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Without Mom’s Income, Seattle is Unaffordable

The Seattle P-I is running an article about some interesting survey results regarding mothers’ attitudes toward working. Despite the fact that more mothers are working full-time, fewer think that it’s best for the family.

After generations of debate about working mothers, only about a fifth say full-time jobs are ideal, fewer than held those views 10 years ago, the Pew Research Center reported in a survey released Thursday.

Yet most of these women aren’t getting what they want. Although 60 percent of working mothers say part-time jobs were ideal, only 24 percent actually hold those positions, Pew reported, citing Bureau of Labor Statistics data.

How does this relate to housing, you ask? Well, why do you think they’re working full time when they believe their family would be better off if they didn’t?

Nicole Grant is one of those mothers looking for work-family harmony as an apprentice electrician and mother of a toddler. The 29-year-old can’t work part-time and says most employers simply haven’t adjusted to women in the workplace.

Most mornings Grant leaves her Columbia City home by 6 a.m., long before her 1-year-old son Flynn wakes, to get to work. Without her income, she and her husband, a general contractor, couldn’t afford to live in Seattle.

“Despite taking a lot of pride in my work, I’m regularly overwhelmed emotionally,” Grant added.

Now, the article doesn’t specify whether Mr. & Mrs. Grant are renting or paying a mortgage, but I suspect it’s the latter. Granted, even when renting, Seattle can be unaffordable for a family on a single below-median income. But don’t general contractors make a pretty decent wage? Let’s run some numbers…

Using the Center for Housing Policy’s online tool, we can compare the income required to afford to buy vs. rent in Seattle, and how the income of various occupations stack up. The tool doesn’t have an option for “general contractor,” so I selected “Construction Laborer” and “Construction Manager.” I think it’s safe to assume that as a general contractor, Mr. Grant’s income is somewhere between those two. Here’s what the situation looks like for a general contractor and an electrician buying a home in the Seattle area:

CHP: Buying in Seattle

It looks like Nicole Grant was right. According to the CHP, a $72,000 salary from her husband plus a $50,000 salary of her own only barely add up to enough to buy that Columbia City home. But maybe they’re renters. Let’s see how that looks…

CHP: Renting in Seattle

Oh my. It looks as though they would be able to afford to “live in Seattle” on just one income, even if her husband was making a construction laborer’s wage of just $18.67/hour ($38,839/year).

Clearly there is a lot of supposition here, and we don’t have the complete picture. Maybe they are renting, but couldn’t find a 2-bedroom apartment for under $900 per month (although ForRent.com shows plenty). Or maybe they “need” more than two bedrooms. However, it would appear that the need to “own” a house is more important to the Grants than Nicole being able to stay home, and avoid being “regularly overwhelmed emotionally.”

I have a feeling that’s the case for a large number of full-time working mothers. Home “ownership” has become so important, that people have become willing to sacrifice their financial, emotional, and physical well-being to obtain it. I’m not passing judgement on people’s personal choices, but I do have a problem with someone making a general statement like “we can’t afford to live in Seattle on just one income” when the truth is in fact “we can’t afford to buy a ridiculously overpriced home in Seattle on just one income.”

You make choices, and you live with them.

(Paul Nyhan, Seattle P-I, 07.13.2007)

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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.

49 comments:

  1. 1
    kpom says:

    Not only is there the housing bubble, but the idea of what consitutes a minimum scale of middle-class living has racheted up a lot over the decades. Compare the average square feet of a house built in 1975 vs. now, the current assumption that each kid gets his/her own room with a TV, etc. etc. etc. I bet the couple cited doesn’t drive around in ten year old cars either…

  2. 2
    Matt says:

    so, given your perspective, would you suggest buying or renting to that someone with a family that is coming into the Seattle market for the first time, with no home equity (ie not from CA), with more than the needed income (say, $125-200k), and assuming there are no other financial burdens?

  3. 3
    explorer says:

    Although the “idea” of how much space is needed for a middle class familiy has some merit, the costs per square foot seem to negate that as a main reason for lack of affordability. That’s the other side of the coin.

