Housing Shortage or Overbuilt—A New Look at Supply and Demand

There has been some talk lately about the overall housing stock in the Seattle area, and whether construction has been able to keep up with population growth, or if there is a housing shortage that will lead to another housing boom in a few years. So I thought now would be a good time to revisit an old post from October 2006—Big Picture: Supply vs. Demand.

For the charts below I have taken data on the number of households and the number of housing units from the annual American Community Survey results from 2000 through 2007.

Here’s what the housing supply and demand picture looks like for King, Snohomish, and Pierce counties combined, indexed to 100 in 2000.

Puget Sound Housing Supply and Demand
Click to enlarge

Puget Sound housing supply increased 12.1% from 2000 to 2007, while the number of households increased only 7.6%. In terms of raw numbers, population increased by 92,911 households during that time, while 151,710 housing units were added, resulting in an oversupply of 58,799 housing units for the 7-year period. In other words, from 2000 through 2007, 1.6 new housing units were constructed for every new household.

Here’s the same data as above, broken down by county:

Puget Sound Housing Supply and Demand by County
Click to enlarge

Surprisingly, the overbuilding was most dramatic in King County, where 74,608 housing units were added for a mere 35,905 households, providing 2.1 new housing units for every new household. Snohomish and Pierce were roughly the same as each other, coming in at 1.4 and 1.3 new housing units per new household, respectively.

Here’s a slightly different take on the data, showing the percent occupancy rate from 2000 through 2007 for each of the three counties.

Puget Sound Housing Occupancy by County
Click to enlarge

Occupancy has been steadily declining this decade in all three counties, with 2007 setting a low point in King County that has not been matched since the 1970 Census.

So please, tell me again how there’s a housing shortage in the Seattle area. I enjoy fairy tales.


About The Tim

Tim Ellis is the founder of Seattle Bubble. His background in engineering and computer / internet technology, a fondness of data-based analysis of problems, and an addiction to spreadsheets all influence his perspective on the Seattle-area real estate market.

57 comments:

  1. 1

    GREAT TAKE TIM

    I’ve always enjoyed your pragmatic analyses, keep up the great work!

    Another graph is perhaps needed? Add in the recent spike in foreclosures and distressed owners that can’t sell [or eat for that manner]….I imagine that 7-8% vacancy rate could really be closer to 12-15% if distressed turns to foreclosure in 2009.

    Another pound of lead to put in the rising vacancy rates, as we bailout banks and they hoard all the money and raise mortgage rates; guess what, income taxes are going to “go through the roof” for all of us. Even Forbes, we know they still paint Seattle a pink pony, had a recent wonderful article on how all our taxes are going to go through the roof paying off this year’s bailout interest debts.

    And don’t believe any of the campaign promises that your taxes won’t go up, even Forbes doesn’t believe that fairy tale. That will further increase the Seattle home vacany rate for 2009, we’re going to have less cash to buy ’em without massive price decreases.

    Anyone disagree?

  2. 2
    The Tim says:

    softwarengineer,

    Another graph is perhaps needed? Add in the recent spike in foreclosures and distressed owners that can’t sell [or eat for that manner]….I imagine that 7-8% vacancy rate could really be closer to 12-15% if distressed turns to foreclosure in 2009.

    Note that these graphs include all households and all housing units. They are not limited to home owners and owner-occupied housing. Foreclosures won’t really affect this data since a foreclosed household just moves from owner-occupied to a rental.

  3. 3
    Slumlord says:

    Great post, Tim! It will be interesting to watch the vacancy rates. In a normal economy, this would decline as construction slows and population grows. However, things are not normal and I expect vacancies to continue increasing for a while for two reasons. First, more people will double up to save money. Second, many job changers will have a hard time selling at a loss and will conclude that it is easier to return their home to the bank (by “changers” I am including those who lose their jobs).

    Regarding the concept of prices reverting to the historic mean (an idea kicked around here, but not in the original post), I think there is a real possibility of overshooting on the downside. Mean is simply a mathematical average, and in the context here it refers to the average ratio between incomes and home prices. For every data point above the mean, there is one below.

  4. 4
    Joel says:

    This is why I don’t agree with the people that point at a graph of prices and say “See, the bubble started in 2003, so prices can only go back to 2003 prices plus some inflation.” Just looking at a graph of prices totally ignores the effect of a housing oversupply.

