Gas Prices & Home Buying

With gas prices passing another big round number lately, there’s been a fair amount of talk about how the high price of fuel is affecting people’s daily lives. When it comes to the real estate market, common knowledge says that higher gas prices will hit home prices in the suburbs and exurbs, while helping to strengthen prices in the “downtown core” and “close-in” neighborhoods.

Financially speaking, I have to say I can’t really buy that. I’ll use a somewhat extreme scenario to illustrate why. Let’s say you’ve got a 30-mile commute from Sultan to Redmond (one of my former coworkers did that—yuk), and that your car gets a decent but not great 25 miles to the gallon. At $2.50 per gallon, you were spending $30 a week (~$120 a month) on gas for the commute. At today’s $4.00 per gallon, that is up to $48 a week (~$192 a month), a difference of $72 per month, or $900 more per year.

So lets say you decide to move in closer, to Kirkland or Woodinville. Now your commute is just 6 miles, and a week’s worth of commuting costs you just $10, saving you a grand total of $1,900 per year.

That doesn’t seem like nearly enough of a price difference to make up for the much more expensive cost of living close-in. It’s certainly possible that most people don’t actually do the math, and make irrational decisions based on their gut and that “pain at the pump” feeling, but mathematically the decision to move closer just because of higher gas prices doesn’t really make sense.

To me, what’s far more important than gas prices is commute time. I personally would never want to live much further away than about a half hour from my place of work. Time with my family is more important than having a huge house that I never get to spend any time in.

What about you? Do gas prices really figure into your decision about where to buy, or are things like commute time, neighborhood, schools, etc. more important?

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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
    Alan says:

    I expect that rising gas prices will raise the price of rent close to major employment areas.

  2. 2
    NJ says:

    I agree. Gas prices alone won’t make much of a difference. But the rising population of this area (meaning more commute headaches), combined with high gas prices and busy roads will be the breaking point for many. So I think huge employment areas (Bellevue/Redmond/Seattle) will see less of a price decrease in homes than say sammamish.

  3. 3
    vboring says:

    time of commute is far more important than fuel prices. for people driving in and working downtown, they’ll spend way more on parking than on fuel.

    also, i like to be in a walkable community instead of a soulless strip-mall suburb.

    admittedly, if i were looking to buy, i’d be concerned about school districts and i have no idea how the close-in options compare to suburban schools.

  4. 4

    Maybe there’s a psychological reason why people over-weight gas prices in their choice of a place to live. You buy a house once, and don’t think every day about what you paid for it because the mortgage is the same very month. But you pay for gas frequently, and you see the price go up, so it’s more salient.

    Schools, commute time, neighborhood type will all figure into home prices more than the price of gas . But cities are called urban centers for a reason- not only do people usually commute to work, but also to other things like sports and cultural events. And if you don’t get 25 miles to the gallon, it’s even worse.

  5. 5
    NostraDamnUs says:

    Buy a Prius.

  6. 6
    Mammoth says:

    We live in Kingston and commute to Seattle. It’s a long commute – 2¼ hours each way – which weighs upon us like a ball and chain, but we would never consider moving closer in.

    It is a better quality of life (yes, despite the long commute); we love our property with its fruit trees, garden, ponds & stream. In life you must weigh the good against the bad and decide what is worth the effort and what isn’t.

    Long-term plan is to ditch the Seattle jobs & commute, get closer-to home (albeit lower-paying) jobs and build up our small plant nursery business to make up for the difference in payscale between Seattle vs. Kitsap County.

    BTW, a monthly Puget Pass – which covers the bus on both sides of Puget Sound plus the ferry – costs just over $180/mo. But the flip side is that we take public transportation from our house to work and back, which not only spares us from the irritations of driving but also significantly reduces the cost of gas & maintenance of our vehicles.


  7. 7
    Gill says:

    The Tim —

    I think you hit the nail on the head with the combination of both scenarios — and I’ll throw in a third — smaller, energy efficient homes with walkable business, parks, etc.

    If you calculate the actual savings in gas and energy costs of a shorter commute and a smaller home you’d probably only be saving between $2K and $5k a year but if you add convenience and proximity to work (shorter commute) into it you’ve got a big psychological difference that occurs.