    We have crackerbox rentals and condos that seem to be promoted as the new measure of “affordable” that are DOUBLE or more the cost per sq foot than single family houses. Of course, you would also have to assume a family would actually want to live in a space that small. Most can’t forsee living like rats in a cage, be it in a rental or a condo (more and more they are becoming the same thing).

    I do agree that the fantasy of the “American Dream” has a lot to do with this self-imposed, and often unecessary stress. Sounds like the woman in the story needs to re-evaluate what is really important.

  4. 4
    uptown says:

    And once you add in the cost of child care and work related expences; does the second income make any sense at all while the child is too young for school?

  5. 5
    TJ_98370 says:

    Maybe there is truth to the old axiom – “Prices are dictated by what the market will bear.” With the dual income family becoming more of the norm than the stay-at-home mom, and more disposable income being available, real estate prices have risen acordingly.

    I am NOT saying that working mom’s are the cause of the current bubble.

  6. 6
    Matthew says:

    Tim,

    I’m not 100% sure what you’re comparing, but it *looks* to me like you’re comparing the cost of buying an average house/condo with the cost of renting an apartment. Is that correct?

  7. 7

    FAMILIES WITH KIDS LIVE IN TWO BEDROOM APARTMENTS?

    And double incomes with no kids get homes with yards?

    Not to worry, the apartments are wonderful places for kids to develop hope and patriotism for our country. They won’t go bad.

    No wonder we stopped inventing things 40 years ago.

  8. 8
    Melody says:

    Have you ever rented? Sometimes it can be areally nice option and other times completely and utterfly frustrating. I have had the apartment manager lose my rent check several times, been late with repairs, been forced out of my apartment because it was converting to condos, had the constantly changing of neighbors, noisy neighbors, have the rental rate increased several times, plus other issues.
    Now, owning a home can include a condo so not all of the problems are eliminated, like the potential for noisy neighbors, but a great deal of them are. You are able to build equity in your home to allow you to, one day, be done paying your mortgage payment and only take care of taxes etc. I’m not going to work forever and so I need something that I’ll be able to afford once I’m on a fixed income. Plus, the tax advantages help to offset the home repairs. You are able to modify your home in any manner you would like and build something for yourself and your family.
    While owning a home may not be for everyone, it’s one thing to rent because you chose the freedom, however many of us are renting simply because we have no choice; we cannot afford to own anything in Seattle.

  9. 9
    AM/PM says:

    My husband and I each bring home about 110k/year, yet we still can’t afford to live in DT Kirkland. I wonder if we should wait for the price to come down. The thing is, the expensive houses currently on the market, some of them were bought in 2005, will the sellers ever be willing to go below their original purchase price? I guess it depend if they used one of those ARM programs, with the rates expiring, they might just have to sell to get out. Should I wait?

  10. 10
    MisterBubble says:

    “We have crackerbox rentals and condos that seem to be promoted as the new measure of “affordable” that are DOUBLE or more the cost per sq foot than single family houses.”

    Ahem. I think you’re going to have to provide some proof for this particular wild assertion….

    There may be condos that are DOUBLE the cost per square foot of equivalent-quality SFH in Seattle (though I doubt it, and have never seen it), but it’s silly to suggest that apartments are renting for double the cost of SFH, on a square-footage basis — if anything, it’s the other way around.

    (Also, keep in mind: you can’t compare “luxury” condos and apartments with bamboo floors and granite countertops to turn-of-the-century craftsmen with mold and lead plumbing. You’re going to pay for those cherry cabinets and stainless appliances!)

  11. 11
    explorer says:

    You are correct MB about the Sq. ft. costs of rentals. they are indeed lower in most cases. I should have made that into two sentences. However, the “location” and the “view” — a real estate SALES concept, is more important than the size, utility costs, security, or amenites of the place. However, the CONDO’s that are rentals, particularly those purchased in the past two years, do reflect the mortage, and are proportionately higher in price, beyond what any so-called “improvements” would justify, in comparison to other rentals.

