city limits. When the working poor — receptionists, day care providers, retail salespeople and housekeepers, for example — flee the city, pressure increases on them and their employers. Commutes extend time away from both the job and home. Cities lose middle- and lower-wage earners, decreasing not just economic diversity but sometimes racial diversity as well, census figures show.

In San Francisco's case, those effects extend more than 800 miles north to Seattle, where city officials use San Francisco's housing data as both a grim forecast and scared-straight therapy session.

"We all know we don't want to have a housing unaffordability situation as San Francisco does," said Adrienne Quinn, director of the city of Seattle's Office of Housing. "We don't want to become that."

But it is the direction Seattle is headed. Rents in the eastern Puget Sound region have risen 35 percent over the past 10 years, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. In Seattle alone the jump is closer to 40 percent — compared with 50 percent over the same period in San Francisco.
Well we can't have it both ways, people. Housing prices shooting up and up can't be both good and bad at the same time. Either it's good because all you homeowners out there are essentially making money from nothing, or it's bad because fewer and fewer people can afford to live. Whoever wrote this article though definitely seems to believe the latter. Here's a grim prediction:
"The housing situation here in San Francisco is this: If you are making less than $100,000, housing is not affordable. It's in crisis. It's not available for working class, lower class. The number of evictions is skyrocketing. ...

"It's almost as if two parallel cities are happening. The very poor (and) the very rich. What you see in (San Francisco) you will see in Seattle. It's clashing social strata."
I would like to know why people that are that hard off don't do whatever they can to move to a cheaper place. If the city I lived in became completely unaffordable to me, I would use any means necessary to move to a place I could afford. Anyway, also worth mentioning is Stefan Sharkansky's take on this article over at Sound Politics:
Oddly, the article does not contain the two most important words for understanding San Francisco's unusually high housing prices: RENT CONTROL. ... Both forms of rent control offer perverse incentives for a dweller to remain in their current home longer they would otherwise. Thus the supply of available housing is artificially suppressed, thereby raising prices for anybody who is seeking housing. Seattle would do well to learn from this experience and in general to think about the consequences of obstructing a free market in its quest to make housing more affordable (to some).
So what do you think? Is Seattle heading toward the unpleasant situation found in San Francisco? How does rent control factor into the situation? Will San Francisco and Seattle's housing markets ever pop? Will I ever stop asking stupid questions and just go to bed?

Well I know the answer to at least one of those questions—the last one—and the answer is yes.

(Mike Lewis, Seattle P-I, 02.16.2006)

Housing Affordable... Or Maybe Not

The Washington Center for Real Estate Research at Washington State University recently released a study on housing affordability across our State, and the results were decidedly unsurprising. The Tacoma News-Tribune reports on the study in the classic "good news / bad news" style:

Pierce County scored 104 on WSU’s Housing Affordability Index, where 100 is the break-even point and higher scores mean buyers have more than enough income to buy a home. A score of 104 means a typical family has 104 percent of the income needed to buy an average home – 4 percent more than required.

In contrast, King County’s affordability score is 80.1, meaning the typical family there earns only about 80 percent of the income needed to own an average home. King County’s median home price – the midpoint of all sales – is $390,000.
Bear in mind, that's the good news—that the "typical" family in King County has 80 percent of the required income to buy a home. Then we get to the bad news:
“More troublesome is the inability to find affordable starter homes,” said Glenn Crellin, the research center’s director.

For the entire state, the first-time buyer affordability index for the fourth quarter stood at 55.8 percent, meaning those buyers on average have about half the needed income to buy a lower-priced home. The typical first-time buyer could afford the typical starter home in only three counties, all in Eastern Washington.
So basically, if you have a home already, you can sell it and cash in on its outrageous "value," therefore making another similarly inflated house "affordable." But if you're like me, and you don't have an overpriced asset lying around to help you out, you're pretty much out of luck. Like I said, what a decidedly unsurprising finding.

(Jack Keith, Tacoma News-Tribune, 02.16.2006)

Update: There's another slightly more in depth story over at the Seattle P-I.
Despite rising prices, higher mortgage rates, declining affordability and fears that a "housing bubble" may be about to burst, the number of homes sold in Washington continued to rise in the final quarter of last year, the Washington Center for Real Estate Research at Washington State University reported Wednesday.