  8. 8
    Mirtika says:

    I think that for folks who value living close to work A LOT, that renting is smarter than buying. That way, if you change jobs, you just switch apartments rather than going through the pain int he keister of buying/selling again..and again. After alll, no one is guaranteed job security. You may change jobs quite a bit. (Hubby worked at one tech biggie for 19 years before latest lay-off, and who knows how long at this next big techie.) Changing bought houses would be a pain. Changing rentals less so.

    So, just rent if you need to be close to work, I say. If what you want is a house that suits you/is affordable/and you want to be in it longish term, then get used to commuting (usually).

    Although I’m waiting to see where new job places hubby, and we may well be looking to sell this place and then rent there. I think I want flexibility for future more than dream home now. With a wonky economy, being flexible is a really good thing. Shoot, we could be in Seattle now had we not been shackled to a home in a dead market. Or San Diego. :)


  9. 9


    There’s another factor to put into the witches brew pot of high oil prices and that’s high food prices too. Food is 90% energy cost. But it doesn’t matter if you live in downtown Seattle or suburbs, food will eat you alive. The suburbs offer stores like Winco and Costco; so perhaps living in the suburbs is cheaper than the city?

    I just got back from the grocery store and bought a $200 supply of food for 3 people [two of them are hungry teens], a few days worth? LOL

    I imagine the price downward spiral of housing will intensify everywhere in Seattle with more energy increases as hyper-inflation for the necessities makes buying a big mortgage out of reach, unless you starve to death or heat your McMansion at 50 degrees.

    $5/gal gas just makes the real estate market far worse all over.

  10. 10
    singliac says:

    I’m conflicted on this one. I really enjoy walking around Wallingford/Freemont/Ballard with my family. I love the fact that you can ride your bike everywhere. As much as we make fun of the home-buyers who are obsessed with Ballard, I can definitely see the appeal.

    On the other hand, I always breathe a sigh of relief when I go back home to my apartment (just east of Renton). I don’t have to worry about parking meters. Instead, I have a quiet bike trail, a river full of fish, and lots of green space.

    When I buy, I’ll be looking for a combination of short commute, affordable, and quiet.

  11. 11
    Dogboy87 says:

    As many others have already intimated, rising fuel costs alone is not going to be a huge factor. True, the psychological weight of paying more every time you’re at the pump far outweighs the true fiscal impact but unless you’re incredibly short-sighted, you’re not suddenly going to move because of that. It definitely is, though, the tipping point. Constant grumblings about traffic and commuting, the broader social trend towards going green (as insincere as most of that trend seems to be … in my very cynical opinion), the increasing allure of urban centers or, at least, faux urban villages (has anyone seen that Highlands monster out in Issaquah?) has been driving people towards more dense living situations. Increasing fuel prices (I wouldn’t be surprised to see $6/gallon by next summer) is simply the proverbial “last straw.”

    Personally, I’d like to see a housing model more akin to pre-WWII — increasing density and smaller homes. I really enjoyed the recent REDFIN article about the decrease in home sizes and the concomitant death of the McMansions. I don’t think we can or should return to that exact model from the 1930s but we can and should rethink those models.

  12. 12
    singliac says:

    good point, swe

  13. 13
    Gill says:

    Sounds like you have a nice place singliac!

    I may be a little obsessed w/ Ballard, but there’s a reason for it — it’s cool as hell! : )

  14. 14
    Gill says:

    Also, we have Fred Meyer — very similar to the suburban megastores, though not quite on the Costco scale.

  15. 15
    patient says:

    I think I’m pretty much the norm. If I could comfortably afford a nice place close to work including continuing to max out our 401k’s, save to enable our kids to attend any college, continue to enjoy yearly vacation trips and pay for hobbies I would buy close in. If I can’t it doesn’t matter what the gas prices are the only choices will be renting close to work or buying further out. SInce I think this is or will become pretty typical prices close-in should logically suffer until they can ccompete for buyers. We are pretty well off with two good incomes and savings enough for a downpayment far above the price range our incomes can cover in monthly costs counting the expenses listed above.

  16. 16
    jesse says:

    Gas prices are such a small portion of total spend. It would only have an effect on what car I decide to buy next. Living close to work/amenities is big but for others having space away from the city is more important. I think you’re right that the gas price isn’t a major consideration and I think most people are rational about it.

  17. 17
    Keith says:

    $1,900 per year, two wage-earners (commuters), and now that’s $3,800 per year. There’s a very simple formula for turning this into a perpetuity – divide by the current interest rate. Ignore for a moment if this is the interest rate you would receive versus pay, and assume 6%. That makes the value of the perpetuity $63K. To most people, that’s a number that would get their attention.

