King County median home price now $77k higher than “Affordable” home price

Reminder: Subscribers have access to the members-only spreadsheets folder, which is updated with the charts in this post.

As promised in Monday’s affordability post, here’s an updated look at the “affordable home” price chart.

In this graph I flip the variables in the affordability index calculation around to other sides of the equation to calculate what price home the a family earning the median household income could “afford” to buy at today’s mortgage rates, if they spent 30% of their monthly gross income on their home payment. Don’t forget that this math includes the (giant) assumption that the home buyers putting 20% down, which would be $129,990 at today’s median price.

King Co. Actual & "Affordable" Home Prices

The “affordable” home price has been declining in recent months as interest rates have climbed. The “affordable” home price of $572,470 in King County would have a monthly payment of $2,274.

The current gap of $77,480 between the affordable price and the median price is on-par with the difference seen in early 2006. We were in the same range early last year as well before declining mortgage rates bumped the affordable home price up, even as the median price declined a bit.

If interest rates were at a more reasonable level of 6 percent (which is still quite low by historical standards), the “affordable” home price would be just $474,203—about $98,000 lower than it is today, and $176,000 below the current median price.

Here’s the alternate view on this data, where I flip the numbers around to calculate the household income required to make the median-priced home affordable at today’s mortgage rates, and compare that to actual median household incomes.

King Co. Home Price, Income Req. to Afford

As of February, a household would need to earn $103,292 a year to be able to “afford” the median-priced $649,950 home in King County. This is up from the low of $46,450 in February 2012, and the hignest point ever recorded, even surpassing the previous July 2007 high. Meanwhile, the actual median household income in King County is estimated to be about $91,000.

If interest rates were 6% (around the pre-bust level), the income necessary to buy a median-priced home would be $124,697—37 percent above the current median income.

0.00 avg. rating (0% score) - 0 votes

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.

51 comments:

  1. 1
    Blake says:

    This *may* affect the US economy and housing market a bit… Ya think??
    https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-03-21/jim-rogers-says-trade-war-is-making-his-bearish-view-even-darker
    Veteran investor Jim Rogers is already predicting the worst bear market for stocks in his lifetime. And that’s before you figure in a trade war.

    “The next bear market is going to be the worst in my lifetime — just because of the debt — but if we also have a trade war, it’s going to be worse than a disaster,” Rogers, the 75-year-old chairman of Rogers Holdings Inc., said in a Moscow interview. “I’m extremely concerned. I’ve read enough history and been through enough markets to know that trade wars are usually a disaster.”

    Rogers spoke as the prospects for a full-blown trade spat looked to be increasing. President Donald Trump plans as much as $60 billion of tariffs on Chinese products as early as this week to swat Beijing for alleged intellectual-property theft, according to two people familiar with the matter. Meanwhile, China is preparing to hit back with levies aimed at industries and states where Trump’s supporters are found, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing unidentified people familiar with the matter.

    “You think the Chinese are just sitting around?” Rogers said. “China’s a huge buyer of American agriculture, so of course that’s the obvious place to hit back because that hurts Mr. Trump the worst. It’s not Americans, it’s Trump. Trump and his guys, those are the ones they have to hit.”
    (end quote)

    Rogers may be wrong, but I don’t see any way the next “correction” will be mild. Interest rates are already very low and the federal deficit is nearing $1 trillion/yr! What will they do if the economy starts turning south? Cut rates and spend more? Corporations have been taking on debt like there is no tomorrow!

    “S&P Global looked at 13,000 corporate issuers and found that 37% had a debt-to-earnings ratio of 5 times last year, making them eligible for the label of highly leveraged. That’s five percentage points higher than in 2007 “

  2. 2
    Eastsider says:

    Given the FMOC statement today, I see 5% mortgage rate before year end and 6% in late 2019/early 2020. At 6%, the gaps in the above charts will be wider than the ones in 2007 if prices continue to climb. This is not going to end well.

