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Thursday, August 03, 2006

Rents Climbing In 2006

It would appear that rents in the Seattle area really are going up, though still at nowhere near the same rate of alleged home appreciation.

Snohomish County's apartment market is feeling the squeeze, with the second-quarter vacancy rate dropping from 5.6 percent in the first quarter to 4.6 percent, according to apartment research firm Cain Inc.

The Seattle-based firm attributes the healthy rental market to continued job growth, inmigration and housing costs.

"The widening housing affordability issue caused by higher interest rates and surging home values is making renting the only housing option for more and more people," the company said in its quarterly report. "Yet, since the rental market has been flat for the past five years or so, renting is attractive and affordable to many."
While Snohomish County's vacancy rate of 4.6 percent bettered King County's 4.8 percent, King County enjoyed a dramatic decrease in concessions, from $18 to $9. Snohomish County's declined from $12 to $9. At this rate, overall concessions should disappear by the end of the year, according to Cain.
Throughout Snohomish and King counties, a total of 223 newly constructed units were added to the inventory during the second quarter of the year. At the same time, however, 401 units were removed from the inventory through condo conversions in Everett, Kirkland, Issaquah, Seattle and Federal Way.
"We anticipate that the 2 percent quarterly increase in rent levels that we have experienced this year will continue through the remainder of the year," according to Cain.
With interest rates on the rise, and year-on-year home appreciation still in the double digits, renting still looks like a much better deal to me. I've been reading anecdotal tales of commenters here of rent increases anywhere between 4% and 10% in their latest lease renewals. In Monday's open thread Peter Taylor made the following comment:
Housing isn't affordable in King County, period. Renting is getting more expensive and home prices are bordering on insanity. Personally, I'll wait it out a while longer but if there's no change in the next year or so I'll be pulling up stakes and finding a job and a home in a more affordable area of the continent. Maybe even another continent.

Seattle's quality of life isn't so great that I'd pay outrageously to live here. There are those that will, however, and I have no intention of competing with them to see who the bigger fool is.
I wonder how many people in the Seattle area feel the same way. I wouldn't say I'm quite to that point yet, but if the affordability level of Seattle continues to get worse, I can easily see getting there. Why pay luxury prices for slightly above-average goods?

P.S. (For those of you keeping score at home, five out of the fourteen paragraphs in the linked article end with the same phrase: "according to Cain." That's a 35.7% "according to Cain" usage rate, according to Cain.)

(SCBJ Staff, Snohomish County Business Journal, 08.01.2006)
Please read the rules before posting a comment.


jo said...

I really thought that my husband and I were the only ones who thought that Seattle did not offer enough for us to want to pay through the nose for a house.

Don't get me wrong--I like living here. I just don't want to pay "major metropolitan" prices for a home when I'm not getting the benefits from living in a major metropolitan area (diversity, nightlife, culture, etc)

meshugy said...

I'm not getting the benefits from living in a major metropolitan area (diversity, nightlife, culture, etc)

I guess it depends what you're into...I'm a jazz musician and I love it here. Seattle has more musicians per capita then most of the big cities. Countless pros have moved hear from NY, so the standards are very high here. The same goes for many other musical styles (folk, trad. Irish, Balkan, classical, Brazilian, Cuban, Frican, etc.) In fact, Seattle is so well known for having a vibrant world music scene, it was the only place in N.America that Peter Gabriel brought his huge WOMAD (World of Music and Dance) festival to.

There are really some amazing musicians here...Martin Hayes, considered the worlds best Irish fiddler, lives in Wallingford. Jovino Santos Neto, a Brazillian music legend, also lives here.

Again, it depends on what you're into. But it's hard to say Seattle is low on has 10 times as much as most cities it's size.

Lake Hills Renter said...

I live here for the scenic beauty. I spend my free time away from the city, in the mountains and forest, rather than in it. I live and work on the Eastside, and only make it into Seattle proper a handful of times a year. There's just nothing there for me. I'd rather be at Rainier than downtown. I'm seriously considering moving to the outskirts like Preston or Fall City when I buy, in part because the prices are more reasonable for a single income buyer, but mostly because I prefer to live in the couttry, where I have more land and more quiet.

Peckhammer said...

A freind of mine who moved to NYC in the '80s said, if you get hooked up for housing, NYC is a great place to live. IOW, if you can get into an afforable housing situation, you can actually take advantage of what the city has to offer.

I took that lesson to heart, and did just that when I moved from Boston to Seattle. My monthly housing costs are about $150 plus 1/2 of the utilities. This greatly enhances my ability to enjoy what is available in Seattle and the surrounding area, and it takes the pressure off of having to work. I could literally work for minimum wage and not sacrifice much in my current standard of living or worry about losing my housing.

However, if I had to pay $3000 - $4000 a month in housing, plus all the extras that go with it, I would move somewhere less expensive.