But cold weather and high energy costs slowed the rate of growth to 2.9 percent in the final quarter, compared to the final quarter of 2004, the center said.
(Nicholas K. Geranios, Seattle P-I, 02.15.2006)

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Seattle-Based WaMu Shrinks As Housing Cools

Although cooling in the housing market may not have reached Seattle just yet, some of its effects are being felt here:

Responding to the cooling housing market, Washington Mutual Inc., the largest U.S. savings and loan, said on Wednesday that it was laying off 2,500 support employees in its mortgage unit.

The Seattle, Washington-based company said it was also reducing the number of mortgage processing offices to 16 from 26 and sending some of the work to "lower cost domestic and offshore locations."
I don't think this would be a good time to be in the mortgage or realty business, as far as job security is concerned.

(Wire Service, Reuters, 02.15.2006)
(Associated Press, via Forbes, 02.15.2006)

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Follow-Up: State RE Spending Passes House

A few weeks ago, you may recall, a bill was being proposed in the state legislator to spend away much of the state revenue gained thanks to the real estate boom. Yesterday that bill passed the House.

OLYMPIA — The House approved a $100 million expansion of the state's housing program Saturday.

The proposal would pump $25 million into the Housing Trust Fund from the state treasury each year for the next four years.

The money would go for rental vouchers for low-income people, services to the homeless, housing for victims of domestic violence, weatherization projects, farmworker housing and development of affordable housing.

"The increasing gap between incomes and housing prices has led to a major housing crisis in our state," said Rep. Larry Springer, D-Kirkland, the prime sponsor.

"Much of the additional state revenue we have seen this past year is directly linked to the real-estate boom. It only makes sense that we reinvest this money to offset the high price of housing."
Actually, it only makes sense to me to save the money for the proverbial rainy day, when the bubble finally bursts. But hey, that's only one of many reasons I'm not a politician.

(David Ammons, Seattle Times, 02.12.2006)

Condo Fees Scaring Off Builders

More downtown condo drama rises to the headlines... in Olympia. It's pretty much the usual debate... cities want more condos, builders want lower fees, cities want more condos and more fees.

OLYMPIA — A developer planning to build 100 condominiums downtown says city, school and development fees are too high and could kill the project.

Jim Potter of Seattle said he faces fees that could top out at $7,000 per condo unit, or $700,000 for the five-story project, envisioned for a parking lot on Columbia Street between Fourth and Fifth avenues.

City officials have made new downtown housing a top priority, and Potter's condo project is considered critical to boosting downtown's vitality.

"The big issue remaining is we have these impact fees," Potter said. "We can't make the project work at $7,000 a unit."
Some cities, such as Renton, offer the option of waiving impact fees as an incentive to attract housing developments to targeted downtown areas.

"We knew attracting condos to downtown could be a tough sell without some sort of (financial) incentive," said Alex Pietsch, Renton city administrator. The incentive has lured two condo projects, totalling [sic] about 87 units, he said.
Of course the builder is motivated by higher profits, not some altruistic desire to keep the cost of housing lower. Perhaps they're thinking ahead, knowing that while $7,000 extra tacked onto the price might not be enough to scare off buyers right now, it may well be by the time the project is finished.

(Jim Szymanski, Katherine Tam, & Rolf Boone, The Olympian, 02.10.2006)

Dumpy 'Hoods & "Risky" Plots = Cheap!

Two local architects take a look at ways to reduce the costs of new home development, and suggest a number of interesting methods.

[Columnist Larry] Cheek takes the $380,000 median-price figure for a house in King County, which includes new and existing stock, and wants that to be a model for all new single-family construction in Seattle. In order to even begin to approach that price goal for a new house, some strategies have to be used to bring costs down.

One method is to look for the ways to obtain land more cheaply, including building in less popular ("up and coming") neighborhoods, looking at riskier sites (with steep slopes) and buying smaller than standard, but still buildable lots.

Another is to find ways to build more cheaply, including reducing the square footage, minimizing (or eliminating) the garage, building more than one house on a lot, eliminating underused rooms, designing an efficient plan, etc.
Gotta love the euphemism "up and coming" for "just plain dumpy." If those are the only options, I think I'll just continue to rent, thank you.

