NWMLS: Prices down, listings way up, sales flat from a year ago

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The NWMLS published their March stats today, so let’s take a look at how the month shook out for the housing market. The King County median price of single-family homes was down year-over-year in March, falling more than it has since March of 2012. Inventory was up from a year ago again, but the increase was the smallest in the last five months. Pending sales recovered from the February snow storm dip, but were only up five percent.

The NWMLS press release hasn’t been published yet, so let’s get right to the numbers.


NWMLS monthly reports include an undisclosed and varying number of
sales from previous months in their pending and closed sales statistics.

Here’s your King County SFH summary, with the arrows to show whether the year-over-year direction of each indicator is favorable or unfavorable news for buyers and sellers (green = favorable, red = unfavorable):

March 2019 Number MOM YOY Buyers Sellers
Active Listings 3,277 +15.0% +94.3%
Closed Sales 1,784 +25.9% -5.3%
SAAS (?) 1.67 +56.0% +12.0%
Pending Sales 2,847 +59.1% +5.1%
Months of Supply 1.84 -8.7% +105.0%
Median Price* $667,725 +1.9% -3.2%

Here’s the graph of inventory with each year overlaid on the same chart.

King County SFH Inventory

Inventory was up 15 percent from February to March, quite a bit smaller than the 24 percent month-over-month gain over the same period a year earlier.

Here’s the chart of new listings:

King County SFH New Listings

New listings surged from February to March, and were up six percent from a year ago. Seeing a year-over-year increase in new listings is definitely encouraging for buyers.

Here’s your closed sales yearly comparison chart:

King County SFH Closed Sales

Closed sales rose 26 percent between February and March, but were down five percent from last year. This is probably due to the pending sales dip last month thanks to the snow storm.

King County SFH Pending Sales

Pending sales shot up 59 month-over-month and five percent year-over-year. At the same time last year, pending sales were up 43 percent month-over-month and flat year-over-year.

Here’s the supply/demand YOY graph. “Demand” in this chart is represented by closed sales, which have had a consistent definition throughout the decade (unlike pending sales from NWMLS).

King County Supply vs Demand % Change YOY

That rate of growth is falling off almost as quickly as it shot up, but we’re still basically in record high territory.

Here’s the median home price YOY change graph:

King County SFH YOY Price Change

The last time median home prices were down this much year-over-year was in March of 2012—basically the bottom for home prices.

And lastly, here is the chart comparing King County SFH prices each month for every year back to 1994 (not adjusted for inflation).

King County SFH Prices

March 2019: $667,725
March 2018: $689,950
July 2007: $481,000 (previous cycle high)

Here’s the article about these numbers from the Seattle Times: Relief for Seattle-area condo buyers as prices drop amid flood of new units

5.00 avg. rating (90% score) - 1 vote

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
    richard says:

    -Encouraging news for buyer but not exciting yet.
    -Inventory need to double to reach 2007 level.
    -2019 will be a pretty solid housing cooling year.

    remember this sluggish(from RE point of view) market is under the context of so many “tailwinds” based on REIC
    – Amazon abandoned NYC as HQ2
    – Stock market fully recovered from last year decline
    – Strong economy and low employment data
    – Expected listing/pending sales rebound from Feb snow

  2. 2
    Blurtman says:

    No worries, petite bourgeoisie rentiers and greed heads – Trump wants lower interest rates. Doh, I dislike his character, and what about LGBT rights, doh! but I loves the $$$$$$. Moral dilemma and we know what wins in the end.

    El presidente: “I personally think the Fed should drop rates, I think they really slowed us down, there’s no inflation, in terms of quantitative tightening, it should really be quantitative easing…you would see a rocket ship. Despite that, we’re doing very well.”

  3. 3
    richard says:

    interesting article. Is housingwire are a more RE neutral website?


    I am skeptical about buyers’ discipline in front of low-mortgage-rate bait. Many of them will jump. After all, low rate is how these round of housing boom started. I hope I am horribly wrong about the buyer’s wisdom especially millennials.

    is recession one of the buyers’ concern? I , for one, admit it is one of my biggest concern for the next few years. will recession risk be reflected in the form of some discount in housing price?

