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

    Kind of a funny choice, isn’t it?
    One neighborhood is full of students, homeless folks, rundown buildings, rooming houses, and has higher crime, the other is the place Seattleites go to recreate( unless drug use is the recreation choice).
    Next week: Neighborhood smackdown- Medina vs White Center.

  2. 2
    Mindy the cat says:

    U District has better restaurant options. That’s about it.

    One proof of Greenlake’s popularity is that any house within hiking distance of the lake can be designated “Greenlake” if the agent thinks it will look better in the ad.

  3. 3
    sniffy says:

    I would have said U-district when I was 25.

    But when I was 25 I couldn’t afford anything in Greenlake anyway.

  4. 4
    KC says:

    I once saw a Licton Springs house listed as “NE Greenlake”. Kind of a stretch……

  5. 5
    Green Lake Resident says:

    I own a home in Green Lake and voted for the U-District. It has a ton of stores, you can walk it, and it is exciting. I would rather live there and might. We are three blocks from the lake, yet still feel like we live in suburbia. What is with all the single family zoning just across from the lake? Why are we keeping that lake in such pristine condition for so few people to live near it. UPZONE and make a real community!

    Rant over. Thank you.

  6. 6
    bb says:

    Greenlake = homeowners
    U-district = renters

    ‘Nuff said?

  7. 7
    mike says:

    RE: Green Lake Resident @ 5 – Sometimes I really miss the burglaries, shootings and swat team raids from my time in the U district.

  8. 8
    Mike says:

    I assume this “poll” is some sort of teaching lesson by Tim to show just how meaningless any price or other information regarding “Seattle” (which often seems to mean all of fricking north King County) is. Two adjoining hoods, both north of the canal and south of 85th in the “nice” part of Seattle and you get this reaction pointing out that the poll is basically nonsensical. Greenlake v. Laurelhurst would be a more interesting smackdown, Lullulemon v. Brooks Brothers. Does anyone actually list a home as being in the U-district? Isn’t it always pushed as Ravena, Bryant or Walingford? It is what makes Seattle great, that we have so many very distinct hoods, but it makes any attempts to paint a broad picture, even within a narrow area like NE Seattle pretty suspect.

  9. 9
    David Losh says:

    RE: Green Lake Resident @ 5

    I agree.

    Green Lake should be up zoned to allow more housing, and comercial use.

    There again there are miles of areas in Seattle, and surrounding that could, and should be upzoned.

    They may not be maikg any more land, but there is for sure better earthquake stability technology so we can have higher than one, two, or three story construction in Seattle.

  10. 10
    doug says:

    Neither both these neighborhoods are awful. Although they both do have a strange ability to attract people who just moved to Seattle.

  11. 11
    No Name Guy says:

    RE: David Losh @ 9

    While I agree in principal with the up zone sentiment, it’s never going to happen.

    Seattle folks talk big when it comes to all the green BS, walkable ‘hoods, yadda, yadda, yadda. But call them on their BS and have a “put up or shut up” moment and the truth comes out. Locals would fight like heck to prevent up zoning in Greenlake, with all the usual excuses – something about ruining the character of the ‘hood, I don’t want a skinny house next to me, all the trees are belong to us, apartments / large numbers of condos are fine so long as they are elsewhere, NIMBY – any excuse they could come up with. Of course, these same hypocritical people would gladly hose east King County and steal 80% of their land with buffers, etc.

    Oh, and on to the poll itself. Neither.

    Greenlake is over priced. If I wanted to be a debt serf, sure, I’d buy an over priced, tiny rat dropping filled dump and move there (or a wildly over priced, tiny, no rat droppings, non dump).

    And the U District – lets see….yeah, I was fine going to school there back in my teens, early 20’s, but all the stoner, loser pot heads, crime, drunks, idiot frat boys / sorority air heads, and all the rest…..no thanks any more. I can do without that kind of “excitement”. If I want some, its only a few minutes away, then I can go home to peace and quiet.

  12. 12
    Matthew says:

    I’m assuming that the 6 people that voted for the U-District are currently enrolled at UW.

  13. 13
    David Losh says:

    RE: No Name Guy @ 11

    I agree that Seattle is a strange place when it comes to development.

    We all complain about the high price of housing, but when it becomes to development we are the worst.

    I hate town houses, and think they are ripe to be torn down and put real multifamily living it the their place. Most of those lots were rentals, and now we got home owners in a rental neighborhood.

    The City Council, of Seattle really just caters to whatever great idea some small time developer wants.

    Seattle needs to grow up, literally, grow.