Seattle *is* a great place to live. Even though I am not taking advantage of all it has to offer, having those things available greatly enhance the vibe a city has. That counter-balances some of the expense here, and the incredible siesmic risks -- after all, I can't think of a more dangerous place to live in the contiguous USA.

Pollyanna said...

I agree with meshugy that it depends what you're into. I've visited many US cities, but I've only lived in New York, Denver and San Diego (well, Spokane too, but that really doesn't count). While I LOVE SD's weather, the downtown was a real disappointment. We won't even talk about Denver. Ugh. New York was great for what it is--a big, metropolitan city.

I love the arts scene in Seattle. We have great museums, theater and music. We don't have hurricanes, tornados or extremes of hot or cold. Yes, we have earthquakes, but nothing like CA. Seattle is green in December; not so in SD or Denver.

My husband and I love to kayak and Seattle is a fantastic place to do it. There are so many lakes, rivers and, of course, Puget Sound that we are never without somewhere to go. And, as LHR said, we have the mountains and miles of trails. The best part for us is that any of these activities are a short car trip away. Yes, skiing in CO is better, but it takes a lot longer to get to.

We work in Seattle and live on the Eastside. The bus system is convenient for us.

No city is perfect, but that's why the more desirable ones are more expensive. I don't care how cheap the houses are in Fargo, I wouldn't want to live there.

I know this is just a limited, personal view, but it's my $.02.

jcricket said...

No city is perfect, but that's why the more desirable ones are more expensive. I don't care how cheap the houses are in Fargo, I wouldn't want to live there.

I'm with you on this. I've lived in Philly, New York, NJ, Washington DC and Seattle.

NY is the best, but I'd have to make double what I make now to really feel like I could enjoy it (without living an hour outside the city).

Seattle's got a lot going for it, even if the passive-aggressive pseudo-relaxed poseurs do get to me sometimes. I miss the straightforwardness of the east coast. It's definitely not perfect.

But I'm not moving to Bend (which isn't even that cheap) or Omaha, because it's cheaper to live there.

Peckhammer said...

Yes, we have earthquakes, but nothing like CA.

You are deluding yourself. Southern California has never had an earthquake as large as they get up here. The Cascadia Subduction Zone produces magnitude 9.0 quakes, sustained for 3 or more minutes. All 700 miles of the fault moves at once. Average occurance is every 300 years. The last occurance was 305 years ago.

Peter Taylor said...

Don't get me wrong, I do enjoy living in Seattle. However, my point is that no matter how much I like it here, I'm not prepared to spend half of my net income on housing and the other half on commuting to and from work. There really is more to life than being a wage slave chained to one's desk to pay for one's home.

At some point the cost/benefit no longer adds up no matter how nice the scenery.

meshugy said...

I'm not prepared to spend half of my net income on housing and the other half on commuting to and from work.

Not sure how much you make...but I think there are still plenty of homes in the Seattle area that are affordable. You just have to make some compromises:

1) Smaller House

2) Less prestigious neighborhood

This is true in any urban cities grow, the prestigious inner city areas become more and more valuable. Most people have to make compromises. I lived in Amsterdam for a year...even a person with a very high income can only afford a very small apartment. Almost no one in The Netherlands has a detached house...

Ironically, those of you familiar with Schiller's work know that he used the Herengracht in Amsterdam as an example of how housing doesn't appreciate in real terms. But that doesn't change the fact that living in a prestigious inner city has been, and always will be expensive. I lived two canals away (on the Prisengracht), and I can tell you that if you live on the Herengracht you are one rich dude.

Anonymous said...

polyanna, why do you hate Denver so much? I lived there for six years, and found it to have a massively superior quality of life than this burg.

Sure, it's dry there (some of us prefer that to ten months of Chinese water torture), but it has weather (hot and cold), night life (you can eat after 10PM!), diversity (Seattle has both kinds of white people!), and about the same level of artistic culture as this town, without the puritannical streak that makes socialization here an exercise in futility (Seattle "bar time" == 1:15AM). Plus, it's gorgeous, with all of the usual outdoor amenities (hiking, biking, camping, kayaking, skiing, etc.) that Seattle residents think are unique to the pacific northwest.

You do have to avoid the Denver exurbs, but other than that, I don't see how there's any comparison. I would gladly pay Seattle prices to live there -- but fortunately, you don't have to, because housing is much cheaper.

richard said...

The Cain Report

Interesting that interest rates in the mid-high 6's have driven CAP rates for Seattle and the Eastside down to 5.3%.

Pollyanna said...

Anon 10:58-

I never said I hated Denver, it's just not the place for us.

Our biggest issue: IT HAS NO WATER! I used to LMAO at the 22'+ boats in the Chatfield Res. What a joke. As I said in my previous post, we love the water, so Denver just didn't work. When it get in the 80s and above, there really isn't anywhere to go to cool down, unless you just wait for the 3pm downpour. Yes, skiing is great, but the travel time is too long and the ticket cost is too high (IMHO).