  4. 4
    Coconut says:

    What tailwinds pray tell? The impending recession on the longest bull market in history? The FED cutting their growth outlook? The possibility for tech stocks to drop again (we are in a bear stock market and upsides are temp corrections)? Or, the less than desirable business climate Seattle is creating? If you think that Amazon is doubling down here you are simply incorrect

  5. 5
  6. 6
    biosci101 says:

    From the previous thread:
    By Deerhawke @ 74:

    RE: biosci101 @ 72

    A lot of LR3 is going for apartments, especially micro apartments, so the calculation is more complex. Ultimately the price you get is whatever you can negotiate with the sellers via their agents. What is your timeline?

    Probably 2 years. Not sure where the economy will be then or the local RE stitch…

  7. 7
    richard says:

    RE: GoHawks @ 5 – Geekwire is a famous REIC outlet. Bellevue is already more expensive than Seattle, Bellevue already has heavy high tech presence(MSFT, google, facebook ). Bellevue is too small to provide enough nightlife for millennials as Seattle provides.

  8. 8
    ess says:

    RE: richard @ 7

    More from Geekwire


    One commentator argues that Puget Sound will become more like the Bay area, and Seattle and Bellevue will be the Northwest version of the SF and San Jose. Gotta love those pillars!
    But in this case – there will be direct, fast and inexpensive light rail transportation between Seattle and Bellevue.
    I am sure there will be all sorts of activities available for residents on the east side – including a version of Seattle’s nightlife. After all – there wasn’t much of any nightlife in Belltown until a few years ago.

  9. 9

    Its New and Beautiful

    Its like a model Seattle area new home, shiny kitchens and white polished looking bathrooms, etc, etc…they built the new model twice as high with deep concrete supports for half the price too….

    But the fake Seattle NWO news asserts its not been built? LOL….look for yourself and eat crow ;-)

    There’s too much partisan fake news in Seattle [make local incomes seem way too high and repress homelessness environment information?] on real estate planning too?


  10. 10

    RE: richard @ 1
    From My Retiree Periscope in Seattle/Tacoma/Everett

    The traffic has become clogged on I-5S in Tacoma and I-5N in Everett all 7 days [even 10A-1P] of the week lately…doesn’t anyone work a normal job anymore? IMO, a large percentage of the Seattle population barters for handyman and care giver work, it pays a lot more under the table than Seattle area burger flipping wages….simultaneous surge in help wanted signs too all over…it sure explains this recent anomaly.

  11. 11
    richard says:

    RE: ess @ 8 – when i see phrase like “real estate expert weigh in” in the headline, i see “reader be aware: information and opinion is highly biased , take it at your own risk”

  12. 12
    Justme says:

    RE: Realistic @ 88

    Whoa, Bellevue with a net gain of (gasp!) 2500 jobs by 2023, 4 years from now? Whaaaa?? What happened to all the breathless hype about all the office space leases signed, and how that meant yuuuge amount of jobs coming?

    What to do with all the apartment towers in Seattle (and Bellevue) now? Gosh, I wish someone had warned the developers (and panicky homebuyers) not to believe the hype. Oh, wait. Someone did. Just not the bubblemongers. They never do.

    (opsted late in last thread, relevant to the hype clain that “”Amazon doubling down” in Bellevue”)

  13. 13

    RE: Justme @ 12
    Trust Me, Educated Allegations Agree, Global Warming Will Destroy the Planet in 12 Years are Spot On


    But the dam_ truth raw data sure mucks up that wild allegation research assumption….LOL

  14. 14
    justsomedude12 says:


    From the article:

    Amazon’s top real estate executive said the employment growth the company had planned for New York is not slated for Bellevue.

    Schoettler, who has orchestrated Amazon’s dramatic real estate expansion since 2001, said the job growth planned for New York will be dispersed across “about 17 other cities throughout the Americas.”

  15. 15
    Erik says:

    RE: richard @ 7
    Plus people from Bellevue usually suck.
    Why would young people want to go party with a bunch of pretentious a holes? Granted, there are some attractive women in Bellevue, which has driven me over there more than a few times. In the end, Seattle is where it’s at.

  16. 16
    Justme says:

    Weekend update, King County active inventory, graphical edition.