  14. 14
    Carl says:

    New battle – Queen Anne or Madison Park?

    I vote Madison Park

  15. 15
    No Name Guy says:

    I’m having flashbacks to Almost Live…..The Tim – how about a ‘hood poll: Squares versus Trash (East Side Story) – Factoria versus Bellevue Square. ;-)

  16. 16
    David B. says:

    “We all complain about the high price of housing, but when it becomes to development we are the worst.”

    What gets me about Seattle is all the smug self-righetousness about being environmentally conscious coupled with the NIMBY-ism and aversion to anything at greater-than-suburban densities. The overall attitude so often seems to be “density and transit are great, and Those Other People in Those Other Neighborhoods should live and travel like that. And P.S. how dare you compare me to some suburbanite in Bellevue.”

  17. 17
    mike says:

    RE: David B. @ 16 – I admit it does sound like a bit of a paradox, but for the people that shelled out $500K for a small home on a 3500 sq ft lot, they bought what they wanted and prefer to keep it that way.

    The other side of the story is land near major arterials tends to be underutilized all throughout Seattle. Take a quick ride down 8th, 15th or 24th in Ballard and spot how many single story buildings and parking lots there are. Fortunately up-zoning is fixing this problem, and few people complain about that kind of density. It makes a lot more sense to build there along transit lines than it does in the middle of SFH neighborhoods.

    FWIW, a large portion of lower Ballard below 65th was upzoned, and it was a predominantly SFH neighborhood not that long ago. Apparently the public outrage (if there was any) didn’t prevent that from happening.

  18. 18
    Dirty Renter in Banjo Country says:

    By bb @ 6:

    Greenlake = homeowners
    U-district = renters

    ‘Nuff said?

    no no no…..it’s dirty renters.

  19. 19
    David B. says:

    RE: mike @ 17 – That’s another part of the Seattle attitude that sticks in my craw: that renters (and condo owners, too) exist solely to be SFH owners’ buffer zone along busy arterials. (The fraction of apartments/condos on residential streets is miniscule in Seattle compared to most other major cities.)

  20. 20
    mike says:

    RE: David B. @ 19 – I never really considered that a problem. I’ve lived off busy arterials and while it certainly isn’t my first choice, it is less expensive and has some conveniences as well. Putting high density buildings in places without good transit lines, is, unfortunately going to increase traffic. While Seattle might not be a model city in this regard, what passes as “quiet, high density residential” in larger cities is often less peaceful than what you find around here.

  21. 21
    Peter Witting says:

    RE: Carl @ 14 – Madison Park for the win!

  22. 22
    David B. says:

    RE: mike @ 20 – As someone who’s actually lived in cities where it’s easy to find apartments and condos on quiet streets, I disagree. Such homes are *much* nicer to live in, and I appreciated having that choice.

  23. 23
    mike says:

    RE: David B. @ 22 – I’ve lived elsewhere as well. The quiet ones are more expensive, or they’re not as accessible. It’s not like they don’t exist here, it’s that they’re not cheap, abundant or being produced at the moment. People who want that usually move to the Eastside anyway. I never thought of the current zoning it as a ‘buffer of renters along arterials’ but I see how it could look that way. Honestly I think one of the attractions to Seattle is that you can get somewhat reasonably priced SFH’s in the city itself. The fact that my current neighborhood is mostly SF7200+/- and away from major roads was a big selling point. I suppose that makes me part of the problem, but it also means the closest light rail station will be 20 blocks away if and when it comes. There are trade offs.

  24. 24
    Captain Kirk says:

    I used to live in the U District during a brief period of time when all the bums and vampire people were migrating to other parts of town. It was a pretty fun place to life for a couple of years, before it….wasn’t. But comparing it with Greenlake is a no brainier for me. Greenlake wins by large margins. Both have their good/bad/waaaaybad sections to them, but I’d fear fewer deaths by stabbing, mugging, and shooting in Greenlake.

    I guess Capitol Hill is THEE hipster place to live now followed with Ballard. I dunno…I guess I burned by Seattle card when I moved to the east side. Don’t really visit anymore. The only neighborhoods that would interest me now are Madison Park, Madrona, and Queen Anne Proper. Some parts of Leschi are pretty good.

  25. 25
    David B. says:

    RE: mike @ 23 – “People who want that usually move to the Eastside anyway.”

    Or, in my case, to Bainbridge Island. Much easier to find a condo or apartment tucked away on a quiet street in Winslow than it is in Seattle, and I won’t be fighting traffic on I-90 when I want to go hiking.

    That said, I still wish Seattle offered a better range of choices for housing than it does.

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