  18. 18
    vboring says:


    ballard is ok, i guess. i like it well enough to rent there. but in terms of commuting, it hardly qualifies as “close-in”

    bus routes being what they are, it takes almost as long to get from downtown to ballard as it does to get to shoreline. buses to 85th NW in the Bryant neighborhood take about half as long as it takes to get to market street from the columbia tower.

    in the summer, the situation is significantly worse, since market street is often stopped with traffic going to the beach and the 15th st bridge always seems to be up for boats.

    if it takes 40 minutes to get to Ballard from downtown, does it still qualify as “close-in”?

  19. 19
    pragmatic says:

    vboring, I believe “close-in” is being defined as living within the city limits as opposed to commuting to Seattle downtown from Puyallup, as no less than 10 people in my office do. 7 miles on the bus, though taking 40 minutes as it can, is better than 40 miles by car/train/bus like many people I work with do. I bus from Northgate to downtown, and I consider that close-in compared to half of the people I work with.

  20. 20


    Its grim out there bubble brains, and to quote Springsteen, “Those jobs ain’t comin’ back”. The jobs that support Seattle and the rest of America, that is [and if we don’t buy stuff, don’t expect the rest of the world to buy its own stuff]. This peak energy dilemma we’re in right now is fueling the globalism real estate demise like gasoline, as wages in America collapse simultaneously [i.e., Seattle does not live in a fish bowl away from the rest of America].

    A good website I stumbled on lately (its socialist and I don’t really like it, but a lot of you MSM supporters would call it conservative anyway), but it has some great salient economic facts not found or reported by the MSM. Here’s its conclusion in part [enjoy]:

    “..International worker solidarity is all but nonexistent in global productions chains. Cross-border labor organizing efforts which have historically been impeded by lack of legal jurisdiction and government hostility have recently been paralyzed by the heightened international border security measures mandated by the ubiquitous war on terror.

    The current global labor situation is problematic. Workers around the world are pitted against one another in a tiered international labor market controlled by big capital and underwritten by the most powerful states in history. Isolated by the absence of an organized left at both the national and international levels, working people are facing an increasingly precarious future. Without effective political action, living and working conditions for the majority of the citizens in North America and the world are going get a lot worse before they get any better…”

    The rest of Richard Vogel’s unique URL:

    I like the part where the foreign owned plants in the USA moving south to non-union lands employ like $10-15/hr workers; where our older midwest industries are being replaced, and were/are paying a real estate livable wage, about $26/hr.
    Grim future indeed for the kids.

  21. 21
    Leo says:

    I don’t think gas prices alone make the decision, but they could be the straw that breaks the camel’s back.

    People already realize that moving far out will cost them time. But now it’s going to cost them money, too. What used to be close call in favor of moving far out will become a close call in favor of staying closer to the city core.

    I also think most people don’t value their time appropriately. The dollar amount that a commute costs you is a lot easier to calculate than the fraction of your life that you waste by commuting. It’s a nice, hard number that makes it easier to base a decision on.

  22. 22
    Gill says:

    I think Ballard is ‘close-in’ no matter how you look at it — I’m not sure which bus you’re taking, but it takes me 15-20 min to get to Belltown from the Ballard High School area.

    If I bike it’s 20 minutes every time.

    Also, I’m not just talking about downtown but Seattle proper. You can get to almost anywhere in city limits by bus or bike within 1/2 hour and you don’t have to pay for gas to do it.

  23. 23
    rose-colored-coolaid says:

    Is it possible that purchasing for a cheaper commute is actually a rational bet on the future price of fuel? In your scenario, I’m locking in (assuming I keep my job or continue working in the city) a short commute for the long haul.

    I’m just playing devils advocate here, because I think the valuation on properties in certain close-in locations is so hopelessly overpriced that it truly is irrational. My real take is that it’s the time that’s valuable. If someone makes $30 an hour at work, they can reasonably value their time at that rate. So an extra half hour each way 20 days a month has a net value to that person of perhaps $600. That doesn’t entirely explain why one area would cost $550k and another only $350k, but it probably comes a lot closer than the gas does.

  24. 24
    jon says:


    You analysis is correct as far as it goes, but it assumes that gas will always be available at $4/gal. If you assume that cost of gas will go up at 3% per year, then the actual value is $126K. If you put a dollar value on time saved, then the difference is much larger. That value of time saved is why Medina and Mercer Island prices are what they are.