    The graphs compare 2019,2018,2017 inventory on an hourly basis. 2017 was the year inventory was at a multi-year low for most of the year, a fact that was much ballyhooed by the sell-side and inflation-mongers of the property market. But the situation has changed radically, and the shoe is now on the other foot. Combine the increase in inventory with a much more realistic criterion that 1month worth of active inventory is all that is needed for a “balanced market”, the property market has shifted radically since March 2018 and continues to do so in 2019. Click the link and scroll to see the graphs. Click on each graph for an enlarged view. ESC and scroll to navigate.

    https://imgur.com/a/Z9AN58o (alternative link, imgur is slow at updating shares)

    2019-04-06 King County SFH active for-sale inventory 2017,2018,2019
    2019-04-06 King County Condo active for-sale inventory 2017,2018,2019
    2019-04-06 King County SFH active for-sale inventory ratio YYYY/2017
    2019-04-06 King County Condo active for-sale inventory ratio YYYY/2017

    Commentary: King County SFH (and Condo) inventory is growing by leaps and bounds, and even faster than it did in 2018, as can readily be seen from the graphs. This week, there was yet another spike in active for-sale inventory, and a bit larger than last week. New listings are outpacing new pendings by a considerable margin. March 2018 was the point in time when active for-sale inventory started pulling away from the year-before (2017) levels, indicating the start of the bubble bust. With 2019 in turn outpacing 2018, there is little doubt that the bubble-bust is in full swing. There are lots if sellers, but not enough willing buyers at the prices being offered. Many buyers are on strike, and refusing to buy at currently offered prices.

    Product absorption/uptake analysis: Absorption of product continues to be low. Maybe more details later. I’m a bit busy today.

  17. 17
    Justme says:

    Here is link that should work until Imgur updates properly


  18. 18
    MD says:

    The buyer strike rolls on. We’re all waiting for the stock market hammer to drop – it’s coming, of course, but nobody knows exactly when.

    We’ve had an explosion of homelessness in the past four years during times of plenty. Imagine what the city will look like when an actual recession hits. I’m genuinely scared at the thought of it.

    Very happy I’m renting, so I can high-tail it out of here when the hammer drops. I think people will be scrambling to sell at firesale prices when thousands of homeless migrate here in the next recession. Things could get ugly.

  19. 19
    sfrz says:

    RE: Erik @ 15 – Gold Diggahs in downtown Bellevue. Plastic surgery offices on every corner. They may be the SEATTLE Seahawks, but when they get arrested, they get arrested in Bellevue.
    “She went to the doctor, got lipo with your money
    She walkin’ around lookin’ like Michael with your money
    Shoulda got that insured, Geico for your money
    If you ain’t no punk
    Holla, “We want prenup! We want prenup!” (Yeah!)
    It’s somethin’ that you need to have
    ‘Cause when she leave yo’ ass, she gon’ leave with half”

  20. 20
    sfrz says:

    RE: sfrz @ 19 – Speaking of Gold Diggahs… Jeff *&@# pic Bozo was at Bellevue Square last week with his son. Let’s see how his stupid decision affects Scamazon.

  21. 21
    Erik says:

    RE: MD @ 18
    You can always rent condos in Seattle. When the hammer does drop, people lose their homes and are forced to rent cheap condos in Seattle. Landlords may have to decrease rents, but Seattle condos will always be able to be rented at some price point.

  22. 22
    justsomedude12 says:

    RE: Erik @ 21 – Any landlord anywhere in the world can rent their place out at *some* price point. It very well may be a horrible investment though.

  23. 23
    BellevueTheLivable says:

    Why would real estate ever go down? Are baby boomers finally running out of money to gift us, their millenial children, so we don’t get priced out forever? I don’t think so. Seems like because the last recession started for a legitimate reason people forgot that recessions can just as easily start for no reason at all, like maco psycho-economics aka buyers strike. Like the dot com bust.

    Last year I called on this website that YOY prices this spring would be down. Why though? It’s really simple. $1m is a psychological barrier. That’s enough money to retire in Mexico or go on a 20 year sabbatical in Ohio, or start a trust fund or something. At last year’s pace, it wouldn’t have been long for $1m to buy a fluffing east Bellevue 3 bedroom fixer. It’s just a lot of money to spend to buy into an absurd rat race that you cannot win. Jobs that pay software engineers 160k per year for the most part treat you like crap, and you’re strapped into those golden handcuffs, because a grownup job that respects boundaries wont let you pay that $4500 mortgage.

    Maybe Seattle can become the next San Fran, but maybe you have noticed if San Fran was so great why are they all moving here? But why should there always going to be a next San Fran,
    after us? At some point people will realize that $1m is too much for a 1200 sq ft rambler. Clearly the bay area has collectively realized that there are other places to make money, otherwise I wouldn’t know anyone from San Fransisco. People tend to, on net, go from bad places to good places. The point is this, the tech companies are spreading themselves to various cities now and the need for RE markets to get this out of control are done. Its impossible to miss when you see it for what it is.