  3. 3
    Brian says:

    Looks like condo inventory is up 22% year over year per the homepage numbers. Granted, that’s only +60 units.

  4. 4
    uwp says:

    The Tim is on fire dropping posts left and right!

    Seems home prices aren’t near as crazy as 2007 in terms of affordability. Only 14% above “affordable” compared to 50% over.

    $77,480 is a lot bigger difference when you are talking about 300k versus 600k.

  5. 5
    uwp says:

    The craziest thing about this is that the median home price was “affordable” basically into last year!

  6. 6

    RE: Blake @ 1 – Isn’t Jim Rogers a permabear? I haven’t heard his name for years, but that’s what I remember.

  7. 7
    Blake says:

    By Kary L. Krismer @ 6:

    RE: Blake @ 1 – Isn’t Jim Rogers a permabear? I haven’t heard his name for years, but that’s what I remember.

    Pretty much… but even a broken clock is right twice a day! ;-)

    Seriously… over the last few years many of the old time stock analysts have quit, saying all the fundamentals are so out of whack that they could not make sense of the market anymore. Rogers is one of these and John Bogle – the founder of Vanguard – has been saying this for a while. There is wayyyy too much savings/money chasing investments and asset prices are out of whack across the board. There will be a “correction” but when and how severe is anyone’s guess. Rogers says it’ll be worse than the last one (2008) and that was worse than 2000 and that was worse than ’97… so I think he’s right.

    Look at the first graph here:
    https://www.bloomberg.com/view/articles/2018-03-21/u-s-stocks-will-need-more-than-gdp-growth-to-keep-rising
    … sustainable?
    I think there is limited upside in any asset class right now and the potential downside is HUGE! Cost-benefit? Diversify… to what? … where?

    Just beware of anyone who says “this time is different” and Seattle is special.

  8. 8
    LessonIsNeverTry says:

    By uwp @ 5:

    The craziest thing about this is that the median home price was “affordable” basically into last year!

    I know. Seems wrong, doesn’t it? It is like the median price for King County… 650k? Just shows how different these prices can be based on housing mix and locale.

  9. 9
    sleepless says:

    Just before you think it cannot get any worse, it does!

  10. 10
    pfft says:

    By Blake @ 1:

    This *may* affect the US economy and housing market a bit… Ya think??
    https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-03-21/jim-rogers-says-trade-war-is-making-his-bearish-view-even-darker
    Veteran investor Jim Rogers is already predicting the worst bear market for stocks in his lifetime. And that’s before you figure in a trade war.

    “The next bear market is going to be the worst in my lifetime — just because of the debt — but if we also have a trade war, it’s going to be worse than a disaster,” Rogers, the 75-year-old chairman of Rogers Holdings Inc., said in a Moscow interview. “I’m extremely concerned. I’ve read enough history and been through enough markets to know that trade wars are usually a disaster.”

    Rogers spoke as the prospects for a full-blown trade spat looked to be increasing. President Donald Trump plans as much as $60 billion of tariffs on Chinese products as early as this week to swat Beijing for alleged intellectual-property theft, according to two people familiar with the matter. Meanwhile, China is preparing to hit back with levies aimed at industries and states where Trump’s supporters are found, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing unidentified people familiar with the matter.

    “You think the Chinese are just sitting around?” Rogers said. “China’s a huge buyer of American agriculture, so of course that’s the obvious place to hit back because that hurts Mr. Trump the worst. It’s not Americans, it’s Trump. Trump and his guys, those are the ones they have to hit.”
    (end quote)

    Rogers may be wrong, but I don’t see any way the next “correction” will be mild. Interest rates are already very low and the federal deficit is nearing $1 trillion/yr! What will they do if the economy starts turning south? Cut rates and spend more? Corporations have been taking on debt like there is no tomorrow!