  25. 25
    Michael says:


    Sorry but I have to call BS on this one. I worked in one of those midwestern plants that you are talking about. It was my first job out of high school in Indianapolis Indiana. My Teamster Union wage in 1990 was $4.25 on hour for night shift. I also had to pay the union a negotiating fee that was somewhere around $50 a month.

    When the Union talks about $26 dollar an hour jobs they are talking about guys with 20 or 30 years on the job. What they fail to mention is that those guys sacrificed the younger workers salaries to hold onto their wage and bennies. I would have to be crazy to be in the teamsters because I was never going to make $26 an hour. They would just keep padding the older guys benefits and salaries at the expense of new workers. When my uncle worked at the same plant in the 60s he broke the all time packing record and got his ass kicked by the Union reps for making it harder on other workers.

  26. 26
    jon says:


    $600/mo for 12 months is $7200/yr. Assuming the wage goes up by 3%, and you use an interest rate of 6%, the value of that annuity is $240K. Double that for two incomes and add gas.

    People can’t actually afford to pay that in cash, so they buy at the closest distance that they can afford. But the value per mile is such that when close-in housing becomes affordable, no one is interested in outlying areas. That’s why outlying areas fall so much faster than close in areas.

  27. 27
    Mikal says:

    We are going to see gas at $8 a gallon within ten years. Run the numbers then.

  28. 28
    b says:

    Buying anywhere long term based on your current job is a stupid bet. The best you can do is buy somewhere that your most probable jobs will be kind of close no matter what. This basically means buying somewhere in King County if you are going to work somewhere in King County. I used to live in downtown Atlanta. It really helped me a lot when I got a job out in the suburbs. Why was my job out there? Because it was a software company who saw no reason to pay downtown prices. I think the big moves of companies like Amazon, etc, to SLU will be a bust in 10 years. They are probably getting sweetheart deals right now so it works out, but have no reason to actually be downtown once that deal goes away.

    I live in Silicon Valley right now, which can best be described as one enormous, endless suburb. Downtown San Jose has as many big buildings as Bellevue, but with twice the population of Seattle. I live near downtown, but it does not help me very much since the companies (including the one I work for) are all over the place. If you want to see what the future of cities is going to be like for tech heavy areas, this is it. Dead downtown full of hotels and a few random office buildings, and miles upon miles of 1-3 story buildings spread out everywhere and housing every big name tech company you’ve ever heard of.

    Future trends will tell you that rather than moving in-city being the wave of the future, moving anywhere and commuting over your internet connection will be what happens for most white collar workers. I think people placing long term bets on things moving to higher density and closer downtown are not looking at the big picture. Fuel is getting more expensive and information is getting cheaper, that is all you need to know.

  29. 29
    jon says:

    The claim that we would be commuting over the internet has made for a while now. To the extent that works, those jobs are not in the Seattle area anymore. All the jobs that remain in high cost areas are jobs that cannot be offshored, and they cannot be telecomuted either.

    Amazon likes to stay downtown because that is where recent grads like to live. Once they get kids, those workers aren’t interested in being on-call anyway, so they leave Amazon and take a job in the burbs. So Amazon will be very happy in SLU because there is a never ending supply of new grads willing to be on-call. The Amazon software jobs that don’t require being on-call are in India, Bulgaria, etc.

  30. 30
    b says:

    jon –

    The transition is slow for sure, but so is any fundamental shift like this. In my experience, tech companies have many people who work from home. Most often several days a week rather than fulltime and especially people with long commutes. We have SF workers who WFH 2-3 days a week because the commute is shitty enough that they are more productive that way. As this becomes more and more common place I see it taking over for everyone. Telecommuting all of the time is difficult, telecommuting some of the time is much less difficult (orders of magnitude almost). Flexible hours of operation and not being in office much will negate any long commute times or sitting in traffic, which is what the real problem is. Most people don’t mind a longish drive, with little traffic, a few times week. And even at pricey gas it would not be a big hit. Its the daily grind in stop and go traffic that gets you.

    The jobs outsourced are those where it is cost effective. The same goes with telecommuting. I’ve worked with outsourced teams and there are many problems and hidden costs. Their being located outside of the physical office is the least of them.

  31. 31
    Mikal says:

    Amazon has a 100 year lease in the old hospital building so try again.

  32. 32

    don’t buy a prius…get a Honda Fit…it’s half as much dough and a great car. We got one this year and LOVE it.