    I have been forced to look at another place to rent due to an immenent condo conversion, and that has been my anecdotal experience with rentals on the North End.

  12. 12
    Matthew says:

    who is the other guy posting under the name Matthew?

  13. 13
    The Tim says:

    CarlisleMatthew Said,

    I’m not 100% sure what you’re comparing, but it *looks* to me like you’re comparing the cost of buying an average house/condo with the cost of renting an apartment. Is that correct?

    That is correct. I realize that the average house is not comparable to a two-bedroom apartment as far as space is concerned, but what I was addressing was the quote in the article where Nicole Grant said that her family simply couldn’t afford to live in Seattle on one income. That’s frankly absurd if her general contractor husband is making even 60% of the median household income. Renting a smaller space isn’t what most people want, but it certainly is feasible.

    We have done plenty of comparisons of renting vs. purchasing roughly equivalent houses. The point I was making was that the mindset that says “I deserve to own a home, and I can’t live any other way” is self-defeating.

    And to address the comment above about a one-child family living in a two-bedroom apartment, I grew up with two brothers, both parents, and somehow we survived in three bedrooms with 1,300 square feet. I think a 3-person family can make do just fine in a 900 square foot, 2-bedroom apartment. It’s not ideal, but it’s not 3rd-world conditions or anything.

  14. 14
    The Tim says:

    Oh, and also, CarlisleMatthew, it would help reduce confusion if you would post as “CarlisleMatthew” rather than just “Matthew.”

    Thanks!

  15. 15
    ICEBERGE says:

    “My husband and I each bring home about 110k/year…”

    110K each per year?? Nearly a quarter million a year and you still can’t afford to buy in DT Kirkland? How can you make that much money and not afford a home? I simply don’t understand this. Do you have a 1,000,000 credit card balance or something?

  16. 16
    Lake Hills Renter says:

    If you don’t want confusion aboot who is who, or if someone is using your name, consider registering.

  17. 17
    Matthew says:

    I am registered.

  18. 18
    Queen Anne Condo says:

    Come on you cannot, cannot get a decent one bedroom for $700 in Seattle! Come on, if you want to be comfortable, just have that 800 square feet or so you are going to have to spend at least $1500.

  19. 19
    emcityjill says:

    Untrue! I live very comfortably on the north slope of queen anne, two blocks from a park, in a charming old TWO bedroom, with a deck and yard that costs me a hair less than 900$ :)

  20. 20
    wreckingbull says:

    I can believe that 220K/year does not go very far in downtown Kirkland. My guess is that the average SFH there is probably 5 times that amount.

    5x income is at the high end when it comes to traditional lending guidelines.

  21. 21
    Carlslematthew says:

    Apologies for the name confusion. I blame firefox, or a cookie. I dunno, but it changes my name back every time and I don’t always remember to change it. Is there any way of linking the usernames to the forums?

    On the subject of rent to own comparisons, I don’t mean to suggest that it’s not cheaper to rent. I’m renting right now, and sold a house a little while back.

    I do feel, however, that the housing decisions that a family (with kids) would make are vastly different from single people and young couples. I’m married, no kids, and still wouldn’t consider going back to apartment living, so I rent a house. Personal preference and it’s costing me more, but I’m happier doing so.

    It’s easy to confuse “need” with “want”. Myself, I “need” a house, even though I’m quite sure I wouldn’t die if I ended up in an apartment.

  22. 22
    Carlislematthew says:

    Apologies for confusion. Cookies, firefox, or something auto-fills and I sometimes forget to change. I’ll play with the browser and try and resolve.

  23. 23
    Lake Hills Renter says:

    I am registered.

    Wow, WordPress lets guest users post as the same name as registered users? That’s a major flaw.

  24. 24
    rose-colored-coolaid says:

    The title of this one totally confused me at first. I thought Mom meant help from rich parents.

    Anyways, there is good news from this report.