    “S&P Global looked at 13,000 corporate issuers and found that 37% had a debt-to-earnings ratio of 5 times last year, making them eligible for the label of highly leveraged. That’s five percentage points higher than in 2007 “

    our debt/gdp ratio isn’t high.

  11. 11
    pfft says:

    By Kary L. Krismer @ 6:

    RE: Blake @ 1 – Isn’t Jim Rogers a permabear? I haven’t heard his name for years, but that’s what I remember.

    His commodities prediction was great but than crashed and burned in 2007-08.

  12. 12
    Blake says:

    RE: pfft @ 10
    “our debt/gdp ratio isn’t high.”

    … Link??
    What do you mean by “our?”

  13. 13
    pfft says:

    By Blake @ 12:

    RE: pfft @ 10
    “our debt/gdp ratio isn’t high.”

    … Link??
    What do you mean by “our?”

    You posted the link not me. Show me the study that correlates debt/gdp ratio and stock market performance. We already fell for that scam a few years ago with a study that was debunked.

    The Reinhart-Rogoff Debt-to-GDP Error: Why it Matters
    http://cepr.net/blogs/cepr-blog/the-reinhart-rogoff-debt-to-gdp-error-why-it-matte

    Paul Ryan and Republcans used that bogus study to say we needed to cut entitlements.

  14. 14
    Blake says:

    you wrote our debt/gdp isn’t that high.
    Link?

  15. 15
    pfft says:

    By Blake @ 14:

    you wrote our debt/gdp isn’t that high.
    Link?

    It’s around 100%. There are countries with higher debt/gdp ratios.

    Awhile back Jim said buy commodities( I know I have 4 or his books) and they topped out in 08. His commodity ETN with the ticker symbol RJI peaked in 08 at near $14/share and is now $5/share some many years later…

    EDIT:

    Investment Biker and Adventure Capitalist are great books. Still two of my favorite reads among investment books.

  16. 16
    whatsmyname says:

    https://seattle.curbed.com/2017/2/22/14702850/seattle-renter-owner-percentage-ratio

    http://www.nmhc.org/Content.aspx?id=4708

    Even in 2016, apartments were 34% of Seattle housing stock; 42% of households were renters; and there was some significant number of condos out there. It is a giant stretch to call the relationship between median household income and median SFR prices “affordability”. A more realistic measure would probably be the relationship between median household income and the lowest SFR prices.

  17. 17
    David says:

    RE: pfft @ 15 – I actually was taught by Jim Rogers when he took a sabbatical from his world motor tour. Mostly he’s a contrarian nowadays BUT he might be right about investing in Russia. Russia has very very low debt/gdp.

  18. 18
    Blake says:

    RE: pfft @ 15
    sure… us debt/gdp isn’t high
    https://fred.stlouisfed.org/series/GFDEGDQ188S

  19. 19
    pfft says:

    By Blake @ 18:

    RE: pfft @ 15
    sure… us debt/gdp isn’t high
    https://fred.stlouisfed.org/series/GFDEGDQ188S

    how is that high? Japan has a GDP higher than that. How do you define high? Our debt/gdp ratio have been making new highs for 40 years almost.

  20. 20
    pfft says:

    By David @ 17:

    RE: pfft @ 15 – I actually was taught by Jim Rogers when he took a sabbatical from his world motor tour. Mostly he’s a contrarian nowadays BUT he might be right about investing in Russia. Russia has very very low debt/gdp.

    Like a lot of right wingers(including the people here) mr rogers doesn’t like it when you question him…I have the emails to prove it. LOL. He will give you pretty good answers if you email him. Not sure if mr rogers qualifies as a right winger though.

  21. 21
    wreckingbull says:

    By pfft @ 19:

    By Blake @ 18:

    RE: pfft @ 15
    sure… us debt/gdp isn’t high
    https://fred.stlouisfed.org/series/GFDEGDQ188S

    how is that high? Japan has a GDP higher than that. How do you define high? Our debt/gdp ratio have been making new highs for 40 years almost.