    Note: Inevitably someone is going to come on here and say “Why does every bubblehead think we are as overbuilt as Las Vegas?? That is stupid!” Nobody is claiming we are as overbuilt as Las Vegas or Miami, or San Diego or Phoenix. We can be not as overbuilt as Phoenix and yet still overbuilt.

  5. 5
    rainy says:

    The Tim,

    Great job on presenting these graphs.

    Note: Inevitably someone is going to come on here and say “Why does every bubblehead think we are as overbuilt as Las Vegas?? That is stupid!” Nobody is claiming we are as overbuilt as Las Vegas or Miami, or San Diego or Phoenix. We can be not as overbuilt as Phoenix and yet still overbuilt.

    Joel,

    Has anyone popped up and said something similair? Of course I haven’t read all the posts. I think that being overbuilt would have to do with the area that you are living in.

    I see that there is still so much construction going on in the Seattle area. I always wonder why people don’t slow down the building. Don’t the counties have control over how many building permits that get issued?

  6. 6
    Slumlord says:

    Rainy,

    As far as I know the only place that has tried to control the number of permits is Sammamish, where they had a lottery for a limited number of development rights each year. This didn’t go over so well with the more powerful developers and it was repealed.

    The main tool local government has for controlling the rate of development is a part of the Growth Management Act called concurrency. Conceptually, concurrency calls for infrastructure improvements, primarily roads, to accommodate the expected growth. In practice, the law allows improvements to lag demand by six years, creating a situation where road improvements are always behind the need. In rare cases, cities and counties will deny permits in the areas around roads that fail concurrency, but like Sammamish’s lottery, this is not popular with most developers.

    Sometimes other things prevent development too. I have an interest in a vacant property near Mukilteo that we cannot develop until construction is complete on a new sewage treatment plant because the old one is out of capacity.

  7. 7
    Joel says:

    Has anyone popped up and said something similair?

    You must be new here. Any time anybody says something might be bad in Seattle, whether it is in a blog post or in the comments, someone else inevitably construes the statement to mean Seattle is worse than Vegas/Phoenix/Miami/Inland Empire/Detroit. Some of them are just trolling, but some of them truly don’t understand that things can be better than the worst and yet still bad.

  8. 8
    andyl says:

    I’d really love to see this data broken down geographically by city (not just county) *and* by housing type. I suspect (the City of) Seattle has a glut of condos (with many more coming soon), but not necessarily as great an excess of single-family detached homes. (I’m actually quite surprised at how well Seattle single-family detached homes in certain neighborhoods seem to be selling- at reasonable but not fire-sale prices relative to 2006 – given the apocalyptic economy. Greater fools, or is there something else going on?)

  9. 9
    David Losh says:

    Great Morning!

    The City of Seattle has worked very hard to create a housing shortage. Once again let me mention the CAP Initiative. Aside from that there are several areas of the city that are close in that have these town houses clogging up high density housing project sites.

    The Growth Management Act was supposed to increase density. In my opinion what we got was a bunch of small time spot lot builders dividing up neighborhoods for over built Mac Mansion want to bes.

    The vision of having a world class down town core was completely lost on the Seattle City Council. Rather than participate in a grander scale of over all King and Snohomish County development plans they focused on helping to rubber stamp small minded town house building with the Mac Mansion concept thrown in.

    Small time builders make up the Master Builders Association along with the Board of Realtors who all want business as usual. The end result has been a mish mash of bad choices.

    Do you shop down town Seattle? Of course not. That would be a stupid thing. The parking, bus traffic, high priced stores, bums, and gangs of kids. The Seattle down town core is dirty, stinky, and disgusting.

    Our neighborhoods were supposed to get mixed use. Instead we have, again, town houses, or every other contrivance to make commercial space unattractive. Commercial space is not considered as profitable. Town homes are the cash cow.

    We haven’t even begun on South Lake Union which has been in the works for fifteen years. The areas surrounding our stadium sites were supposed to be developed. We are the only city I can think of that has massive amounts of space around the airport that hasn’t even been considered for building.

    No we have acres of dirt to build on. We have a ton of housing units that can come on line as soon as the politicians allow it. Prices have been artificially driven up to collect higher assessments. It’s a cheap and easy way to get tax dollars by doing less.

    Big developers avoid the Seattle area. Tacoma gets more large development interest by virtue of it’s willingness to dialog about large scale development projects. In turn that drives the prices in Seattle up to accomodate the wealth of small time builders who make generous campaign contributions. Big players think they are doing the city a favor by building lower cost, quality projects.