    A) Two income families caused this boom.
    B) Housing prices will always rise.
    C) We can safely conclude that the three income homes will cause the next price boom.
    D) Therefore, this analyst is predicting a massive increase in the number of polygamist households.

  25. 25
    SLTO says:

    “C) We can safely conclude that the three income homes will cause the next price boom.”

    in countries other than the USA that’s actually the norm… parents get a mortgage, children stay with them and pay for part of it…

    In CALI I know of way too many multiple income households… how about 5 median wage earners in one 2500sqft home…

    The concept is strange to most native/US born americans, however as more immigration goes on, the immigrants bring with them their culture where multiple-family single dwelling structures are normal, One family per bedroom – parents get the masters, son and wife gets one room, umarried daughter has another…and two brothers just out of high school share one bedroom.. granted they’re not all median wage earners in this real example… but this is happening NOW…

    The AMERICAN DREAM is achievable, but most non- US born Americans just have their version of it…

    So you can blame immigration for this run up in prices… too many hard-working immigrants willing to live in cramped quarters thinking that’s their American Dream… coz where they came from it was 5 families in 2 bedrooms and the masters bedroom was the living room…

  26. 26
    softwarengineer says:

    SLTO, THEY SAID THE SAME THING IN 1980’s SEATTLE REAL ESTATE BUBBLE

    It never happened. Two families can’t live in Seattle area homes [legally] anyway, they’re single family zoned. Also, there’s no parking available for the single families per house anyway in Seattle city limits, let alone cramming more in.

    Eventaully, immigrants currently breaking single family zoning laws will be prosecuted, the neighbors will complain and the police will have to step in.

    Remember the Boeing sign in 1971, the last one turn off the lights…..as home prices don’t go down and the subprime meltdown kills real estate in the next few years…that will be Seattle’s future.

    With approx. 50% price deceases after a 6 month foot dragging and a huge foreclosure surge; caused by far right wing phony liberal MSM Elites in denial [who support OVERPOPULATION slave labor pouring into Seattle]; there could be a resurgence in buying, especially if per capita wages go up and population decreases. [We should have raised interest rates several years ago to have prevented this INSANE FAR RIGHT OVERPOPULATION BUBBLE carnage].

    I see 8-10% interest rates by then too, to pay for all the bad loans from the past and foreign money’s reluctance to finance this FAR RIGHT American OVERPOPULATION mess is coming fast, especially as we stop buying their junk.

  27. 27
    SLTO says:

    “Eventaully, immigrants currently breaking single family zoning laws will be prosecuted, the neighbors will complain and the police will have to step in.”

    Sorry but that’s actually not accurate…

    http://www.seattle.gov/dpd/stellent/groups/pan/@pan/@publication/documents/web_informational/dpds_007439.pdf

    Seattle’s single family zoning law allows for up to 8 unrelated individuals in a single family dwelling or an unlimited amount of directly related individuals…
    so if they’re all related, you can’t legally kick them out from my understanding, but I don’t know for sure…

    Since all 8 of those folks could be wage earners…, that’s a big income (assuming a low of 40K each – 320K household)…

    Look at seattle streets, parking is already a problem… 3-5 cars per home, that’s all you need to see to know what’s going on… one in the garage, 2 on the driveway and 2 more on the street in front of the home… and if you think the police will stop these cars from parking… they won’t…

    any urban area – NYC, Chicago, LA, you can’t even park on your own frontage coz somebody else is parked there before you… and guess what you don’t own that parking space legally and unless they block your driveway you’re out of luck…

    I agree… in a year 8-10% rates will be norm… Chinese funny money is drying up… globalization is the big problem here… globalization is good when we’re on the receiving end, but not when it shifts the other way as it has been doing the last few years… 20 years ago made in USA was the gold standard, now I get a kick when I buy something and discover it’s made in the USA. Then again when 2 products are of comparable quality and one is made in USA and costs twice as much, it’s a tough choice which one to buy… so we’re all guilty in this regard… and if anybody here does not have a single item in their house that’s not made overseas, please speak up

  28. 28
    SLTO says:

    CORRECTION:

    and if anybody here does not have a single item in their house that’s made overseas, please speak up

  29. 29
    explorer says:

    “emcityjill said,
    on July 13th, 2007 at 4:14 pm
    Untrue! I live very comfortably on the north slope of queen anne, two blocks from a park, in a charming old TWO bedroom, with a deck and yard that costs me a hair less than 900$”

    I challenge you to find an EQUIVILENT place like that NOW in the current market for that price, especially in QA. You can’t do it.