The place is constantly brown. There are no trees. (Have you looked at all the sprawl from an airplane?? Yes, Seattle has sprawal too, but it is camouflaged by all the beautiful trees.)

You can't compare the artistic culture of Denver to Seattle. Seattle blows Denver out of the water. The symphony there is a joke. Amateurs.

The downtown is a sad. The highlight is the theaters on 16th St. Oh, and all the souvenir shops.

We won't even talk about the absence of decent seafood. ;-)

I'll take your word for it that the Denver bar scene is better. I have no firsthand knowlege of that.

Like other's have said, it all depends on what you're into.

-- P

P.S. So what's the deal with housing there?? Yes, houses are cheaper, but Denver has the highest foreclosure rate in the nation!

plymster said...

According to the Seattle PI, the number of households in King County making more than $150K is 8.8%. According to, a household, making $150K/year, with a $120K down payment, and no debt can afford a $570K home.

59.7% of residents in King County own, according to King County.

This suggests that the guys who earn $150K, should be able to easily afford the top 14.7% (8.8%/59.7%) of all homes in the Seattle area. According to the MLS, asking price for the 75th percentile last month was $625K. The 84th percentile (where that $150K couple comes in) would undoubtably be more unaffordable.

These are all just estimates, but unless I'm way off here, the numbers bear out that local income on conventional loans are not driving home prices. I think we're all agreed that exotic loans (0-down, ARMs, etc) shouldn't be used for people at the fringes of affordability for the home.

So either millionaires are flocking to the region, buying up all the property and not making any money, or people are getting in over their heads and creating a bubble.

matt said...

Im just curious what's going to happen when the market gets flush again with condo-reconversions, and developers realize the bubble has finally burst.

There's a great article in the Baltimore Messenger today about an overzealous condo developers getting their deserved come-uppance.

I guess it doesn't pay to throw old ladies out on the street. It'll take some time for the same fate to befall the overly avarious here, but the barometer's definitely changing in California, or as I like to call it "The oxygen that feeds the Seeatle Bubble"

Boo un-abashed greedy condo developers! Hooray Beer!

plymster said...

Sorry, one of my references was mislabled as "", when the link is to the NYTimes. Sorry about that.

matt said...

Hahaha, not that you didn't need another reason to dive headfirst into a flipped condo/house purchase, here's another reason to second doubt your over-leveraged 'remodel'.

"Wow, I just don't understand why the my granite countertop slid off onto the floor. Wikipedia told me
exactly how to install them!"

Anonymous said...

We spend a lot of time here on the housing Blogs on just housing, However housing is greatly reflective of economics..

Why isnt there a LOT more time spent on company earnings and which companies are taking a hit as housing slows down.. THE DOMINO EFFECT.. Housing Dominos anyone?

For example sales at Wherehouser fell by 1/3 in the last year.. US Automakers SALES FALLING By roughly a third, some say its High Gasoline Prices however I think the housing ATM MACHINE has a great deal to do with this.

How about Insider Stock sales as % is matching the same insider sales percentages as 2000 at the current time frame??

AOL Just announced reducing workforce by 1/4 today with the next 6 months.

The Stock market is very stagnate at the moment.. Big money trades have almost no movement in buying positions in the markets. Couple of years ago there were buying in the late hours of trading. Most big money buys at the end of trading not early. Those big money trades have really lost steam.

How about Home Depot.. all these effects work into other areas which affect Jobs which affects housing costs or peoples affordability..

Seattle is just a part of the puzzle. US catches a cold and Seattle by any means isnt ammune.

How about 17% drop in same store sales from Starbucks.. Starbucks is only showing increased profit in expansion of stores this last Quarter.. while sales on average are Down.. whens the last time this happened to starbucks?

I see big ticket items and Luxuries as the first places taking a hit..
comeone someone have some better insight..
Lets focus also on how were going to profit not just on where the housing prices are going to go.

richard said...

I've seen more than a few (mostly single female) friends turn their homes and condos into fixer-uppers from botched "home improvement" jobs or just general neglect.

Not to single out the women specifically - but I know alot more women that own, so odds are higher.

jcricket said...

Post of the Day: diversity (Seattle has both kinds of white people!)

I was reading an article about the sale of the Sonics to Oklahoma businessmen, and they mentioned that Oklahoma has a larger minority population than Seattle (different minorities, but still).

Having grown up around DC I laugh heartily when I hear people talk about diversity here. Maybe they mean that the mountain bikers and rock climbers get along?

There's a great article in the Baltimore Messenger today about an overzealous condo developers getting their deserved come-uppance.