  10. 10
    The Tim says:

    andyl @ 8,

    I’d really love to see this data broken down geographically by city (not just county) *and* by housing type.

    I don’t have the time to dig that deep right now, but here’s a quick snapshot.

    Of the 74,608 housing units added to King County from 2000 to 2007, 46,737 are listed as “1-unit detached” (SFH), or 63%.

    In the actual city of Seattle, 16,474 housing units were added for 6,915 households (2.4 per household), and 4,480 of those housing units were 1-unit detached, or 27%. 7,398 units were added in 20+unit buildings.

    So Seattle proper has constructed enough new units in large condos or apartment buildings to house every single new household, and still have nearly 500 units left over.

  11. 11
    Denny Retrograde says:

    And Hilariously Disjointed Post-Election Post of the Month goes to Mr. Losh.

  12. 12
    jon says:

    The significance of these graphs just isn’t clear to me. The gap opened up between 2000 and 2003 and has stayed steady since then. It’s hard to see how we could have gone through a housing boom with a high level of vacancies. I think several things are being lumped in together in this data, such as people owning second homes and being reported as living somewhere else.

    I just don’t see how looking rough data like this adds more information than is already in the MLS inventory or apartment vacancy rates.

  13. 13
    Yesler Hill says:

    “The Seattle down town core is dirty, stinky, and disgusting. ”

    hey, hey, hey. Downtown is a yuppie paradise. How I long for 30 years ago when First Ave was all strip joints, porno, taverns, pool halls and SRO hotels! And all the neon! Seattle made a better working class city than it does a “world class” yuppietown. I never go downtown anymore (except the hideous new central library), nor Capitol Hill; because I can’t stand the smug nouveau riche.

    As far as the actual topic; In my neighborhood (old Yelser Hill, the SE section of First hill), they are still building the condos and townhouses. Although, the people that now own the rest of the block I live on, have done nothing except an initial set of monsterously ugly, tiny room, townhouses.

    And now the buffoons in Seattle voted for more SoundTransit scam. And all the money for the Pike Place market and the parks levy. I don’t get who has all this money they want to spend?

    And never doubt the stupidity of Seattlelites; we’ll reelect Nickels sure as anything!

  14. 14
    b says:

    jon –

    Its not hard at all to see you can have a housing boom with a high level of vacancies. the “boom” was just a great rise in prices due to easy credit. it was not due to supply scarcity of any sort. Its the same as anything else where the ability to pay a price is greatly increased for no reason. Take a look at college or healthcare, prices increase substantially higher than inflation in those areas yet there is no scarcity of supply. Its simply that prices are not operating within a supply/demand market anymore.

  15. 15
    patient says:

    It would be interresting to see the numbers for San Diego County…Sorry I know the SD comparison drives the cheerleaders up the wall so I couldn’t resist.

  16. 16
    mukoh says:

    David, how disjointed are you from what is going on? The GMA has allowed higher densities and mixed use. The difference is with mixed use is that a builder who has built in-fill town homes his whole life is not going to build mixed use, because he doesn’t have any idea on what commercial playground is like. Bigger developers are not going to become infill builders and do 10-20 town home sites just to get some mixed use potential.

    You are so far from development that you should make no comments on it. City of Seattle has actually increased FAR space with far less amenities provided by developers over the last 10+ years, as well as consistently attracted and allowed groups from other cities to buy and permit large projects. I know at least two developers in the dexter and elliot bay areas that are praising Seattle consistently.

    Stop making comments that you read out of some blog.

  17. 17
    The Tim says:

    patient @ 15, because you asked:

    San Diego County 2000-2007
    housing units added: 92,920
    households added: 50,093
    ratio of new housing units per new household: 1.9 (King: 2.1)

  18. 18
    CCG says:

    “And now the buffoons in Seattle voted for more SoundTransit scam.”

    That and keeping the HOV lanes closed. Of course, on 520, half the people in the HOV lanes on a given day are single-person cars driving there illegally. The cops show up maybe three times a month to ticket a few of them. But hey, keep rewarding people who break the law and punishing those who obey it. Thank God I moved.

    They’ve been babbling about building monorails, light rails, etc etc etc since I moved here 10 years ago. See any new monorails yet? Me neither. Of course, no one has bothered to refund the tax money I’ve had flushed down that toilet over the years. Shocking.