  30. 30
    explorer says:

    Tim, I don’t disagree with the feasiblity of a 3 or 4 person family living in a two bedroom apartment. However, a lot of those are going away with conversions, and not nearly enough new apartments are being built of offset the loss. Even new construction condos are quite a strech to be within reach of a family like the one, and they often have even LESS sq. footage, and cost MORE per sq. ft, than a SFH. Not to mention the Dues…

    I don’t see the real value of living in an apartment with the responsiblities and costs of a condo. But the RE Industrial Complex does. Sorry, but the tax “advantages” don’t take into account the standard deduction, as was pointed out on this site, vs. the “hope” that equity building and inflation will make the overpriced and overvalued property as it stands now less of burden on the payments. I know what I can afford, and what I am willing to risk.

    That’s just relevant to my situation. I can understand other situations where it may be worth it.

    To agree with your point

  31. 31
    emcityjill says:

    explorer said,
    on July 14th, 2007 at 1:25 pm
    “I challenge you to find an EQUIVILENT place like that NOW in the current market for that price, especially in QA. You can’t do it.”

    You want to bet? No problem. North slope, east slope, west or south? If you’ve got sixty seconds, check out Craigslist.
    Try this: http://seattle.craigslist.org/see/apa/373923042.html
    This: http://seattle.craigslist.org/see/apa/373877075.html
    or this: http://seattle.craigslist.org/see/apa/373507611.html

  32. 32
    MisterBubble says:

    “However, a lot of [apartments] are going away with conversions, and not nearly enough new apartments are being built of offset the loss.”

    I think you need to ponder a new word: repartment.

    That’s how you describe the inevitable situation that arises when greedy landlords decide to turn their (otherwise profitable) apartments into condos, only to find that they’ve dived head-first into the receding waters of a speculative tidal wave.

    When these “condos” don’t sell (and they won’t), there are going to be a flood of very nice apartments hitting the market, pushing the costs of all lesser apartments down. For reference, please see Ballard in 2010.

  33. 33
    explorer says:

    Uh, you actually found ONE that was EQUILENT in the number of bedrooms, emcityjill. Does that 2bd for under 900 (barely), have all the same amenties as yours?

    I do look forward to the day that repartments force things down for the others. Hope there are more than a token number of “others” left by 2010. 2010?

  34. 34
    Alan says:

    emcityjill,

    Those are all one bedrooms and not equivalent to the two bedroom you are living in. How many square feet do you have?

    Congratulations on having an income that allows you to afford a $900k house.

  35. 35
    vipin says:

    Hi Tim,

    Great job on the new blog, and address, I know the wordpress choice is a good one. Will you check out our blogging platform and change the link onf your old blog address to http://www.MyTypes.com/vipin. I moved mine over to our own platform. Thanks!

  36. 36
    explorer says:

    Alan is correct. After looking at the middle link a second time, the title did NOT match the text. It’s a one bedroom.

    Sorry, emcityjill, you still have not proven me wrong. Remember, apples to apples…

  37. 37
    vipin says:

    Oh I guess, I should comment on the whole renters and queen anne and seattle area. Our family has a few rental places. I came home tonight and my wife had a business car of a Kellogg School business graduate, he wants to rent from us I guess. We are asking $1,250 for a 2br, 1bth place on the west slope of queen anne and guess what, we have more people wanting to rent than we expected. I think the rental market is only going to get hotter for the land lords, sorry. Moving people out is not a good thing to do, and being an immigrant my self, good karma is important to me.