I'll be right there with you. I would never buy a conversion, and have little sympathy for developers that over-extend themselves. They have financial people working for them, so there's no excuse. I don't feel sorry for any speculators or flippers either.

I do feel for the people kicked out when their apartment gets converted, lower income borrowers who are going to end up with a property they can't afford (ARM reset, whatever) and anyone in the middle class who, even with a price drop, will likely remain unable to purchase a home near the biggest cities.

Unlike some here, I don't think most home buyers (evne ones with exotic mortgages) are fools or idiots. And I won't be happy to see them foreclosed.

jcricket said...

How about 17% drop in same store sales from Starbucks.. Starbucks is only showing increased profit in expansion of stores this last Quarter.. while sales on average are Down.. whens the last time this happened to starbucks?

This is not what happened. You have incorrectly reported what happened. While SBUX's quarterly results may have disappointed the street, their sales did not drop. Starbucks saw a decrease in the growth rate in same store sales. This may represent a deceleration, but there were no losses, and no downward revenue trends.

From The Associated Press Business Writer

Comparable-store sales for July grew at 4 percent, the lowest rate the company had seen since December 2001, down from 7 percent a year ago. Executives said they expect comparable-store sales to range from 3 percent to 7 percent for the remainder of fiscal 2006 and 2007.

And guess what, revenues and profits were still up.

Despite the operations issues, Seattle-based Starbucks said profits rose 16 percent.

For the 13 weeks ended July 2, Starbucks had net income of $145.5 million, or 18 cents per share, up from $125.5 million, or 16 cents a share, in the same period a year earlier. Revenue for the latest quarter increased to $1.96 billion, up from $1.6 billion last year.

I'm not arguing that there aren't some economic indicators of concern, but use those, don't make stuff up.

Eleua said...


I think you are onto something...

So either millionaires are flocking to the region, buying up all the property and not making any money, or people are getting in over their heads and creating a bubble.

I think it is both. OK, I know I don't really follow the King/Pierce/Snoho markets, but in my town, anywhere from 30-45% of the buyers are X-Cal equity refugees. That does not include X-Cals that move on island or from King County.

OK, so if 30-45% of your market is a market anomaly, and that anomaly were to vanish overnight, what would that do to the market? Keep in mind that X-Cals buy almost exclusively in the top half of the market, which translates to 60-90% of the top half of the market is comprised of people that could very easily get trapped in their 3 bedroom, OC, Brady-bunch, tri-level.

Part 2.

Yes, the X-Cals are causing the remainder of us to use suicide loans, just to keep pace. This explains why the PNW is very high on non-traditional loans.

So, if California inverts, and lenders even get a twinge of sobriety, you are looking at a market that can end overnight. One day, it could be great, and the next there could just be a complete dearth of buyers, all while sellers get motivation and religion.

While this is a rough analysis on the Bainbridge/Kitsap market, many of the same principles could apply to the urbanized counties.

The speed at which this market will turn will be breathtaking. Waiting for it to come is just torture.

Anonymous said...

re. "If CA. inverts.."

From todays Dataquick release:

"During 2nd quarter '06, Foreclosure activity in CA. soared by it's biggest margin since the numbers have been tracked (1992).

This was in response to diminishing price appreciation, an industry tracker said Wednesday.

Default notices are up 67.2% from one year ago."

the article's on todays ""

Re. "Rents Rising" : We've discussed this before but it bears repeating. Do not mildly accept an outrageous rental increase.

The media's been touting this rising rent thing for months. It's a perfect way for FB's to try to get out from under.

There are plenty of rentals in Seattle. Just tell them you're moving. That's worked in the past in Seattle for many individuals to keep rents reasonable or even provoked a CUT in rent.

So take care of yourself and don't fall for the hype.

The rising rentals at this stage of the game is just a big bluff.

Thre are a lot of desperate LL's out there right now. Don't pay for their bad financial decisions.

Anonymous said...

Anon 12:59:

Exactly. There are "for rent" signs EVERYWHERE, including on some condo buildings. The papers have been screeching for rent increases at the behest of their masters in the RE industry for months. Fortunately my landlord isn't a moron and knows better than to listen to them.

Lake Hills Renter said...

Re: diversity

You guys should try living in Dallas sometime. There's just the one type of white person. Nothing else. As far as Seattle goes, I run into a lot of diversity -- Japanese, Korean, Indian, Persian, etc. Even worked with a guy from Gambia for a while. Never had anything remotely like that in Texas.

Nolaguy said...

I guess it depends what you're into...I'm a jazz musician and I love it here. Seattle has more musicians per capita then most of the big cities.

I just moved here from New Orleans, and I can tell you that the Jazz scene there is MUCH better - even post-Katrina.

Seattle does get some good national acts at Jazz Alley and Triple door, but the local scene is mediocer, IMO.

It tells me something about the local scene when a bar-band from New Orleans that plays there every Monday for $7 can charge $22 when they play at Jazz Alley.