    From reading the comments in the P-I, the next step is apparently for people to denounce me as a wingnut. Apparently, wanting to see something in return for my tax dollars and not enjoying needless sitting in parked traffic means that I should have voted for McCain, Rossi, et al. But then, they also thought there was no housing bubble…

  19. 19
    Slumlord says:

    Mukoh,

    I agree with you that GMA has improved things by increasing density and encouraging more mixed-use. Your point about developers filling different roles is also dead on.

    An area where I think our political leaders could make substantial improvements is architecture and neighborhood character. In my opinion, most of the new townhomes are a blight. Their building materials are of poor quality and the design is rubber stamp copies. It would be far better to build row houses in the east coast style where each unit takes car access from the alley and there is greater variety and detailing. I also would like to be able to buy foreclosed McMansions and convert them into fourplexes, but the zoning codes often do not allow increasing density even though the building exterior would remain largely unchanged. To me, this represents a hidden prohibition on bringing workforce housing into the suburbs.

  20. 20
    rainy says:

    It would be interresting to see the numbers for San Diego County…Sorry I know the SD comparison drives the cheerleaders up the wall so I couldn’t resist.

    This still is not an accurate comparison.

  21. 21
    gglockner says:

    Foreclosures won’t really affect this data since a foreclosed household just moves from owner-occupied to a rental.

    What about tracking people who move from owner-occupied to a shopping cart underneath the viaduct? Sorry, couldn’t resist! Thanks for the great update.

  22. 22
    silver9 says:

    Great analysis. Please send this post to Forbes.

    Unless they have similar data that indicates every other city is much worse than Seattle, I wish they would shut up already about how we are #1. Then again they seem more focused on entertainment than on analysis.

  23. 23
    deejayoh says:

    They’ve been babbling about building monorails, light rails, etc etc etc since I moved here 10 years ago. See any new monorails yet? Me neither. Of course, no one has bothered to refund the tax money I’ve had flushed down that toilet over the years. Shocking.

    Dude, when all was said and done – the Seattle Monorail Authority closed it’s books with a $425k profit. You didn’t get your refund check for 50 cents?

  24. 24
    mikal says:

    I’m curious, does that number include renters. And how many own more than one property.

  25. 25
    Joel says:

    Its simply that prices are not operating within a supply/demand market anymore.

    No, it was all about incredibly high demand due to easy credit. Supply may have rocketed, but demand rocketed faster.

  26. 26
    Scotsman says:

    Dang, another myth bites the dust.

    I’m sure housing will recover as soon as Obama starts sending out those big checks. Buy now to avoid the rush, and get a step up on the equity ladder!

  27. 27
    patient says:

    “It would be interresting to see the numbers for San Diego County…Sorry I know the SD comparison drives the cheerleaders up the wall so I couldn’t resist.

    This still is not an accurate comparison.”

    You see what I mean? And The Tim, thanks again for providing this excellent data and busting lies and myths to left and right.

  28. 28
    Brian says:

    I’d love to see some more historical data. Like what happened during the last housing bust in the 1980s?

    And what’s happening in other cities.

    Correlation may not be strong year to year, but I’d think you’d see a kind of rolling reversion to the mean.

  29. 29
    The Tim says:

    Brian,

    Unfortunately this particular set of data was only gathered every ten years with the Census until the American Community Survey began in earnest in 2002.

  30. 30
    macmichael says:

    For comparison San Diego county covers 4526 sq miles; King county 2134. San Diego county did not get vastly overbuilt. Riverside county yes very much. San Diego pushed the “city of villages” concept; aka increase density but it has never been able to really take off. Chula Vista city ( Eastlake area )( far south in county, Vista, San Marcos, Oceanside ( far North county ) are really the only areas that got somewhat overbuilt and are the areas suffering the fallout of poor lending. Prices are now down to $ 150 sq ft. Where as core San Diego average might be $ 300 – 350. Drop in prices is making San Diego much more affordable than Seattle.

  31. 31

    NICE TAKE CCG

    I’m laughing my head off right now.

    When I was going through the lists of people I had to vote for and I noticed they had like an engineering degree, rather than an economic degree from Harvard [if it wasn’t phony] or God Forbid they were an attorney….I made sure I voted technical, Rep or Dem.

    At least most engineers and techy types wouldn’t put up with empty HOV lanes or lying politicians promising us projects that never get built anyway….lol

    But what do I know, I’m just a techy type, that can be replaced with cheap insource labor.