  24. 24
    ess says:

    RE: BellevueTheLivable @ 23

    I would suggest a number of factors to your comments

    People migrate all over the country for various reasons, thus there may appear to be more Californians coming to the Puget Sound area simply because there are more Californians. Many Californians love their cities – including LA and SF, and would never leave. If they left en masse, prices of real estate would drop, but yet it is still remains some of the most expensive real estate in the country.

    But other Californians, as well as NYers are relocating because of state taxes regardless of their love of their home communities. Not only are property taxes high, but state income taxes really impact the upper middle class and wealthy. NY recently announced that there will be a budget shortfall as a result of out migration of the wealthier classes.

    Where are these folks heading to? For NYers – it is Florida – no state income tax, and for many Californians, it is Washington State and Texas, states that also don’t have any state income tax (yet).
    Recall that one superstar free agent baseball player refused to sign for a number of teams as a result of state income taxes – so for high income earners, these are real considerations.

    Psychology? Absolutely right. This is why price of many goods are pegged to ___.99 rather than adding the one penny to kick the price into a higher amount. Sounds silly – it is only one penny, but sellers still do it because they think the psychology of having the 99 cents in the price is real.

    But the psychology of prices has changed over the years, as inflation is an insidious event that eats into the value of a dollar. Years ago – three thousand dollars was the psychological barrier when it came to buying a car. The few individuals that spent over three thousand dollars were those crazy rich people that flaunted their money on expensive top of the line models. Now the expectation is to pay 20K for a simple compact vehicle, and apparently, most people want and desire much more expensive pick up trucks and SUVs.

    Same with housing – for many one hundred thousand dollars was the psychological barrier. Anything over one hundred thousand dollars had to be a mansion. And further back in history – those psychological barriers were even lower.

    Inflation is an insidious process that erodes the dollar over time. And psychological barriers is akin to putting a frog into warm water and heating slowly. The frog and the consumer both won’t notice the increases over time, and they will accept either the increase in temperature, or the increase in goods and services, including vehicles and housing.

    Collective amnesia as to prices and the erosion of the buying power of the dollar is a major factor that makes it possible. To house buyers 50 years ago – spending half a million dollars on a house would seem crazy and out of this world – now it is considered a good deal in places such as Seattle.

  25. 25

    RE: BellevueTheLivable @ 23
    The Baby Boomers With Money Is Dwinding

    About 1/2 have no retirement $CASH$ and most of the rest haven’t saved near enough to retiree [like under $100K]:


    The golden spoons to the kids from their deceased parents are drying up.

    My Baby Boomer “high school” friend inherited his home from his mom about 10 years ago, but lost it anyway, couldn’t maintain the utilities, property taxes and maintenance costs in Marysville..so much for rich Baby Boomers…Milenials can’t afford to inherit Seattle area homes? LOL

  26. 26
    whatsmyname says:

    March closed sales looks to be very close to the number of February pending sales, but March pending sales are over 2800. In fact, just eyeballing the chart, March pending sales look to be the steepest one month increase on record. That can’t be good news for the buyer’s strike.

  27. 27
    IssaquahResident says:

    This can be good news for the buyers on strike https://seekingalpha.com/article/4253116-tick-tick-talk-2019-recession-coming

    Yeah, yeah I know you will say the author is perma-bear, but you can’t argue with numbers. Unemployment goes up, retail sales go down..

  28. 28
    Joe says:

    Look at how quickly prices went from appreciating to declining in 2018. The quick period of reversal is very similar to the 2007/2008 price declines.

    Like the last price bubble, prices will likely move lower for about 3-5 years. RE declines take time to unfold. Documented price trends show that those who’ve bought $1M homes over the last year are losing about $10,000 to $20,000 per month, and the losses appear to be set for some acceleration given the relentless rise in SFH inventory and new condos coming online. Builders need to unload their inventory quickly.

    Many recent buyers have lost or will lose their 20% down payment in a year’s time. Adding insult to injury, they won’t be able to refinance their mortgage because they’ve lost their equity. All they can do is watch prices drop until the home is lost. Nobody should have to face this stress, but it is the result of paying too much for an overpriced house in a market that has established a clear downtrend after a decade long price frenzy.