Of course, NOLA is the birthplace of jazz, so it's probably not a fair comparison. (If you started comparing murder rates and school quality, the scales would quickly tilt back to Seattle.)

Seattle is a nice town for many reasons. But it's not a metropolitan city. So IMO, it shouldn't have metro housing prices.

Anonymous said...

Meshugy being a musician explains his absolute lack of knowledge about all matters financial.

matt said...

The only place to see good live jazz is in the NYC... everything else is the jazz equivalent of a cover band.

Dukes said...

I am someone with a "like, but not love" relationship with Seattle.

I like it for its beauty, I dislike it for many, not all, of its people. Never have I met a group of people who are so inverse to others around them. It is almost painful for some people to talk to one another.

As an aside, I would choose San Diego over Seattle. I lived there for many years and found the area to be an excellent place to live without all the weird hang ups that people seem to have up here. Just my .02

Anonymous said...

I know everyone here thinks Seattle is insanely expensive for what you get, but when I moved here from California 3 years ago I was thrilled to be able to buy a nice 1 bedroom condo in Belltown for a little under $200K. Compare that to SF or NYC or even Boston or DC, and Seattle seems like a bargain. I'm certainly not saying Seattle offers as much as NYC in terms of big city living, but I think Seattle is a great place and getting better. I grew up in the NY area and I love big cities but for me SEattle was a perfect combination of mild weather, beautiful scenery, cool urban environment, and I could actually afford to buy an apartment! No, it's not Paris here...but people like that one poster who think Seattle offers none of the benefits of a city (culture, nightlife, diversity, etc.) must not get out much! I'm sorry if other people hate it here but really it's your problem, not Seattle's.

Dukes said...

Sorry, inverse, should be "averse". Thoughts and fingers not matching up this afternoon.

Nolaguy said...

That "seattle freeze" you get from people here is certainly real, IMO.

It sure isn't the southern hospitality I saw in New Orleans.

I've found New York to be more genunine than Seattle when it comes politeness and socializing.

There are really nice people, but there's also a good amount of "smug". (anyone ever see the "smug" episode of South Park?)

Back on Topic:

My lease just came up for renewel and my rent was NOT raised. It was a 6 month lease and I just renewed for a year.

blueskitten said...

"Meshugy being a musician explains his absolute lack of knowledge about all matters financial."

Cute, but inaccurate. I'm a classical musician and my day job is in accounting. Many of the musicians I know have financial jobs as well (banking, escrow, etc).

Of course, I'm not saying that I think Meshugy is a financial guru, either... just pointing out that being a musician and being financially savvy aren't mutually exclusive. ;)

matt said...

Factoring in the freeze , is a big part of the Seattle equation, couple that with sky-high housing expenses and you have to wonder who is to blame, personally I blame "Fraser" and "Grunge", they started it, then the ubiquitous chic of Micro$oft and $tarbucks attracted the hordes like the Yukon Gold Rush.

Seattle's rough on the newcomer. But I'm a passive agressive Seattle-ite at heart, grew up here, I too like meeting people at parties and never calling them, I enjoy cutting in line and having no one honk at me, I'm moody and I drink coffee 24/7... ah! Home Sweet Home! no better place!

plymster said...

I lived in Dallas for 18 years, and found that it was fairly diverse. I think the south (Texas especially) gets a bad rap for being called a racist hell-hole.

Here's a quick breakdown of Dallas County based on the 2000 Census.

Total Population: 2,218,899
White (non-hispanic): 28.48%
Hispanic or Latino: 29.87%
African-American: 20.31%
Native American: 0.56%
Asian: 3.98%
Pacific Islander: 0.06%
Other (Mixed/unlisted): 16.74%

Lake Hills Renter, I applaud you for truly being colorblind.

Here's what it is for King County:

Total Population: 1,737,034
White (non-hispanic): 73.46%
Hispanic or Latino: 5.48%
African-American: 6.51%
Native American: 0.92%
Asian: 10.81%
Pacific Islander: 0.52%
Other (Mixed/unlisted): 2.30%

No wonder the Aryan Nation "openly debated a plan to forcibly take five northwestern states - Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Washington and Wyoming - from the United States government in order to establish an Aryan homeland."

cnealy said...

Nolaguy - where do you live? I live in Kirkland. My lease just came up for renewal and they're increasing it by 13%. The manager won't even return my phone calls about negotiating the rate. I've lived there for 4 years.

Anonymous said...

"we love the water, so Denver just didn't work. When it get in the 80s and above, there really isn't anywhere to go to cool down, unless you just wait for the 3pm downpour."

Cool down in the winter (they actually have one in Denver). ;-)

Seriously, I'm one of the people who thinks that it's great and pretty that there's so much water around here, but I am sick to death of the 345 days of drizzle that produces it every year. Why live here through 10+ months of depressing misery, when I can simply choose to vacation here for the nice parts?