  32. 32
    BanteringBear says:

    Yesler Hill posted:

    “hey, hey, hey. Downtown is a yuppie paradise. How I long for 30 years ago when First Ave was all strip joints, porno, taverns, pool halls and SRO hotels! And all the neon! Seattle made a better working class city than it does a “world class” yuppietown. I never go downtown anymore (except the hideous new central library), nor Capitol Hill; because I can’t stand the smug nouveau riche.”

    I couldn’t agree more with this observation. A large percentage of these yuppies are NOT natives, but obnoxious transplants from CA, MA, NY- you name it. I wish they would just, like, run their car off the bulkhead into the sound, or fall off the space needle, you know, fun stuff like that.

  33. 33
    David Losh says:

    Sorry,

    Martin Selig is a great man. Unfortunately what ever he tried to do for Seattle was villified. We need high rise development in down town Seattle. We need high density in the core of our commercial district. We also need night life.

    The 1980s in Seattle was a time of hope. That hope was dashed by the Cap Initiative.

    This is a blog, mine is a comment on a blog. The point of the post was if there was enough supply. Yes there is. There are acres of land for development in the Seattle down town core area alone.

    I get my information by sitting in meetings about development in Seattle. What has happened is pathetic.

    Prices of housing units in the Seattle, King, and Snohomish County areas should drop like a rock based on the amount of crappy housing units that already exsist. Then the prices should drop again based on the number of units that can be thrown up at any minute.

    We have nothing in return. We have over priced, way over priced, town houses everywhere. We should have community development, but we got nothing.

    The city and county goverments got higher property assessments, taxes, and we got nothing.

    Come to think of it, what about those people who bought crappy town houses that sit on dirt that could be used for higher density? What about the people who paid $400K to $500K for a piece of dirt that would be better suited to multistory condo development?

    Don’t get me started, we’ll be here all day. Tacoma has ended up a classier place than Seattle, or King and Snohomish Counties. How did that happen?

  34. 34
    David Losh says:

    Come to think of it.

    I’ve been working on a town house unit for a real estate agent. It’s about a year old, and a mess.

    The bathrooms will need updating, as well as the kitchen do to cheap finishes. The wood floors could use refinishing and the outside will need paint withing the next five years.

    My question is, what will these “neighborhoods” look like as some owners chose to forgo maintaining a unit?

    You see these row houses were permitted under the cottage housing concept. They were given rubber stamp privlidges to keep up with growing demand.

    What’s all of that going to look like in another ten years of foreclosure, and deflated prices? Is this what we are going to want next to a world class commercial core?

  35. 35
    Scotsman says:

    The facts have been pretty well documented here, but the market doesn’t seem to be getting the message. Prices are still too high, but none of the neighborhoods I pay attention to are seeing price reductions. The price range I watch most closely- $500-800K, is completely dead, most likely due to a lack of easy financing. But no one has dropped prices more than 5-10%.

    How long will we be stuck here, in a market that no longer operates?

  36. 36
    Matt the Engineer says:

    Sometimes I think I come here just to see the terrible misuse of graphs.

    For instance, if you had instead normalized at 2008, you’d see that there was far too little supply back in 2000, and the market built up fast enough to just meet the demand in 8 years.

    Or if you’d normalized at 2000 but doubled the size of demand then you’d see that supply has been rushing to catch demand, but it’s way ahead.

    Or you could have drawn a few unicorns in the corner, deep in battle. A bit more blood on the pink unicorn would indicate the market was about to take a downturn.

  37. 37
    shawn says:

    It is a “fact” traffic flows faster when HOV lanes are removed. Too many people latch on to hopeful yet fallacious ideas and then once committed to those ideas they seem too entrenched in their own delusion to just admit that they were wrong and maybe it would be wise to rethink their position. Nope, HOV is staying cause someday I am going to car pool and save the world.

  38. 38
    mikal says:

    What heighborhoods are you looking at Scotsman?

  39. 39
    Scotsman says:

    I’m well out of the main focus of this blog, looking in the Preston/Fall City area just east of Issaquah. While most data suggests price declines start on the fringe/suburbs and work their way into the city core, that has not been the case here. The same houses that were for sale well over a year ago are still for sale, several dozen of them, but no price reductions. One salient fact is that many were built during the last part of the run-up, 2000-2006. My guess is that asking prices do a better job of reflecting loan balances than market value.

