Even Mount Vernon is Overheated

Even all the way up in the rural tulip town of Mount Vernon they’re feeling the effects of the housing boom, with home prices and population exploding.

To hear those in the know talk, Mount Vernon is the “go-to” place in Skagit Valley for homes over the next 15 years.

In that time the county is expected to reach a population of 150,000, or about 45 percent more than what it is now.

Is an increase of ~43,000 people in fifteen years an “explosive growth rate”? If it is, what could be the reason for this growth? Are a lot of people moving up from Seattle to escape the housing madness there, or is it mostly people from out of state?

According to the Northwest Multiple Listing Service, which includes 14 counties in the Puget Sound region and Garfield County east of the mountains, the average price of a house sold in this county last June was $273,016, while the median price (the mid-point between lowest and highest) was $239,000.

For perspective, even using “creative financing,” the most I could get pre-approved for on my engineer’s salary was $275,000. I would barely be able to get a loan for the average house in Mount Vernon, a place where there surely aren’t many jobs that pay like mine. Where are the people who are moving here getting the money to pay this much for housing?

(Michael Barrett, Skagit County Business Pulse, 08.07.2005)

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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. Tim also hosts the weekly improv comedy sci-fi podcast Dispatches from the Multiverse.


  1. 1
    Anonymous says:

    So now we’ve got a housing bubble stretching from Mt. Vernon to Olympia.

    One can make an argument that they are running out of land in Seattle in part due to it’s unique geography. If population growth is as fast as they project for Mt. Vernon then there’s going to be a hell of a lot of long distance commuting going on.

    If gas prices remain high and even rise it may put a damper on the commuting desire.

    Me, I’m just waiting for this bubble to deflate.

  2. 2
    Anonymous says:

    This is especially depressing if these sprawl suburbs push out past the outlet malls and ruin forever the magnificent Skagit farmland.

    OMG, have you seen the monstrous Levittowns they’re building on the high flanks of Issaquah?

  3. 3
    Anonymous says:


    That’s pretty cool that you started a blog on this topic for Seattle. I found you on Ben Jone’s blog.

    I’ve been looking for investment RE around N. Seattle/S. Snohomish Cty. and can’t believe how ridiculous the prices are. By my calculations (based on rents) anywhere from 25 to 50 percent over-priced.

    I own my house out right so I wanted to buy a rental so I could itemize on my tax return. Guess it’s better to wait…

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