    Well, given the choice between using historical values plotted over the last half century, or a cherry-picked high-debt country which is in deep doo-doo, I’d pick the former as the best metric for defining high. I will commend you on excellent use of weasel words, though.

  22. 22
    Eastsider says:

    By pfft @ 19:

    By Blake @ 18:

    RE: pfft @ 15
    sure… us debt/gdp isn’t high
    https://fred.stlouisfed.org/series/GFDEGDQ188S

    how is that high? Japan has a GDP higher than that. How do you define high? Our debt/gdp ratio have been making new highs for 40 years almost.

    Our GDP growth has been trending lower during that period. And debt is a drag on GDP growth. Japan is exhibit A.

  23. 23
    Deerhawke says:

    Anyone paying attention to the Estately inventory figures?

    This day in 2017 — 1440
    Today– 1522

    It might be a complete fluke, but finally inventory this year is just a touch more than last year. For once.

    It is probably the result differential weather patterns (nicer this year than last) or something else extraneous like that. But I watch these figures pretty regularly and that is a novelty.

    More inventory than last year this time. Has the great correction started?

  24. 24
    Anonymous Coward says:

    Where’d you find or how did you derive the estimated household income numbers? The OFM website linked in the previous post only had data to 2015 and projections form 2016 and 2017….

  25. 25
    Doug says:

    RE: Eastsider @ 2 – and yet the 10y is rallying today and mortgage rates are lower. how can that be?

    are we to believe the Fed has nothing to do with long term rates!?

  26. 26
    uwp says:

    RE: Deerhawke @ 23 – I’ve been watching. It’s definitely a reversal of the trend from the last few years, but hard to see it as a bad sign when inventory has been crazy low for so long. And really, would it have been possible for inventory to get lower than the past year or two?

  27. 27
    Deerhawke says:

    I think we can assume that the Fed will continue to raise the Fed funds rate like they did yesterday. That is what they have clearly indicated. They also seem to have raised their target inflation rate somewhat according to this morning’s NY Times article (The Fed’s Tricky New Path/Neil Irwin).

    While an influx of money coming into the country and into the bond markets might restrain interest rates somewhat in the short term, the longer term direction of the trend is clear– higher mortgage rates.

    Meanwhile despite signs that there is a bit more inventory on the local market (see post above) supply remains drum tight. We are absurdly far from a balanced market. With demand dramatically outpacing supply, prices are bound to continue to rise.

    Prices up. Interest rates up. Unless wages keep pace (are you kidding?), affordability will have to keep falling.

    That is the world my young adult kids are facing. They are making great salaries in medical and tech, but are talking about how impossible it is to buy a house in Seattle.

    The millennials are having to change their definition of what is acceptable. Go north to Northgate and Shoreline? Go south to far Rainier Valley? Or give up on walkable/bikable mass transit completely and look at White Center or Burien?

  28. 28

    LOL: SWE Is Encouraging the Bubbleheads to Stay On Topic

    The $77K affordability window Tim was referencing seems moot to me…..if the price is $623K or $700K what average income can afford either?

    Affordability requires lifetime retirement planning too. If you’re gonna retire and enjoy life; ya need to have an “A” to “B” plan and stick with that same employment job’s pension and that plan….or you’ll likely fail. That means track your life expenses [mortgage payout] or likely fail. When I paid my $80K mortgage off in 2009, 9 years later I got all of my money back….now its all early retirement checks.

    Home maintenance is a great way to theoretically save expenses while increasing a home’s worth. I was a lucky dog landlord flipper in Kansas and recently needed to do gas furnace repair on my investment. I bought the “Sweetheart Deal” Kansas utility location bundle [my daughter’s significant other has friends in the utility maintenance field]: a new gas furnace , central air and thermostat bundle for $4500 cash….5 year warranty, disposal of old units and installation included. Find that deal on the coast….LOL…Seattle has too much “available” old [inheritance] money [high prices] and Kansas is broke. That’s why.