    The “fear of missing out” has quickly turned to “fear of losing everything”.

  29. 29
    Joe says:

    There’s a house in my desirable neighborhood that is being listed for $1.2M. This house was recently a rental that had a $3,500 monthly rent. So is it better to rent or buy this house?

    A $1.2M mortgage at 4.1% equates to $49K per year in interest. Add in RE tax of $10k and maintenance of costs of $4k, and you get total annual ownership cost of $63k. Divide that by 12 and you get a $5,250 monthly payment, versus $3,500 for renting.

    If you assume price keep dropping, of course, the outlook for ownership looks dramatically worse. RE prices of homes in this category have been dropping $10k to $20k per month.

    Clearly, the analysis favors renting until RE hits bottom or at least stops dropping $10k to $20k per month. I would take at least a year to see a clear trend reversal, which likely isn’t going to happen for 3-5 years as stated earlier.

    This is common sense really.

  30. 30
    Market Psychologist says:

    Strike the shepherd and his flock will scatter.

    When we are down to wheresmybrain and Erik pumping the no-bubble-here propaganda, I think the writing on the wall is pretty clear.

  31. 31
    Blurtman says:

    Update on the Deepening Housing Bust in Vancouver, Canada

    Market for houses freezes up. House & condo prices drop. High end hit the hardest.

    In the City of Vancouver, British Columbia, in March, sales of detached houses fell 14% from March 2018, to merely 117 houses, down 50% from March 2017 and down 74% from March 2016, to the lowest number of sales since 1985, as the market has frozen up. Buyers and sellers are too far apart, and both sides have lost interest in a meeting of the minds.

    “It’s hard to imagine sales falling any further from here; what is more likely is that they continue to remain sluggish for a prolonged period of time but increase slightly as prices decline and buyers on the sidelines can be enticed back into the market with lower prices,” says Steve Saretsky, a Vancouver Realtor and author behind Vancity Condo Guide. His chart below shows detached house sales for every March going back to 1992:

    Inventory for sale now stands at 12 months’ supply at the current rate of sales. This is still very high, but it’s down 51% from a year earlier, not because the market has improved but because it has essentially frozen up, and some sellers have pulled their unsold units and other sellers are not putting them on the market, hoping for better times.

    This high level of inventory is likely to put “downward pressure on home prices, particularly at the higher end where Chinese capital flows have hit the brakes,” Saretsky says in The Saretsky Report for March (download the PDF here).” This pushed the MLS Home Price Index down by 11.4% from March last year, “the steepest decline in a decade.”

    ut the price declines vary across the spectrum: Saretsky notes that house prices “at the higher end have fallen as much as 35% from peak valuations a few years ago,” while price declines are much more moderate at the lower end. “For example, an entry level detached house with a basement suite on the East Side of Vancouver has fallen much less, around 15-20%.” Which is still a steep price decline.

    Sales of condos in the city of Vancouver in March have plunged 35% from March 2018, to just 328 units, down 45% from March 2017 and down 63% from March 2016, to hit the lowest level in 18 years.

    At the same time, inventory of condos for sale jumped by 96% to 1,905 units. Months’ supply jumped from 1.8 months in March 2018 to 5.4 months now. Plunging sales and rising inventories has put pressure on prices.

    The average price fell 12% year-over-year to C$810,934 and is down 25% from the crazy spike-top in January 2018. The average price per square foot fell 11.5% year-over-year, to C$961, “which is right in line with what we are seeing from a feet-on-the-ground perspective,” Saretsky says. The median price fell 9% to C$688,888. The MLS Home Price Index, depicted in the chart below, fell 7.5% in March from a year earlier:


  32. 32
    Realistic says:

    By Justme @ 12:

    RE: Realistic @ 88

    Whoa, Bellevue with a net gain of (gasp!) 2500 jobs by 2023, 4 years from now? Whaaaa?? What happened to all the breathless hype about all the office space leases signed, and how that meant yuuuge amount of jobs coming?

    What to do with all the apartment towers in Seattle (and Bellevue) now? Gosh, I wish someone had warned the developers (and panicky homebuyers) not to believe the hype. Oh, wait. Someone did. Just not the bubblemongers. They never do.

    (opsted late in last thread, relevant to the hype clain that “”Amazon doubling down” in Bellevue”)

    In addition to Amazon jobs, the expansion of the Microsoft campus is supposed to add space for 8000 new employees by 2023. And who knows, maybe Amazon will decide to expand in Bellevue further than currently estimated. On the other hand, there is the inflated economy, expected recession and also potential Boeing troubles.