  33. 33
    Sandy says:

    Another thing to be looking at is public transit. Where are routes, or where are routes going to go? I mentioned this elsewhere in comments but here in Mukilteo we’re pretty excited about the rail station with the line to Seattle opening up on May 31. To me, after traveling pretty extensively around the world, it is amazing to me that a city our size has so little in the way of viable public transit. NO, I do not consider the bus viable–though here in Mukilteo we do have two pretty good express busses going right into Seattle and Bellevue. I used to ride the Seattle one years ago when I lived on Whidbey Island and worked in Seattle (and you thought YOUR commute was bad!!).

  34. 34
    Sandy says:

    Also, consider that in the US, we still pay about a quarter what they do in other parts of the world. Gas is $4 a gallon here, in Japan it’s more like $4 a liter. That gap is going to narrow as demand in Asia heats up–and it’s not going to be from our prices coming down.

  35. 35
    Mikal says:

    Most countries have high taxes on oil which makes the population rely on mass transit. Their leaders saw this coming years ago. How can anyone be surprised by this? Gas is rising so much because the dollar is worthless mostly due to another $5 trillion dollars of debt taken on by the US to support tax cuts and the war.

  36. 36
    TJ_98370 says:

    Rhonda – We were looking at a Honda Fit this last weekend. For a small car it has incredible storage capacity. Purchase price is really good also. We test drove a “sport” model with an automatic transmission. I was unimpressed. If you want a inexpensive car that is a reliable “grocery getter”, it is a good choice, but would you drive it to Spokane? We are seriously considering the Mazda M3 hatchback with the 2.3 litre engine. It has great gas mileage, practical, fun to drive, and I don’t feel like I am pushing it at freeway speeds.

  37. 37
    jd says:

    yes mikal, and how can our senate have the nerve to “sue” OPEC over price-gouging. Who thinks that the US still has any world-wide respect to try and influence a country and its resources??? Not like it would change anything anyways because our dollar will continue to sink as long as we’re pumping fake money into Bear Stears, Iraq, Haliburton, Shell, etc. The Fed is trying to plug a bursting damn with bubble gum and once (or if) a Dem is in power, it’ll be released and 2008 will look like heaven compared to ’09. I hear Ukraine has pink ponies. I’m moving

  38. 38
  39. 39
    Yaoyao says:

    gas price isn’t a big deal here, but commute time, neighborhood are definitely important. I second Mikal above. Japan and Europe saw this coming long time ago and was able to prepare their people by taxing gas heavily, why can’t Americans/Chinese/Indians do the same?

    I did a calculation that says by taxing gas at $7/gallon (similar to japan/europe), there’s revenue to abolish income tax. Not that i’d want to abolish income tax, but tax rebate for middle/low class would sure come handy to compensate high food price/energy price.

  40. 40
    Yaoyao says:

    Sueing OPEC may not work. But if all the oil consumer countries band together, US/China/India joining Europe and Japan to impose anti-cartel 200% tax on oil, it will be clamp the demand enough that OPEC will feel the pain. In the end, it might even make raw crude cheaper.

    Would Americans rather have cheap gas than $2k/person/year income tax rebate? My guess is most americans would rather have income tax rebate, then they can find ways to reduce their gas consumption. I’m polling on my website, let me knoww.

  41. 41
    inPDX says:

    Interesting flipside of high gas prices, at least in PDX, is that traffic is less congested in the mornings, which ecourages to drive to work more often since my bike commute is longer than driving to work (though it costs me less in gas to ride my bike).

  42. 42
    Ben says:

    I think that one of the effects of the gas prices will change my perspective on Real Estate, and that is that gas prices drive food prices, and high food prices make me want to have my own land where I can have a vegetable garden and grow some of my own veggies.

    I already live 4 miles from work. I wish that more people evangelized living closer to work, because that has many good side effects. Everybody halving their distance from home to work would have a similar effect to having everybody double the gas mileage of their cars, but people talk about mileage more than distance from work for some odd reason.

  43. 43
    TJ_98370 says:

    Yaoyao- Interesting perspective. Do you really think the American public would accept a gas tax increase right now? Didn’t I read somewhere that a gas tax repeal was proposed?