    Kansas is a landlord flipper’s dream. My daughter [the house manager] loves her new systems. The assessed value of the Kansas unit went up $4K for 2018, but the property tax decreased anyway…

  29. 29

    RE: Deerhawke @ 27
    Hey Deerhawke

    To add to your thought out blog I wanted to add in the Continuing Resolution (CR) on the Federal Budget Deadline today….it is pertinent.

    DOW Stocks plummetting 500 points as I type; the $Trillions its bleeding is not over today too. A lot of the MSM establishment [liars?] politicians allege the $1.3T budget can pass. It lacks DACA legislation but includes the WALL. Sanctuary City [Seattle] funding will be cut….but how? How much? I’m sure the public schools would love an approximate $9K/yr cut to the federal schools per illegal alien student….it could happen soon? End English 2nd language in our public schools…its way too expensive for more foreign free loaders?

    We’ll know the answers tonight…at a theater near you. I guess 50/50 now without DACA. What of the Dreamers with no budget? Open Border Progressives and Populists both deporting ’em all?

  30. 30

    RE: Deerhawke @ 27 – With the rise in commodity prices, stock prices and house prices I wonder if the Fed is making the same mistake they made back in the 70s–thinking CPI numbers accurately reflect inflation. There’s clearly a lot of money in the system, and consumer goods is not the only place money can go. Back in the 70s they mistook a change in a single commodity as being inflation, where now they might be missing widespread increases as not being inflation.

  31. 31
    Eastsider says:

    By Doug @ 25:

    RE: Eastsider @ 2 – and yet the 10y is rallying today and mortgage rates are lower. how can that be?

    are we to believe the Fed has nothing to do with long term rates!?

    A lot of rate changes (i.e. increases) happened prior to the official announcement. Everyone had expected the latest rate increase and mortgage rate has indeed gone up over the past month.

    Are we continuing the January discussion? (And fact check if you care LOL.)

    https://seattlebubble.com/blog/2018/01/05/nwmls-listings-drought-intensifies-months-supply-hits-new-record-low-december/

    Doug says: Just imagine if 1.5% 30y rates came to the US. Tough to see us going that low, but I do believe mortgage rates are at a near term top and only have room to go down from here.

    Eastsider says: Haha. This morning’s WSJ frontpage headline is “Treasurys Pull Back, Sending 10-Year Yield Above 2.5%.” I see 10yr above 2.75% sometime this year. That translates to 4.25% 30yr mortgage rate and I won’t be surprised if it hits 4.5%.

    Doug says: I see Bill Gross is out today calling for the bear bond market to officially begin if the 10y breaks 2.60%. What he’s actually doing is calling the top in yields based on his track record.

  32. 32

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 30
    Good Observation Kary
    I’m flabbergasted that long-term savings rates are inching up in continuous 0.25% increments….good news for savers, bad news for mortgages. As stocks currently plummet due to federal budget uncertainty, the safe haven treasury rates out of the market usually decline instead; inflation must be barrelling along at a high level is my guess. Its bigger than the current flight from stocks?

    One thing, this economy is weird.

  33. 33
    N says:

    @Deerhawke 23 – I have been watching the inventory numbers too. And based on the last couple of weeks it’s reasonable to expect that 1,522 number to be 150-250 higher by the end of Friday. Its already in the 1570 range late this morning.

    What is interesting is we hit around 1,574 last week and didn’t really fall as much as prior weeks, barely getting back into the 1,400’s.

    Not to say we are seeing the last of the boom, but when you do you usually see further price increases on lower sales volume. Something to pay attention to at least.

  34. 34
    David says:

    RE: Deerhawke @ 23 – A rise of 82 houses has you pondering a shift in market fundamentals?