  40. 40
    buyStocks says:

    Scotsman,
    Just wait em out, they’ll fall. Was feeling the same way on MI properties a couple months ago, and a falling they are now. Guessing it’s gonna be a slow process.

  41. 41
    transplantella says:

    I think you’re all right about Seattle.

    I’ve been lurking on this site for months but because I have no professional real estate qualifications, I haven’t said anything. Till now.

    How over rated is Seattle?? I can’t believe all the hue and cry that goes on about this area. It is utterly undeserved.

    World class downtown?! Who are they kidding? Six square blocks of standard issue retail surrounded by parking lots and inhabited by belligerent drug dealers, is nobody’s idea of world class anything. How many millions to renovate Pike’s Market? (which I like) Look, I’ve seen fish and flowers and vegetables before. There is no way that kind of money will rehabilitate an attraction that is–inhabited again–by bellicose drug addicts. Here’s a cheap fix for downtown Seattle: Round up the aggressive street people and crackheads, truss them up, and toss the lot into the harbor. Why does Seattle tolerate a downtown overrun by these depraved losers? Oh wait nevermind, sending them to the bottom of the harbor would be depriving them of their civil rights…..

    Housing here is ridiculous. Rotting, run down, 100 year old “craftsman” tenements selling for five, six hundred thousand dollars? What kind of fool invests their hard earned money in housing like that? Property taxes that are based not on value of the property, but on the projected budgets of the taxing districts?? That’s insane.

    And don’t even get me started on the sales excise tax. You sell a house and the state government picks your pocket for nearly 2% of the selling price. Just no way.

    Public transportation? Wonderful provided that:
    you live in the Seattle city limits and:
    you are going downtown.
    Otherwise you are going to change buses 3 or 4 times to get anywhere, and a five mile trip will take 1 1/2 hours. Been there, done that.

    And dare we discuss a climate that even ducks wouldn’t like?

    As provided by a poster with a link yesterday I believe, when the new Boeing collective bargaining agreement runs out in 4 years and Boeing leaves the Puget Sound, this place is going to crash like a 757 from 30,000 feet. Because there is nothing actually compelling or appealing about Seattle but the views.

    I wouldn’t accept the deed on a house here if they were giving them away for free. I would never invest my money in such a mismanaged, over-governmented, delusionary republic.

    Last one out, please turn off the lights……

  42. 42
    Noz says:

    The housing shortage scam has always been the weapon of choice for people in the RE, banking, and related industries. It’s a scam.

    Looking at these graphs, it’s amazing prices still went up if you consider the traditional supply/demand pricing of products.

    WHAT A SCAM.

  43. 43
    Angie says:

    Thanks for sharing, Ella. Don’t let the door hit you on the backside on your way out!

  44. 44
    what goes up must come down says:

    love it or leave it Angie?

  45. 45
    patient says:

    “WHAT A SCAM”

    Yep, seems to be the same old lie “You better decide today because we only have a few left” that exists in all crummy sales.

  46. 46
    BrianL says:

    Is there a breakdown between condos and SFHs?

  47. 47
    Marc says:

    Tim,

    Like Matt the Engineer I question whether indexing to 2000 is meaningful. Your post presupposes that prior to 2000 supply and demand for housing were in some sort of balance. How can you make that assumption? Who’s to say that supply of new housing wasn’t well below demand or vice versa (in which case we’re even more screwed).

    There also seems to be an inconsistency as for the 2000 data. In your post you state “For the charts below I have taken data on the number of households and the number of housing units from the annual American Community Survey results from 2000 through 2007.”

    Then in # 29 you said: “Unfortunately this particular set of data was only gathered every ten years with the Census until the American Community Survey began in earnest in 2002.”

    I clicked on the ACS link and I’ll admit that I didn’t easily see the data you were referring to. How about a little help for the slow guy who doesn’t have time to figure it out on his own?

  48. 48
    The Tim says:

    I clicked on the ACS link and I’ll admit that I didn’t easily see the data you were referring to. How about a little help for the slow guy who doesn’t have time to figure it out on his own?