  44. 44
    Keith says:


    Absolutely – great point. I think I’ve mentioned on this blog before that we moved to Mercer Island last month, but I don’t think I mentioned that we moved from Medina! I was born on Clyde Hill, went to MIHS, but the most relevant point is that my late mother drilled into me over and over the real estate mantra of “location, location, location”! It didn’t really factor into our decision to relocate, but we both work from home and my wife essentially commutes once a week to / from SeaTac ( I go to Redmond once or twice a week).

    With respect to a comment I made a week or so ago about software and medical technology being key to the continued growth of “Cascadia”, we had a neighborhood meet-and-greet at our neighbor’s this past weekend and when I brought this up, 4 out of 4 of the women worked in health care and 4 out of 4 of the men worked in software. Spooky.

  45. 45
    Yaoyao says:


    Americans will say NO to any proposal to hike gas tax. However, if the question is framed:
    Would you rather pay $.18/gallon gas tax, or, rather get $2k per person per year ($8k for family of 4) in tax rebate while paying $7/gallon gas tax (note you have some control over how much gas you uses)?

    I think Americans would do the math, and choose the latter. On my website there’s a petition and more detailed information:

    This is the post I ran some numbers about this choice:

  46. 46

    TJ_98370, Yes…we’d drive the Fit to Spokane. My hubby and I fight over who gets to drive the Fit. It’s fun to drive–I feel like a kid…I can plug in my iPod and go (not too fast). I used to be a luxury car junky…I’m far from that now. Now instead of fancy wood, stereo and leather, I’m more pleased by gas mileage.

    We didn’t test drive any other cars…we just checked them out at the last Seattle car show.

  47. 47
    Sniglet says:

    I agree that it’s not fun to pay high prices for gas, but I just don’t buy the gloom and doom theory about gas prices continuing to rise throught he stratosphere, and life as we know it coming to an end. We are in the midst of a commodity boom (prices for ALL commodities are up, not just oil), and this is part of a cycle that has been going on for ages. Eventually, commodity prices are going to crash.

    Just look at all the tremendous investments over the last three years in prospecting. We went over 20 years with SERIOUS under-investment in exploration (mining and energy companies ratcheted down prospecting budgets to a pittance starting in the early ’80s), and the industry has only recently begun to make up for that. Heck, until a couple years ago the last time Saudi Arabia had done oil prospecting was the ’60s. We have also seen more investments in the last few years for improving mine production around the world than we saw in the 20 years prior.

    In any event, commodities are the last hurrah of the credit bubble (i.e. the last bull market for hedge funds and investors to speculate), and it is set to come crashing down as the credit crunch picks up more speed into 2009.

    Just how many Chinese consumers will be buying cars when plants are shutting down by the thousands and laying off millions as global demand for goods falls through the floor?

  48. 48

    I don’t think gas is going down anytime soon…neither will mortgage interest rates. Hello inflation.

  49. 49

    The press has really sensationalized the effects of gas prices. Even if you drive 20 miles per day and have a car that gets 10 miles per gallon, that’s only $8 spent on gas each day. Anyone with a job that pays them so little that a change from $4 per day on gas to $8 per day has worse problems than the rising cost of gas.

  50. 50
    Mikal says:

    At some point we will be out of gas. Factor no gas into commodity prices sniglet.

  51. 51
    Rentersarelosers says:

    When you live in the Burbs many families need multiple vehicles.

    Many in the city manage with 1 vehicle. Eliminate 1 car from your monthly expenses, which can cost at least $500/month (including depreciation, maintenance, insurance) + gas (another $200 ?)and your City home buying ability increases dramatically not to mention you are investing in an appreciating asset (in the long term).

  52. 52
    notabull says:


    How’s the house sale going? Sold it to a disgusting dirty renter yet? They’re total losers aren’t they? Rhetorical question, of course…

    Ever think about changing your offensive, non-civil-conversation-inducing handle?

  53. 53
    Rentersarelosers says:

    No, I like my handle and you are taking it waaaay out of context. (but you already know that)

    I don’t like living in rental accomadations, that’s all. I have nothing against renters, everyone is a renter at some time in their life.

    I believe it is most peoples aspirations to one day own their own home. In the longer term (7+ years), it is a good financial move.

    How many sellers told you to take your offer and stick it where the sun don’t shine or have you lost count?