(Jim Burton & Tim Rhodes, Seattle P-I, 02.08.2006)

Housing Vs. Wages In Snohomish County

Here's an article that goes into some detail on the subject of how much faster than wages housing prices have been rising, specifically in Snohomish County.

The rapid rate of increase the last two years has raised eyebrows in the industry, Hokanson said. "Any time we get into double digits, we're a little bit concerned."

The housing price increases have started to outpace the earning power of Snohomish County residents. The average Snohomish County household's income, according to federal statistics, grew by only 1.8 percent in 2004, the most recent year for which figures were available.

Between 2000 and 2004, average household income grew by 11.7 percent, to about $39,200 from $35,100. But over the same period, median housing prices jumped 28.3 percent, meaning the average family lost ground.
Nothing really new in there that I haven't been saying already, but since it's on-topic, it's always worth mentioning.

(Bryan Corliss, Everett Herald, 02.05.2006)

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Zillow-rific... Or Something

Yeah I know, I'm way behind the curve on this one (that's what I get for starting a new job), but it doesn't really directly relate to a bubble, other than perhaps being an interesting way to watch things go down. Anyway, as you surely know by now, the much-hyped, formerly super-mysterious, is now live.

After more than a year of keeping tight wraps on his heavily funded startup, former Expedia Chief Executive Rich Barton today will disclose how his 75-person company,, plans to transform the multibillion-dollar real estate business.

The idea: Place a real-time value on homes throughout the country.

"We think you shouldn't need a computer science degree or a real estate license to find out what a home is worth," said Barton, who hopes to do in real estate what he already accomplished in online travel.

With an assessment known as a Zestimate, takes into consideration historical property information, square footage, number of bedrooms, neighboring homes and other factors to determine estimated values of 42 million of the 85 million residences in the United States. It then overlays that information on aerial and satellite maps, so home shoppers from Miami to Seattle can get a better idea of the market value of homes in those cities.
That is to say, those are all things you could do, if you are lucky enough to be able to, you know, actually access the site. I guess all that hype paid off in a bigger way than they were prepared to handle, because as soon as they announced their arrival the server was brought to its knees.
Stories about the startup online real estate service in major U.S. newspapers -- including The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times and Los Angeles Times -- helped swamp Zillow's servers throughout the morning and early afternoon. By 7 a.m. Wednesday, the company had already served up more then 300,000 pages. By 4:30 p.m., the total had surpassed 2 million.

"It is certainly a number higher than we thought," spokeswoman Amy Bohutinsky said.

She said the newly launched Web site experienced "some capacity issues" because people lingered on the site longer and requested more pages than the company had planned. As an example, Bohutinsky said she heard from a friend who was viewing the home values of everyone on her Christmas-card list.
And thanks to Zillow's failure to adhere to Boy Scout standards, this is all of Zillow that I can personally try out for myself:
Our apologies

Due to overwhelming demand, some people are getting access to our beta site and some are not. We are working hard to make room for everyone.
Be patient... we know it’s tempting, but please don't frequently refresh your browser. Instead, come back later.
A few of my coworkers were trying out the site and for one of them their house and others all around their neighborhood were "Zestimated" at hundreds of thousands less than they were sold for just months previously (though it's arguable that perhaps Zillow was more correct than they know...). For the other, Zillow had incorrect information about the size of his house, even listing it as a one-story when it is in fact two-story.

I guess you can color me unimpressed.

(John Cook, Seattle P-I, 02.08.2006)
(John Cook, Seattle P-I, 02.09.2006)

Foreclosures On The Rise In King County

I generally dislike giving any attention to self-advertisements (a.k.a. "press releases") on here, but I thought that a bit of info contained in this horn-tooting by Default Research was worth mentioning:

Foreclosures increased by 2.04 percent in January in King County, according to Default Research..."
2.04% might not be really a big enough number to be a sign of things to come, but it's at least worth a short post.

(PR News Release, PRNewswire, 02.08.2006)

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Plentiful Parking To Blame For Seattle's Bubble?

Here's an interesting tidbit from a mostly unrelated article (about getting people out of cars) in today's Seattle P-I:

Last March, Mayor Greg Nickels announced plans to reduce the number of parking spaces housing developers will need to provide in the Capitol Hill, First Hill, Pike-Pine and University District neighborhoods. The city's Department of Planning and Development now wants to eliminate the required minimum altogether for both housing and commercial developments for those neighborhoods and around light-rail stations.