"Yes, skiing is great, but the travel time is too long and the ticket cost is too high (IMHO)."

Uhm...where are you skiing?

The closest thing that Seattle/Tacoma has to Rockies-quality skiing is Stevens Pass, and that's no further from Seattle than Winter Park (11,000 ft, 300 acres, 24 lifts, $40 discount lift tickets) is from Denver. As far as cost goes, perhaps you're thinking of the uber-expensive resorts like Beaver Creek, Vail and Aspen -- but these places massively outclass any resort in this area (save Whistler).

"You can't compare the artistic culture of Denver to Seattle. Seattle blows Denver out of the water. The symphony there is a joke. Amateurs."

Perhaps the symphony is better here, but the Denver art museum is far superior to the SAM (hard not to be), they have a world-class natural history museum (instead of...the SAM), a library system that has a collection of books (as opposed to bums using computers), and a music scene that actually plays national acts from time to time (rather than "local" acts who aren't good enough to get gigs anywhere else).

"The downtown is a sad. The highlight is the theaters on 16th St. Oh, and all the souvenir shops."

Yeah....Thank goodness Seattle doesn't have any of those. Certainly not on 1st Ave, the waterfront, or in the form of a gigantic public market. Those would be tacky.

"P.S. So what's the deal with housing there?? Yes, houses are cheaper, but Denver has the highest foreclosure rate in the nation!"

Denver today == Seattle 2008. Take a good look, and see the future.

All of our back-and-forth aside, Seattle and Denver are very similar. They're similar in size, they both have fickle economies (based on a few large employers), they both experienced large run-ups in housing prices between 2000-2005, and they both have similar income distributions.

People like to say that Denver was hit hard by slowdowns in the aerospace industry (i.e. Lockheed Martin represented a huge employer in the area, as did the military), but I don't think that tells the whole story. I sincerely believe that Denver is experiencing the pain that will befall Seattle in a few short years -- Denver developers were starting their speculative condo build-up in 1997, so they were always a few years ahead of the curve.

Nolaguy said...


I live in Belltown, right by Pike Place Market. The Ventana Appartments. It's a newer building (2001) and is of high quality.

I haven't lived in an apartment for 17 years, and I'm really enjoying it.

Anonymous said...

hey mushugy, a little joke for you.

What's the difference between a musician and a pizza?

A pizza feeds two!

Lake Hills Renter said...

re: Dallas Diversity

My lack of seeing diversity in Dallas could have been where I lived/worked. I lived in Plano and worked in the tech corridor along US-75. It was white as far as you could see. There were almost no minorities anywhere. Living and working in the suburbs of Seattle is much more diverse from my experience. But that's just what I've seen. Those numbers are surprising.

re: Seattle Freeze

I dunno, I haven't really seen it. But then the only local community I've been involved with is the outdoor community, particularly hikers, although I've dealt with the photography community a bit as well. Friendliest group of folks you could ever hope to meet. I hav heard that the dating scene here is pretty hard to crack, but I'm not much for dating scenes.

Eleua said...

Is "diversity" a good thing? Normally, "diverse" or "vibrant" communities have an abundance of crime and social pathology.

Just about everyone I know, and have known over the past 25 years, pays good money to leave the "diversity" behind.

Why are we getting all the X-Cals?

I'm not trying to turn this into a social screed, but as far as real estate goes, diversity is normally a negative.

matt said...

Actually the here's an excellent article via the stranger that nitpicks the Seattle 'Diversity'. Surpise surprise but the 'bohemian' neighborhoods are probably the least diverse, the most diverse according to this article is Southcenter. Lemme guess how many of the 100K+/yr crowd really wants to buy in a 'diverse' community, I'm guessing the number rhymes with hero.

Eleua said...

Yup. It is a big social taboo to "question diversity." If you received your college education after the '80s, chances are you had "diversity" shoved down your throat with a 6 cubic yard front loader. "Unity Through Diversity" is the dumbest three word combination in the English language.

Have you ever heard of someone living in Glencoe, Illinois saving up so they could move to Joliet?

Has anyone ever read a news article about the scads of families in Hawaii Kai that wish they lived in Waipahu or Nanakuli?

Do people move from Coronado, California to San Ysidro?

I doubt anyone on Mercer Island is chomping at the bit to move to the 'vibe' and 'diversity' of K street in Tacoma.

When the government spends billions to reeducate the population about the wonders of diversity, and sanctioning those that try to sidestep this bit of social glory, you have to wonder if it is really a positive.

Anonymous said...

You're confusing classicism with racism. Many people would be happy to live in a "diverse" wealthy community (Montclair, NJ is a good example) but most of the places you mention as diverse are, i'm guessing, poor.

Anonymous said...

whoops -- class-ism i meant, not classicism

meshugy said...