  54. 54
    david losh says:

    i did buy a prius and it is great for gas and has a ton of room. we’ll be buying another this week and probably another at the end of the year for our business. the emissions are less and the electric technology, i think, should be encouraged.
    in europe cars got smaller and in the US we wanted SUVs like we couldn’t see the writing on the wall.
    what i’d really like to address is the international workers union concept. yes, the Teamsters have for many years missed the boat on representing new workers. the comment about being paid low wages while the good old boys fattened the retirement plans is so true. when you talk about jobs on this blog you by pass the global implications of those jobs on many occasions.
    the Teamsters had a chance with NAFTA to uplift all workers North and South of the border. rather than seize that opportunity they spent millions of dollars fighting the concept. here we are today with truckers just now having the right to cross border transportation of goods.
    in terms of gas, and food prices, trucking goods and produce to the border then packing it in to good old US trucks for delivery is the most insane concept we’ve lived with for years. it’s right up there with the SUVs. Americans are so short sighted about our opportunities or obligations.
    the jobs of bio tech, software, engineering, or finance are a means to make every ones lives better. the America for Americans concept should have died in the 1980s, but it didn’t. jobs that look at ways to more efficiently use our resources are jobs to keep. hopefully the United States, Seattle in particular can become a leader.
    gas prices and the price of goods was a good post. it impacts every aspect of home ownership, from the death of the mcmansion to the green built crap that we have today. my wife and i look at the cost of heating our home as a major expense. that to me is the larger issue.

  55. 55
    Keith says:


    Enjoy your Prius, but be aware that “making a Prius contributes more carbon to the atmosphere than making a Hummer, largely due to the environmental cost of the 30 pounds of nickel in the hybrid’s battery”

  56. 56
    deejayoh says:

    Keith –
    selective quotations can be a bit misleading. To wit, one has only to read the next line in the article you linked to find that is the case here.

    making a Prius contributes more carbon to the atmosphere than making a Hummer, largely due to the environmental cost of the 30 pounds of nickel in the hybrid’s battery. Of course, the hybrid quickly erases that carbon deficit on the road, thanks to its vastly superior fuel economy.

  57. 57
    Alan says:

    No, I like my handle and you are taking it waaaay out of context. (but you already know that)

    Passive aggressive, anyone?

  58. 58
    Lake Hills Renter says:

    I read an article a few days ago (sorry, don’t have a reference on me) that said manufacturing a new Prius use the equivalent BTUs of 1000 gallons of gasonline, and would take 46,000 miles before that broke even, so you’d be better off buying a used regular car instead of a new Prius if you were concerned about energy costs. I thought the article was a little simplistic in the benfits of a used car over a new one, but it did bring up the idea that many people don’t count the manufacturing costs of a vehicle in it’s environmental cost.

    I’d love to have a hybrid, but unfortuantely none of the existing ones meet my needs. I’m looking forward to the future when we (hopefully) have a wide selection of plug-in electric cars t choose from.

  59. 59
  60. 60


    The lots and Boeing parking lots are glutted with 1-3 YO used cars, some with 15 miles on the odometer. Try this search:; 2005-2007, any brand, $7000-9000. You’ll come home with an almost new car, still on warranty, and if buy it from a stable large dealer [they already did the CARFAX investigation for you].

    I paid $7800 for mine and it based at $20,000 new; I’ve drove it a year and half, I love it. Its a 4 cylinder, but around 150 HP, roomy for 6’4″ adults and unlike a battery car; it has a trunk too….lol

  61. 61
    TJ_98370 says:

    I’ll be standing in line to buy one if Honda ever puts these on the market in our area:

    Honda FCX Clarity

  62. 62
    Courtney says:

    Tim, I would imagine that working from home and being a caretaker is a win win for you now:) I have been watching Thatch Mound with great interest:) Keep up the hard work!

  63. 63
    NotaBull says:

    Rentersareawesome said: “How many sellers told you to take your offer and stick it where the sun don’t shine or have you lost count?”

    I own my home, although have rented in the past and have nothing against those that rent regardless of their reasons, unlike some people…

    “I don’t like living in rental accomadations, that’s all. I have nothing against renters, everyone is a renter at some time in their life.”

    So you have nothing against renters except that they’re losers? Seriously, I think you would get *far* more people interested in what you have to say if you didn’t automatically offend a particular segment of the readership. Why on earth would you go on *any* forum and say that some of the readers are losers, and then expect they the readership in general pay attention to your arguments?

    Pretty much everyone on this blog thinks you’re an angry person with a house you can’t sell. They, and I, like to push your buttons on this issue because you’re an offensive individual, and pushing the buttons of offensive people is kinda fun…

  64. 64
    matthew says:

    In RAL’s eyes, your standing in the world is based on your net worth.