  38. 38
    explorer says:

    Better be sure to check their credit and income, i.e. JOB, CAREFULLY vipin. I am complete with a lot of others who talk a good game to get the inside track on a rental, but cannot deliver. I have had a few potiential landlords insist upon talking to my SUPERVISOR, and it’s indeed not far from a job interview.

    The debt incurred from a top tiered Grad school is very high….Despirate times invite desparate measures… Not saying this MBA is a faker, but I am seeing a lot more desparate people out there…

  39. 39
    AM/PM says:

    Ok. Say we DO find a house for 900K in DT Kirkland (4 bed, 3.5 bath, doesn’t have to be brand new. But new enough and good quality built). Say with 30% down, we still have a mortgage of 600K. I simply can’t imagine owing 600K of debt. Not to mention mortgage will be around 3900 + insurance + property tax (with a rate of 6.75)
    Am I the only one think this is crazy?

  40. 40
    SLTO says:

    AM/PM

    No, you’re not the only one who thinks this is crazy… it is crazy!!!

    I make a bit less than you and I balked at a 500K mortgage… I could not imagine paying more than a third of my post-tax income (PITI) to home ownership….

    there are other expenses in life…. but each to his own priorities… my home is a roof over my head and storage for my toys…

    I would have gladly rented a nice home but wife didn’t want any of that… so we compromised and bought a much cheaper home to ride out this bubble… up or down we dont’ make much and don’t lose much…

    with the money you make appreciation/equity is nice but not that big a deal… most homes appreciated in the last 5 years less than what you make in a year… same thing though, if this bubble comes down hard, you’re likely out just a year’s salary (assuming your job is bubble proof)…

    My advise is to assess your current situation and see if it is long term or not… if long term ( the LT in SLTO) go and buy yourself something decent and comfortable, but don’t be left holding the bag when the bottom gives way…

    appreciation and investors in Redmond/Kirkland are banking on folks like you to make their dreams come true, wait a year and save another 50K for downpayment…. or get a 2 year lease on a decent home that’s not owned by an investor (most non-investor landlords will consider 2 year leases for good folks)… then when this thing starts to make sense buy yourself a dream house…

    That 300K could make a ton of money if invested well….

    I do know the big problem is expectations and appearances, when you’re in that income bracket there is social pressure to keep up with the Jones’es…

    When somebody makes a comment I just pretend I have huge school loan debts (I don’t) and they go AHH ok… and then the topic changes…

    Good luck on your home buying… I’m a broken record but if not for this blog I would’ve bought a 600K home and sacrificed to make PITI, but then I learned of the possibility that a bubble existed and readjusted my expectations… I’m glad I did..

    Last thing: median home prices are unaffordable to most median workers – it takes 3x median income to buy the median home — comfortably… that is not sustainable and the more expensive your home, the bigger your exposure is…

  41. 41
    softwarengineer says:

    SLTO: THE AVERAGE HOUSEHOLD IN SEATTLE IS 1.2 WORKERS

    Double incomes are rare anywhere in America. Its been that way for decades. Unemployment rates are low, but basically we have one income per family in America.

    To quote an Independent, Lou Dobbs, “when did it take two incomes to survive?” Count you and your wife very lucky with two incomes, but I’m sorry, its just not the norm, nor will two incomes pull us out out of a nearterm housing price crash….there aren’t enough jobs out there.

  42. 42
    emcityjill says:

    Oh bollocks! I guess I did post two one bdrms. Still, you are certainly able to conduct your own craigslist searches for the sake of being best informed, rather than simply argumentative.

    For 150$ more than the hair under 900$ mentioned above, there are many options on Q.A. in the 2 bedroom range. Bear in mind, this is simply craigslist, and does not factor in the loads of signs I see every day stuck in yards and windows declaring availability.

    http://seattle.craigslist.org/search/apa?query=queen+anne&minAsk=min&maxAsk=1100&bedrooms=2

  43. 43
    Queen Anne Condo says:

    Well, I do not believe your $900 unit includes new appliances, washer and dryer in the unit, underground parking, granite, etc., or that your $900 2 bedroom compares with the comfort of my 150K studio. A garden apartment and coin laundries in some dank basements … uh sounds like college living to me. To live in comfort, on ground level not a basement, in clean building with a washer, a dryer, a dishwasher, etc., you are going to pay at $1000 today. You can find lots of older units with run down appliances, coin laundries, etc. … but that is not what I am talking about. I am talking about comfort, not excessive luxury … just middle of the road comfort.