Meshugy being a musician explains his absolute lack of knowledge about all matters financial.

Didn't you know that listening to Mozart makes you smart? Geez...where have you been???!! Ha, ha

Well, maybe I am just an ignorant musician (with a PhC), but I must be doing something right because I make over 6 figures and can afford a house.

Eleua said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Eleua said...

I really don't care about diversity, as long as I can insulate myself against it.

I don't know of anyone that really likes diversity, but I know of many that like to say they like diversity. There is a big difference.

One is all talk, and talk is cheap. Another demonstrates that people will sacrifice much and spend a life's savings in order to keep diversity at a safe distance.

I doubt that The Tim wants this topic discussed with all the normal warts. If anyone wants to continue, please visit my blog and we can continue. I don't mind if you really cut loose and put your feet up on the furniture.


Anonymous said...

wow, the ugly underbelly of seattle bubble theorists is finally exposed!

SeattleMoose said...

"So, if California inverts, and lenders even get a twinge of sobriety, you are looking at a market that can end overnight. "

No "if" about it anymore. I know of two houses back on the market after contingency sales fell thru...and in both cases the buyers were from CA and could not sell their properties.

I have a friend in Huntington Beach who lives at Pacific Ranch (Villas/Townhomes) and he says prices are already 10% off the highs from last fall.

The "equity locust" spigot is quickly turning off. More quickly than I thought it would.

For an article on the "Seattle Freeze" please click on my name/URL.

Lake Hills Renter said...

My last post on diversity, since it's rather off topic. Whether it's who I work with, who lives near me, or whatever, I don't care what race a person is. It's about the caliber of the person, with which I have found no correlation to race. I don't care if the person next door is black, brown, yellow, white or purple, as long as they are a good neighbor. I actually enjy working with and talking to people of all races from all over the world, since it gives me a chance to learn things I would never have otherwise. I'd never even heard of Gambia before I worked with someone from there, and now I consider him a good friend.

Lake Hills Renter said...

Interesting article about the Seattle Freeze. I suppose I fit into the gategory described there. I am not a very sociable person. It's nothing against other people, not like I think I'm better than others or anything. I just prefer solitude, one of the reasons I like the mountains so much, and also one of the reasons I want to move outside the metro. I'm just not wired to require much social interaction. Maybe that why I like it here? I fit in?

Eleua said...


You may be right, but there were references to "both kinds of white people."

Almost everyone that speaks of "diversity" is just substituting that term for non-white.

If you want a laugh, go to any public gathering on Bainbridge and get the whole "diversity" dialogue going. Everyone loves diversity.

Then, ask if it would be OK to build a bridge from Southern Bainbridge to Bremerton, or bus kids from Suquamish into BI schools.

Blank stares.

Diversity talk is cheap. People spend a life's work to keep diversity at a safe distance. This phenomenon is almost universal among American real estate priorities.
It is why Realtors are not allowed to comment on the racial makup of a neighborhood.

synthetik said...

Personally, I enjoy diversity. That's why we moved up here.

Diverse cultures, diverse ideas, etc.

Kill whitey.

PepeDaniels said...

RE: Diversity
Yeah, diversity isn't trouble free but after living in NY and S. Florida, I can say that it's pretty bland here to put it politely. I really miss people of color for what it's worth.

RE:"The chill"
Seattle seems by far the least friendly of the three major cities (include Portland and Vancouver, CA)in the NW. It is the coldest environment I've ever lived in in social terms. When you combine that with the clouds and rain I think it's a pretty depressing place on the whole.

Lake Hills Renter said...

I like the clouds and rain. Another reason I live here. =)

Lake Hills Renter said...

Eleua, it seems to me you're talking more about class issues than race issues. I can only speak for myself obviosuly, but what I posted above are my honest feelings. I really don't care about race, I care about the quality of the individual. Theres trash of all colors, just as there's upstanding people of all colors.

Eleua said...


I would tend to agree, only I would add that if race is neutural, then there is no value in favoring one race over another or saying that a "diverse" group has a higher intrinsic value than a homogeneous one.

I've had numerous experiences with "diversity" and it always ends up being some feel-good, taffy-pulling, ya-ya, circle-jerk, that largely exists to give whiney, insecure White Liberals a photo-op for their trophy case.

The bulk of my professional endeavors have north of 95% White-males. Given that there is no diversity to blather on about, the group tends to be rather focused on operations and results, in lieu of politically trendy Bravo-Sierra.

You can't have it both ways - race is neutural, but a diverse group of races is superior.

In order to explore this phenomenon further, it would be best to take it to another fourm.

S Crow said...


Did you fly A-6's, P-3's, or ?


Lake Hills Renter said...