    And he calls renters losers…..

  65. 65
    economist says:

    largely due to the environmental cost of the 30 pounds of nickel in the hybrid’s battery

    And that’s only for the first generation of batteries. Subsequent generations would recycle the nickel, just as the lead in ordinary car batteries is recycled.

  66. 66
    david losh says:

    yes it’s true about the nickel and i thought about that for a while. i have bought used cars, a lot, and it was my used car dealer who convinced me to buy new. cj autos on lake city way, if i can make a plug.
    his reasoning was that in my business, where i sit at a traffic light, in city driving, that i could save more than the 40 miles per gallon i get by driving. the second part is the prius is completely recyclable. so i choose to believe that over the course of time the technology will improve if we support it.

  67. 67
    alex says:

    [Rentersarelosers] “How many sellers told you to take your offer and stick it where the sun don’t shine or have you lost count?”
    Hmmmmmmm that probably implies Rentersarelosers has sent that heartfelt message a few times, himself :)

    Here’s my thinking on this subect:
    1) There is no such thing as an “offensive offer”!
    2) And there’s no such thing as an “offensive asking price”, either.

    Both are just dreams – with a low (but not nil) chance of coming true!

  68. 68
    melonleftcoast says:

    I just skimmed these posts, so if someone already mentioned this, then my apologies.

    The Tim’s post mostly concerns only the added cost of gasoline for moving farther out from a town/city center … essentially living where you have to drive to everything. But what if you don’t have a second car?

    My husband and I currently only have one car that we use for mostly pleasure. I stay at home with the kids and can walk to most everything I need since we live in a town center. My husband can bike to work, or work from home. We currently rent. We would like to buy a house in the next couple of years, but the cost of a second car (cost of car, insurance, maintenance, gas) really kills the equation for living in the suburbs or the country … essentially anywhere but a town center.

    However, the cost of living in a town center is more than we can/want to spend… if we buy. But to rent in a town center costs MUCH less than buying … and we don’t need to have a second car.

    Therefore, we’ve decided that we will continue to rent in places where we can get by with only one car, and save a pile of cash… which collects interest if invested wisely :).

    And somewhat related to this, we just watched a documentary last night about oil and our society. It paints a rather bleak prediction of what we should be expecting in the coming years: A Crude Awakening

    After seeing that documentary, we both feel even more strongly that we are making a good decision.

  69. 69
    Garth says:

    Fuel prices affect everything. Been buying those $4.99-$5,99 a lb ribeyes at the store? Those are there because farmers are slaughtering animals instead of trying to figure out how to pay for the necessary feed (made from corn, price high because of gas) and fuel for the vehicles necessary to raise the cattle.

    A year from now I bet you won’t be able to find a ribeye under $10 a pound.

  70. 70
    WestSideBilly says:

    Americans will say NO to any proposal to hike gas tax. However, if the question is framed:
    Would you rather pay $.18/gallon gas tax, or, rather get $2k per person per year ($8k for family of 4) in tax rebate while paying $7/gallon gas tax (note you have some control over how much gas you uses)?

    I think Americans would do the math, and choose the latter.

    I don’t think Americans would do the math, and even if they did they’d still choose the former. Americans consistently behave against their own economic interests. And even if they did do the math and choose the latter, our political machine lacks the ability to do the math and make those choices. Politicians are not mathematicians or economists, as evidenced glaringly by McCain and Hillary both proposing cutting the 37.4 cent federal gas tax until Labor day, at the same time as they’re both saying we need to address our CO2 output and global warming.

    And while the idea of no income tax is mildly appealing on a personal level, the regressive nature of fuel taxes isn’t something I condone. Fuel taxes should have been increased when gas was < $1/gallon in the late 90s, to pay for improving our infrastructure and supporting development of alternatives. But it’s way too late for that now.

  71. 71
    Alan says:

    The power company uses tiered pricing on electricity. You get the first block cheaper then rates go up as you use more. This seems fair to me and encourages conservation.

    We have nothing like that in gasoline. So let’s implement one. We can do this by adding a tax to gasoline and rebating all of the collected tax back to the people uniformly. Collect $1-2/gallon. Every quarter, write everyone who filed a federal tax return an equal check.

    People who ride their bikes get a subsidized bike. People who drive an SUV 30 miles a day pay more per gallon than people who drive a hybird 15 miles a day.

  72. 72

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