Not only will the initiative reduce the cost of housing, planners say, but it may encourage transit ridership.
Ah hah! So the key to drive housing prices down in Seattle is to eliminate parking. Hmm. So, if I'm understanding the "logic" correctly, the plan here is to reduce—possibly all the way to zero—the number of parking spaces in new neighborhoods, thus causing potential residents to be unable to drive anywhere, thus causing people to not want to live there, which drives down housing costs for that neighborhood, and consequently drives down surrounding housing costs.

It's genius!

(Jane Hadley, Seattle P-I, 02.08.2006)

Buyers Not Buying Thanks To... Football?

It's that time of the month again, when the MLS numbers from the previous month hit the streets and all our beloved local papers rush to press with nearly-identical stories "analyzing" said numbers. The Times, P-I, News-Tribune, Herald, King County Journal, The Olympian, and yea verily even the Puget Sound Business Journal all piped in today with their own stories, and they all sounded pretty much the same. For the sake of brevity, I'll just present you with some quotes from the Seattle Times' take on January's home sales figures:

Those wondering if our real-estate market is tanking — the so-called bubble bursting — will have much to chew on with the latest home sales numbers: They show a Puget Sound area market that's slowing and speeding up.

King County's pending sales were down 6.22 percent in January compared with a year earlier, the Northwest Multiple Listing Service (MLS) reported Tuesday. Pending sales dipped 1.78 percent in Pierce County.
It's the long-term trend that counts. And long term, the local market is expected to moderate but generally head up, Scott [as in John L. Scott Real Estate] and others say, because of limited housing supply and increased demand fueled by job growth.

January's middling market may be a reflection of noneconomic events, the MLS said.

Last month was Seattle's third wettest on record, and its 11.65 inches of rain may have put a damper on house-hunting.

The Seahawks' climb to the NFC championship and Super Bowl XL also likely played a factor, Scott said.

"Now that we're through the worst of the weather and the Super Bowl has passed, February and March are expected to see a surge of buyers and subsequent sales," Scott said. "February and March are statistically the most productive months of the year on a daily basis."
We're blaming a slowdown in home sales on the Seahawks—the Seahawks. Wow. If that doesn't cry out "grasping at straws," I don't know what does. Take from the numbers what you will, but I really doubt that a football game or three is going to influence any significant percentage of the population in their home purchasing decisions.

(Elizabeth Rhodes, Seattle Times, 02.08.2006)
(Reporter Name, Source, 02.08.2006)
(Dan Richman, Seattle P-I, 02.08.2006)
(Barbara Clements, Tacoma News Tribune, 02.08.2006)
(Mike Benbow, Everett Herald, 02.08.2006)
(Clayton Park, King County Journal, 02.08.2006)
(Rolf Boone, The Olympian, 02.07.2006)
(Puget Sound Business Journal, 02.08.2006)

Sunday, February 05, 2006

"Office Condos" Coming To Seattle?

With the real estate craze that we've been living through these past few years, I'm surprised someone hasn't come along with this idea sooner—selling office space rather than renting it.

When businesses are looking for space, they usually either lease it or buy a building. But two local developers are backing a different idea: the office condominium.

Office condo buildings are rare in the Seattle area, but changing economic conditions may make them increasingly popular.

Partners Paul Etsekson and Stanley Piha plan to buy the five-story Third and Lenora Building in Belltown for $3.3 million, spend $1.5 million more on improvements, then sell each 6,000- square-foot floor for between $2.23 million and $2.4 million.
"But if you want to be in the real estate market right now, you're going to have to do some different things. Our thought is this will catch hold, and we want to cookie-cut it, get a reputation as a quality provider."

The plan's rarity is making it harder for the partners to finance their purchase. Etsekson said lenders "have found difficulty in understanding this market, how to find comps," or comparable buildings by which to assess the purchase's value
Does this model have the ability to gain traction in a flattening or declining real estate market? Perhaps that sort of question is also causing potential financial backers to be more cautious with this "different" plan.