  44. 44
    Queen Anne Condo says:

    Oh and by the way the post was to point out that you could not find a two bedroom for $700. You prove the point, you are paying $900 for older construction, do you have a coin laundry? Are you above ground or in a basement?

  45. 45
    Joel says:

    When somebody makes a comment I just pretend I have huge school loan debts (I don’t) and they go AHH ok… and then the topic changes…

    Hey, my wife and I are starting to do this too. We’re looking around the rental market (apartments and houses) and people keep asking, “Have you thought about buying?”. It gets annoying explaining over and over again how this is very bad time to buy almost any property, especially when they always condescendingly (since we’re so young) disagree with us. My wife tried the “Oh, we can’t afford to buy a house.” tack, but they countered with “How about buying a condo and then using the massive equity after two years to buy a house?”. I think maybe we’ll go with “I just declared bankruptcy.”

  46. 46
    emcityjill says:

    I have a ground floor apartment in a clean, one-story building with a washer and dryer in my unit. Wood floors, deck, blinds, and I got a new bathroom when I moved in. You’re right, however, about it being an older (though I prefer “charming” –I like a little character,and half the fun in Q.A. is how it’s chock full of historic abodes) building with a lack of granite and stainless steel appliances. I have not heard my bananas complain that the non-granite countertops are uncomfortable, but I’ll check when I get home.

    I still think a $1000 is quite cheap when compared with HOA costs and mortgages.

  47. 47
    Queen Anne Condo says:

    Yes, $1000 is quite cheap. I pay about the same for half the space but am happy to do so because when looking around QA, I could not find anything clean enough for under $1000. I’ve lived in “charming” buildings before. Now that I am older, I want comfort. I ended up buying a 467 sq foot condo for 150K. This is the bottom price I would pay for a studio. I plan on keeping this unit for over 10 years. Anything over 150K for a studio seems excessive to me. My bananas are quite comfortable and very cool sitting on the granite counters. The cat also seems to pefer the granite counters on hot days. Its a trade off like anything else. The newer units on QA seem better priced rent wise than what I am getting at the studio. For instance, I could rent at Lumen for about $1500 for a 1 bedroom. I would never spend (nor can I afford) 500K for 600 sq feet or so of space. Lumen seems way over-priced.

  48. 48
    Erik says:

    Whoa…how is living with granite countertops and stainless steel appliances, but with your bed in your living room closer to “living in comfort” than living in a one bedroom apartment with coin-op machines in the laundry room? I’m sorry, I don’t get that.

    One of my pet peeves with most of the new construction condos in town is that the agents keep trying to convince me that a gas fireplace is more important that being able to stretch my arms without hitting the walls. Good grief.

    Ah, well. I suppose that living in a wee room does help enforce discipline when it comes to making one’s bed regularly.

  49. 49
    Lumpeninvestor says:

    How nice, our goverment is hard at work on the problem.
    (So protect your pocketbook!)

    [KOMO-TV] Seattle city officials looking for ways to make housing more affordable

    There are lots of juicy quotes in this article.

    Developers said land and construction costs are so high that they can’t bring prices down. They said even though they have to sell or rent their properties at higher prices, the investors aren’t making any more money.

    …but the city says a more realistic incentive might be to go through the employers. They’re looking at getting Seattle companies to give their workers a loan for the down payment, which would be forgiven after five or seven years of employment with the company.

    Salaries are not keeping up with the price of housing.

    “It would be helpful if the tax rates weren’t so high,” he said.

    … the city is offering down payment assistance for those who qualify.

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