    Rising prices -I’m sure a lot of people are going to cash out and move somewhere else. It only makes sense if you are not tied to an employer location. After all, it isn’t often a house can be treated as a high-return investment historically. Things typically return to the mean at some point.

  35. 35

    By N @ 33:

    Not to say we are seeing the last of the boom, but when you do you usually see further price increases on lower sales volume. Something to pay attention to at least.

    It sounds like you’re only tracking the number of actives, and not the number of listings going pending/sold. More actives does not mean fewer sold, it just means more new listings are coming on than listings going pending.

  36. 36
    ess says:

    Couple of thoughts on this subject

    For a number of buyers in the exclusive areas of Seattle and the East Side, as well as the real estate professionals that cater to them, affordability statistics, average and mean income, rising interest rates etc is less of an issue than finding that perfect house and location. There are not that many homes in these areas that are targeted by these wealthy individuals, so their outlook is different than the typical mere mortal.

    Consider the exotic car salesperson that is selling vehicles for 150K -200K each. That person isn’t concerned about affordability statistics of the population. He or she is only interested in knowing if there are 25 -50 people in his sales area that have both the interest and the means to buy the vehicles. The other 98% of the population can purchase mass produced cars and worry about affordability. It may be increasingly the same scenario for the more expensive areas for the wealthy segment of the real estate buying public.

    Furthermore – the changing economic environment is not all bad for baby boomers and other savers. Very low interest rates have punished savers over the years. Many in the baby boom category who rely on interest income from bonds, CD ladders and other interest bearing instruments have taken a beating due to low interest rates. Many baby boomers have bought their houses years ago and financed them with low interest rate mortgages, or have paid them off, and they have no interest in moving. Their concerns are the never ending increasing taxes that threaten to force them out of their houses. With increased interest rates on short term investments, the returns will be significantly higher for the saving class, with various benefits such as being able to pay their real estate taxes as well as having income for other expenses as well as discretionary items.

  37. 37
    N says:

    @35 Kary – Good point. I did not mean to suggest that we are currently seeing a slowdown in Sales numbers beyond what has been reported, just that it is an often pointed to stat for a changing market.

    BUT if more listings are coming on than going pending that’s a sign in itself.

  38. 38
    Blake says:

    By Doug @ 25:

    RE: Eastsider @ 2 – and yet the 10y is rallying today and mortgage rates are lower. how can that be?

    are we to believe the Fed has nothing to do with long term rates!?

    The Fed has limited options and the size of the bond market is in the tens of trillions of dollars! Mr. Market has the last say and rates are dropping after the Fed raised rates yesterday and declared that they will raise rates faster! Investors are afraid of a trade war, a slow down in world trade, and a slow down in the economy. Stocks dropped about 3% today and bonds rose (bond rates dropped)… Bonds rates do not react to the Fed evenly: https://fred.stlouisfed.org/series/T10YFF

    Do not just assume that rates will keep going higher. US bonds are THE safe haven and at 2-4% are a tempting investment in a world where Euro and Japanese bonds pay 0% to 1.5%. Besides… if US rates go much higher the game is up!

    Just wait til the Chinese start retaliating to Trumpy’s tariffs!!!!

  39. 39
    greg says:

    RE: Blake @ 38

    keep in mind those US bonds are denominated in dollars and that matters to lot of investors.

    in 2017 we divested some of our US holdings moved a lot of money into international funds that are ex china…… and we having been building what is now our largest cash/liquid position ever. Never before have we prepared so much to rideout a major correction.

    I am not saying the world will end, but i am saying things might get real ugly real soon we were warned in feb.

  40. 40
    pfft says:

    By Eastsider @ 22:

    By pfft @ 19:

    By Blake @ 18:

    RE: pfft @ 15
    sure… us debt/gdp isn’t high
    https://fred.stlouisfed.org/series/GFDEGDQ188S

    how is that high? Japan has a GDP higher than that. How do you define high? Our debt/gdp ratio have been making new highs for 40 years almost.