    1. Visit the Census Bureau Factfinder Website
    2. In the box on the top center of the page that says “Get a Fact Sheet for your community…” type “King County” and select Washington in the dropdown below, then click “GO”
    3. For 2000 data, click the “2000” tab
    4. Click the show more link next to the “General Characteristics” header.
    5. This page gives the total number of households and housing units.
    6. For 2002-2007 data, go back to the page you came to after step 2, and click the “data sets” link in the “NOTE” box at the top of the page, just under the 2006/2000 tabs.
    7. Select a year.
    8. Click “data profiles.”
    9. Choose geographic type “county” then state “Washington” then geographic area “King County” then click “Show Result”
    10. household numbers are on the “Social” page (see links on upper-left)
    11. housing unit numbers are on the “Housing” page.
  49. 49
    Marc says:

    Thanks Tim and hats off to your efforts. I do appreciate your work even if it looks like I’m just a contrarian.

  50. 50
    cosmos says:

    I concur with others who believe Seattle is on a downhill slide. I’ve been in the area 20+ years, the first 15 were spent in Seattle proper (Cap Hill & Greenlake). Now I live on the Eastside (years ago I never thought I’d say that), and I can’t imagine moving back in except on a short-term horizon to reduce a work commute.

    Every time I drive into Seattle, I’m amazed at the ever increasing congestion, delapidation, and filth. Just yesterday, near the corner of Broadway and Pike it appeared someone had dumped 20 or so large plastic bags of garbage on a street corner – the bags were ripped and garbage was everywhere. How does that happen? And why does it stay that way for hours, if not days?

    I expect to move from the area within 2 years. I’m looking forward to it.

  51. 51

    […] of new housing units in King, Snohomish, and Pierce County exceeded household growth by 60% (see this post for further details and citations). During this same time, incomes increased less than 30%, but […]

  52. 52

    […] of new housing units in King, Snohomish, and Pierce County exceeded household growth by 60% (see this post for further details and citations). During this same time, incomes increased less than 30%, but […]

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    TT says:

    Tim, usually you do very good work, but I think you missed some important details.

    http://www.census.gov/prod/2001pubs/c2kbr01-13.pdf – page 3 “Vacant units were subdivided into six housing market classifications: for rent; for sale only; rented or sold, not occupied; for seasonal, recreational, or occasional use; for migrant workers; and other vacant.” Suffice to say, there is some noise in the rough “vacancy” numbers.

    http://www.census.gov/hhes/www/housing/hvs/qtr108/q108def.html also provides the major definitions as well as highlighting two better statistics: “homeowner vacancy and rental vacancy.” These stats break out number of units currently looking for an occupant (for rent or for sale) over the total available pool of rental or purchase property.

    In 2006 in king county:
    Homeowner vacancy rate – 1.4 (national was 2.4%)
    Rental vacancy rate – 6.1 (national was 9.7%)
    Source:http://tinyurl.com/6gte37

    Other Vacant – 10,766 of 803,628 units, or 1.3%
    Source:http://tinyurl.com/6kod48

    In 2000 in king county:
    Homeowner vacancy rate – 1.2 (national was 1.6%)
    Rental vacancy rate – 4.2 (national was 8.0%)
    Source:http://tinyurl.com/5vwzps

    Other Vacant – 5,207 of 742,237 units, or .7%
    Source:http://tinyurl.com/5vsmto

    1.2% to 1.4% doesn’t seem like a huge change to me, so your argument that owner occupied housing is getting more plentiful seems over stated. Remember that this was 06, so the “people couldn’t sell so they rented” argument doesn’t work then.

    And in regards to your request for a fairy tale: when you do a comparison of Seattle to the rest of the nation based either on Rental availability or Houses for sale availability, we consistently have less vacancy than the nation as a whole. Less vacancy means fewer available units per household. You’re pretty good with supply and demand so I’ll leave that part to you. And they all lived happily ever after.

  54. 54
    The Tim says:

    TT, I guess I don’t get the point you’re trying to make. As I said @ 2 above, these graphs include all households and all housing units. I’m not trying to make any particular point about owner-occupied vacancy.

    The argument from the “wild price increases are justified” crowd has been that overall construction has not kept up with population growth, therefore the area is underbuilt. The point of this post is to refute that nonsense.

    I never said that Seattle was equally as overbuilt as other regions from 2000-2007. Note that nowhere in this post do I compare Seattle to any other region. That’s not the point.

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  56. 56

    […] Bureau, and at the present rate of population growth, we’ll be able to use up all of our excess housing inventory by July of next […]

  57. 57

    […] Census Bureau, and at the present rate of population growth, we’ll be able to use up all of our excess housing inventory by July of next […]

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