wide view of a dilapidated craftsman home, peeling paint, broken windows, holes in roof, on a Seattle neighborhood street on a rainy day

Homebuyers are taking on monthly payments 59% higher than at the 2007 peak of the previous housing bubble.

As of February, the monthly payment for the median-price single-family home sold in King County at current mortgage rates was $3,945.

The good news: This is down from an eye-watering $4,758 in October.
The bad news: This is up dramatically from just a year prior, and 59% higher than what we saw at the peak of the previous housing bubble.

King County Single-Family Monthly Mortgage Payment

Even if you adjust the July 2007 peak payment for inflation, it only comes out to about $3,586 in 2023 dollars, meaning that the October 2022 peak was 34% higher, and as of February homebuyers are still looking at payments 10% above the highest level recorded before the last housing bubble burst.

I don’t have a lot of commentary to add to this, just to say that this is clearly not sustainable, and in my opinion it’s not mortgage rates that need to come back down, it’s home prices.

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King County Affordability Index

So… what the heck is going on with the Seattle housing market?

Since we’ve been gone for so long, I thought I’d start back up with somewhat of an overview post. Let’s just take a look at what’s going on in the Seattle-area (King County) housing market recently.

One of the biggest topics on everybody’s mind lately is home prices, so let’s start there…

Eliminating single-family zoning is a good idea, and Christopher Kirk’s Seattle Times editorial is a steaming pile of garbage

An editorial by Christopher Kirk in the Seattle Times yesterday was so stupid I had no choice but to finally come back here and respond.

Here’s the link: Statewide rezoning of single-family neighborhoods is a terrible idea

Now, before we start it’s worth noting that this piece is described as a “Special to The Times” and the author is not a journalist. He’s not an economist, either. He’s also not an urban planner, and as you’ll see he’s obviously not a historian. He’s an architect whose primary accomplishments listed on his bio attached to the piece are having “served on public historic preservation and design review boards.”

So with that context, let’s get into it…

Around the Sound: Still a dismal market for buyers everywhere

Let’s take a look at our stats for the local regions outside of the King/Snohomish core. Here’s your October update to our “Around the Sound” statistics for Pierce, Kitsap, Thurston, Island, Skagit, and Whatcom counties…