    Our GDP growth has been trending lower during that period. And debt is a drag on GDP growth. Japan is exhibit A.

    link.

  41. 41
    ronp says:

    RE: Deerhawke @ 27 – We can improve a lot of areas with mixed use pedestrian infrastructure and transit — http://buildabetterburb.org/for-developers/

  42. 42
    Deerhawke says:

    RE: ronp @ 41

    I completely agree with you. But this started as a discussion about affordability. Real transit systems are a long term asset– they are not affordable in the short term. They are disruptive to build and downright expensive. The people of this area have finally decided to tax themselves for something that will not come on line and provide a benefit for many years. Pretty far-sighted if you ask me. But even then it will probably be insufficient to the task. Like with real estate in this area, the suddenness and size of demand is hard to predict and even harder to budget for.

  43. 43
    Eastsider says:

    By pfft @ 40:

    link.

    Not again! Do your homework man…

  44. 44
    redmondjp says:

    By Deerhawke @ 42:

    RE: ronp @ 41

    I completely agree with you. But this started as a discussion about affordability. Real transit systems are a long term asset– they are not affordable in the short term. They are disruptive to build and downright expensive. The people of this area have finally decided to tax themselves for something that will not come on line and provide a benefit for many years. Pretty far-sighted if you ask me. But even then it will probably be insufficient to the task. Like with real estate in this area, the suddenness and size of demand is hard to predict and even harder to budget for.

    Far-sighted, IF what we were getting for our money actually was going to move more than a tiny percentage of the commuting public. When the East Link rail is completed (in 20never7 perhaps), I’ll supposedly be able to take it to my new work location in Des Moines, which is about 25 miles from my house in Redmond. But if you add up the time to 1) walk to the nearest bus stop, 2) wait for the Rapid-Ride ‘B’ line bus, 3) take RR to the Overlake transit station, 4) wait for the train, 5) take the train to Seattle, 6) get off and wait for the other train going south past the airport, 7) ride the train to the Angle Lake station, 8) wait for a Metro shuttle van to downtown Des Moines, 9) take shuttle van to stop near building, and finally 10) walk to building. That right there, one-way, is 1.5 – 2.0 hours to go 25 miles. So a 3-4 hour daily commute.

    Right now, I can drive the same distance in 45-60 minutes one way. So commuting solo, I am able to better the mass-transit time by half! My time is valuable. Spending three to four hours per day just to get to and from my job simply is not an option. As much as I want to support mass-transit, the system we will be getting simply won’t work for a vast majority of commuters.

  45. 45
    David says:

    RE: redmondjp @ 44 – This is the bes analysis of this stupid light-train-bus I’ve read! It will only ever help a very small percentage of people.

    Take the same money you spend on this noxious transit tax and you could have a nice retirement savings in 25 years. Instead, the government employees you are paying for will!!

  46. 46
    Mike says:

    I would guess that “median income” becomes less relevant as the number of units of owned real estate continues to shrink as a portion of the overall housing units available. Rentals are being added much faster than owned units – thank you Condo Act but that is a different post – and there are effectively zero new SFR with a yard units being added anywhere close in.

    While many more higher income individuals are renting now compared to historically, it is still probably safe to assume that property owners as a sub-group have meaningfully higher incomes than the population as a whole. If for no other reason than that all of the workers making anywhere near minimum wage have LONG been priced out of the ownership market and therefore contribute a large contingent of renters-by-default. My guess is that when one evaluates “affordability” for owned housing you should really consider ownership as an upper-middle income luxury item, and that rather than the “median income” the more appropriate figure is something like the 75th percentile for income.

    Phrased another way – Can a person in the middle of the upper half of the income scale afford to buy a mid-priced home? Effectively setting aside the pool of individuals in the lower half of the income scale who will be renters by default given the dynamics of the relative supply for owned housing units as a portion of all housing units. Median income is then only relevant if you are discussing median housing costs as a whole, taking a blend of ownership costs and rents.