(Dan Richman, Seattle P-I, 02.02.2006)

Vulcan Plans Affordable Housing

Well, it seems that even if you're the seventh-richest man on Earth your money can't buy you a well-officiated Super Bowl. But can it make a dent in downtown Seattle's affordability for the working class? Paul Allen's Vulcan, Inc. intends to at least try.

Vulcan Inc. unveiled plans Monday to build affordable housing in South Lake Union that's aimed at allowing teachers, laboratory technicians and health care workers to live closer to their jobs in the burgeoning area.

Later this year, the Paul Allen-owned company will break ground on a 53-unit apartment complex for such lower-income workers — not the poor, but those making 80 percent of King County's median annual income, or roughly $43,000 for one person.

Once it's completed in 2008, the 33,000-square-foot building will become another pocket of relatively affordable housing in a city that has struggled at times to maintain its working-class housing stock as real estate values have soared.
Of course, if there is a bubble in Seattle, by 2008 it may well have popped. But they still get a gold star for at least trying to make a difference.

(Paul Nyhan, Seattle P-I, 02.02.2006)

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Affordable Housing Just 3 Hours Away

Good news everyone! Affordable housing can be found with just a short three hour drive east of Seattle! Grant County sports housing that is truly affordable, in fact the "most affordable" of all the counties listed by NWMLS.

Thanks to what a real estate research director calls surprisingly low median home prices, the county tops the Northwest Multiple Listing Service in housing affordability.

"The prices are lower than in many parts of the state, even though the incomes are fairly average," explained Glenn Crellin, director of the Washington Center for Real Estate Research at Washington State University.

Third quarter data — the most recent information accessible for the center, indicated a median sales price in Grant County of $119, 800, and a median family income of $44,918, Crellin added.
Given that the county is home to Moses Lake (think major aerospace player), but not much else, that doesn't come as much of a surprise. The B keeps wages up, and the lack of anything interesting keeps housing prices down. Makes sense.

(Matthew Weaver, Columbia Basin Herald, 02.01.2006)

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

King County: Prices Up, Wages Down

Thanks to the reader that pointed out the story on CNN regarding the recently released statistics on wages.

Real wages are not exactly going through the roof.

For the 24-month period through the second quarter of 2005, the inflation-adjusted wages of an average American grew just 1 percent or so, according to statistics reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

Despite overall sluggish wage growth, there are still areas of strength; the majority of the 316 largest counties in the United States — those with employee rolls of 75,000 or more — reported average wage increases that outpaced inflation for the 24 months ended June 30, 2005, the latest county data available from the BLS. Forty four of the counties had real wage growth of 3 percent or more during the period.
CountyState2003 Wages2005 WagesNominal ChangeReal Change
Yes that's right, of the 309 counties for which both 2003 and 2005 data is available, our very own King County ranked #308—second from last. In case you were wondering, the median price of a house in King County shot up 27% during that same period.

Update: I added the other counties from Washington state to the table above to give additional context. As you can see, none of the counties in the greater Puget Sound area have been performing particularly well in the wage growth department, although none have been performing nearly as dismally as King. Yay for us.

(Les Christie,, 01.30.2006)

Comic Relief From Sumner

It would be a bit of a stretch to try to relate this directly to a housing bubble, but I found it amusing enough to at least warrant a mention here. It's a story about a subdivision that was intelligently placed directly underneath a high powered radio antenna.

Sumner homeowners living close to a radio station antenna have suffered through years of inconvenience because electronic interference disrupts their appliances.

Who knows how much longer it'll bother them, now that the city has indefinitely postponed making a deal with a religious music radio station.

Everyone acknowledges that KZIZ's nearby antenna complex is causing the interference. But the 120-foot-high structure and its underground component were installed long before the 103-home subdivision was built.

"It's a pain," said homeowner Mark Hawley, who lives in Creekside Estates. "We always wondered why the city allowed (the housing development) in the footprint of the antenna"
Still, the homes have increased in value, said Ness, a real estate agent.

He said he purchased his 2,400-square-foot home for nearly $200,000. He plans to move to the Kent area and expects to sell his Sumner home for much more than he paid.
Those poor, poor homeowners. Having to put up with years of intrusive electronic interference, and then selling their homes for a tidy profit. I really pity them. Wait, no I don't.

(Rob Tucker, Tacoma News Tribune, 01.30.2006)