I personally don't think diversity is inherently good or bad, it just "is". Some places are diverse, some aren't. One isn't inherently better than the other, IMO. I enjoy learning about other places and other cultures, so I enjoy diversity, but others may not and that's fine. If someone wants to surround themselves with people exactly like them, that's fine in my book and I don't hold it against them. I do think that people exposed to more varieties of culture and people tend to be more tolerant and open-minded of others, but that's only my anecdotal observations.

Thanks for the discussion, eleua. This is really my last post on diversity! =P

Peter Taylor said...

Well, maybe I am just an ignorant musician (with a PhC)

What the heck is a PhC?

Eleua said...


P-3C. Atlantic Fleet, Brunswick NAS. Iceland, Sicily, Puerto Rico, Panama. Mid-90s era.

Eleua said...


I read the "Seattle Freeze" article, and it seemed spot-on. I must admit that I saw a bit of myself in that article.

My idea of a good time is a solitary backpacking trip in the Olympics when it is raining. One such trip was such that I only had a three second glimpse of another human over a 4 day span - near perfection.

When I'm on a layover, I like to keep to myself, and many think that is wierd. Is it because I am a 5th generation PNW? Perhaps. I tend to think it is because I've been cooped-up in a closet sized space with the same dude for the past two days, and you can get too much of a good thing.

Anyway, it was a great article. Enjoy your weekend - don't call me ;)

Anonymous said...

Pepe Daniels,

Once again, truer words were never spoken.

On both the diversity and freeze counts.

Seattle is a bland, soul-less city with pretty neighborhoods and killer traffic.

Lake Hills Renter said...

My idea of a good time is a solitary backpacking trip in the Olympics when it is raining.

A man after my own heart!

Lake Hills Renter said...

I've been thinking about this Seattle Freeze issue and I've realized that I don't particularly care about Seattle itself. By this I mean that whether Seattle is a "metropolitan city" or not, or whether the social circles are hard to enter or not, I really don't care.

This is primarily because I rarely go to Seattle itself. I live in the suburbs because I work in the suburbs. If I had my way, I'd live outside the metro completely, maybe even quite far away, because what I want in a place to live isn't walking distance to metropolitan city attractions, it's peace and quiet, preferrably with lots of trees near the mountains. I don't have anything against Seattle, there's just not much there for me, and it's not the reason I live here. I live here for my job and for the scenery -- and not in that order.

I also realized that a lot of that Seattle Freeze article could have been talking about me specifically because I show a lot of those traits. I don't need people in my life at all times. Quite the opposte in fact. I prefer to spend my private time alone or with select friends, either at home or in the mountains. I don't have anything against other people -- it's not like I think I'm better than them or anything - I just don't need that many people in my life. Solitude is more important to me than sociality. I've been this way my whole life, it's just more socially acceptable to be this way here than where I've lived before. Maybe I feel more at home here because of The Freeze?

The scene from the article that stuck in my mind was where a guy told the new guy what he was doing that weekend, but didn't invite him along. I would have done the exact same thing, and in fact I do. It's not anything against the new guy. It's that my weekends are my time for solitude in the mountains. The Seattle area seems to have more independent-minded people that other places I've lived (one thing I really do enjoy about the area), so my advice to that new guy would be to not depend on others to have fun -- do it yourself. That's what I did when I moved here.

PepeDaniels said...

Lake Hills Renter -

I don't have any quibbles per se with what people like or where they want to do it. I think you're correct, for people who are socially sort of reclusive, for lack of a better word, this would be a comfortable place. There's certainly no pressure to be super connected to anyone.

I think in my day to day life I've come to find social life here somewhat vacuous almost. Like a progressive version of the Stepford Wives. Polite and pleasant smiles that suddenly seem to have dissappared from your conversation.

I work with a number of out of staters - we jokingly call the dissapparing phenomena the "Seattle Drop"

Eleua said...

I think the Seattle Freeze has more to do with a lack of continuity, than any particular, regional social disorder.

One of my hobby horses is that just about everyone that is here is a recent transplant. I think that has something to do with the situation.

I lived in Highland Village, Texas, and we get more sun than Seattle gets rain. It is the South/Midwest, so people should be friendlier.

Just about everyone on my street was a professional of some sort, and there was a high incidence of church attendance.

Nobody talked to each other. Nobody was from Texas. We had people that had moved from Georgia, Tennessee, Pennsylvania, Hawaii, New York, New Jersey, California, Michigan, and Connecticut. Nobody was from Texas. Everyone was an outsider.

In Kitsap County, my neighbors are recluses (Bainbridge - X-Cals/New Yorkers), but my extended family (Silverdale, Poulsbo, Bremerton, Kingston) have block parties, and lots of social functions with friends. I guess that happens if you, your parents, and grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins all went to high school in the area.

I think it is just because Seattle is a place where everyone is a newbie, and knows everyone else is a newbie.

Dammit JIM! I'm a pilot, not a psychoanalyst!