  47. 47
    Deerhawke says:

    RE: redmondjp @ 44

    You have an odd commute and that is going to remain your problem.

    But you may not understand why public transit is good for you and deserves your support. First, as it gets built out, more people use it because they find that it saves them time and money. That helps you because it takes those people off the road so you can get where you are going faster. But the next step is that density springs up near stations and that means that people who might be otherwise commuting from near you are instead commuting from a transportation node instead. Again, that means those people are not adding to your traffic.

    I can’t commute by train to where I am building houses. Ever try to take a load of tile for a house by subway or bus?

    But I really want a better mass transit network so those people in single occupant vehicles can take a bus or subway and get the H out of my way.

  48. 48
    Anonymous Coward says:

    By Deerhawke @ 47:

    RE: redmondjp @ 44

    You have an odd commute and that is going to remain your problem.

    But you may not understand why public transit is good for you and deserves your support. First, as it gets built out, more people use it because they find that it saves them time and money. That helps you because it takes those people off the road so you can get where you are going faster. But the next step is that density springs up near stations and that means that people who might be otherwise commuting from near you are instead commuting from a transportation node instead. Again, that means those people are not adding to your traffic.

    I can’t commute by train to where I am building houses. Ever try to take a load of tile for a house by subway or bus?

    But I really want a better mass transit network so those people in single occupant vehicles can take a bus or subway and get the H out of my way.

    The problem is when we all vote/support increased mass transit based on the assumption that all those *other* people are going to ride it, so we can drive 75mph to work every morning….

  49. 49

    RE: Anonymous Coward @ 48 – Lots of people do ride the light rail throughout the day, and they have a rather frequent schedule. But for that option those people would almost certainly be in buses or cars.

  50. 50
    redmondjp says:

    By Deerhawke @ 47:

    RE: redmondjp @ 44

    You have an odd commute and that is going to remain your problem.

    But you may not understand why public transit is good for you and deserves your support. First, as it gets built out, more people use it because they find that it saves them time and money. That helps you because it takes those people off the road so you can get where you are going faster. But the next step is that density springs up near stations and that means that people who might be otherwise commuting from near you are instead commuting from a transportation node instead. Again, that means those people are not adding to your traffic.

    I can’t commute by train to where I am building houses. Ever try to take a load of tile for a house by subway or bus?

    But I really want a better mass transit network so those people in single occupant vehicles can take a bus or subway and get the H out of my way.

    Try to pay attention here, Deerhawk. My commute is not odd; it almost perfectly matches the Sound Transit route. My house is 1.5 miles away from the future Overlake Light Rail Station. My workplace is 1.5 miles away from the Angle Lake Light Rail Station. So I am the IDEAL light rail commuter, yet it still is a complete failure! At least an hour and a half to travel 25 miles?

    I am so sick of people trying to defend a system that is a failure as soon as it is built. If you want to see a successful transit system, look no further than the Microsoft Connector. They run the right-sized vehicles, at the right times of day, to the right places. And they have far more bike racks on their vehicles, even taking bicycle trailers behind the vans, when Metro/Sound Transit can only accommodate 2 or 3 bicycles per bus.

    If people living right along the light rail route can still drive solo along that very same route in half the time, how do you call that a success?

  51. 51

    By redmondjp @ 50:

    If people living right along the light rail route can still drive solo along that very same route in half the time, how do you call that a success?

    You have to be failing to account for traffic if you think that is the case, and also the hassle and cost of parking.

    My complaint about Light Rail is that in the south end they did it at ground level and didn’t put in crossing bars to help prevent collisions, even though in SODO they did put in crossing bars. That makes it much less reliable. I guess you could easily hop a bus after a collision, but that’s what everyone else would be doing too.

Leave a Reply

Use your email address to sign up with Gravatar for a custom avatar.
Your email address will not be published.

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

Please read the rules before posting a comment.