    I understand people have opposing views on this forum regarding the RE outlook, and I appreciate feedback and facts from both sides. So far I think the current RE trend is downward which makes me hold off on buying, but I’m always open to hear and evaluate any news or developments that may affect the market situation.

  33. 33
    sfrz says:

    Ralph Nader on Boeing’s criminal negligence:
    “Their sales pitch to the airlines was that the 737 Max only received an “amended” certification from the FAA. That it did not have to be included in more pilot training, simulators, and detailed in the flight manuals. The airlines could save money and would be more likely to buy the Boeing 737 Max.

    Boeing engineers were worried. They knew better. But the managers ordered software to address the stall problem without even telling the pilots or most of the airlines. Using only one operating sensor (Airbus A320neo has three sensors), an optional warning light and indicator, Boeing set the stage for misfiring sensors that overcame pilot efforts to control the planes from their nose-down death dive.” https://www.counterpunch.org/2019/04/05/boeings-homicide-will-give-way-to-safety-reforms-if-flyers-organize/

  34. 34
    Realistic says:

    RE: Realistic @ 31

    Also, according to: https://www.redfin.com/blog/amazon-impact-bellevue-real-estate

    “Amazon has already leased enough space in Bellevue to house nearly 7,000 employees and there’s speculation that it’s in talks to lease space that could fit more than 25,000 workers when all is said and done. Facebook has signed leases for a total of nearly 700,000 square feet in Bellevue and 650,000 square feet in Redmond, which together could hold thousands of employees.”

  35. 35
    Deerhawke says:

    I advised a friend and neighbor on selling his house in Greenlake. He took in the information but ignored much of the advice.

    He really fixed up the house and the landscaping. Great job. He got a top notch stager to stage the house. But he chose a discount broker who really didn’t position the house very well. And most important of all, he put it on the market for about $100K more than the comps suggested it was worth.

    Result. 100 groups through the house, 50 of them really looking. Five couples came back multiple times. Three talked about writing up an offer. One couple offered $75,000 less than the offering price just as the other two couples were getting up the gumption to do something similar. (But that was still $25,000 more than I thought he should list it for.) Strong earnest money, clean offer, close in 30 days.

    Different from 2017? Absolutely. He would have seen 200 groups and gotten 17 offers on the review date with escalators taking him well above the list price.

    Different from 2018? In April of last year, he would have seen 100 groups but all of them would be exhausted and angry from being outbid. Maybe he would have gotten no offers at this price.

    So 2019 is different. More of a normal market. One real offer with two in the wings. About the same amount as you would have gotten in mid-late 2017– or a bit more. Lots of interest, but people do not feel the need to panic, go crazy and wave their money in the air. It is a robust market, but more restrained and rational.

  36. 36
    Justme says:

    RE: Realistic @ 31

    >>In addition to Amazon jobs,

    I quoted the Mayor of Bellevue stating “net gain of 2500 jobs by 2023”. Please note, that was the NET number, new jobs minus jobs moving away. In Bellevue. It included all companies, not just Amazon. 2500 over 4 years is a piddly small number.

    >>the expansion of the Microsoft campus is supposed to add space for 8000 new employees by 2023.

    In Bellevue, or in Redmond? Reference is good, too, but if it is not in Bellevue it is not relevant to the Bellevue story.

  37. 37
    Eastsider says:

    RE: Deerhawke @ 34 – It was great for sellers when there were multiple bids at/above list prices two years ago. Today, the pool of buyers willing/able to pay at list prices has shrunk. The market may appear ‘normal’ but the trend is firmly negative. Yes, low interest rates help but the elephant in the room is (un)affordability.

  38. 38
    BellevueTheLivable says:

    RE: ess @ 24 – I wouldn’t characterize Seattle RE prices as inflation. The prices behave much more like a paper asset i.e. a stock or similar. As for migration, people from the bay area are moving here, at least ones I’ve talked to at the playgrounds when our kids are playing, because it was too expensive down there and they could transfer or take a job doing the same thing here and get a real house.

    That’s the point I’m making. The bay area is many things: rich, techy, elite… but it’s also some bad things. Most importantly it’s a demonstration of the failure of the tech clustering concept – taking over a city and pumping in 100X more tech jobs than the local economy can provide, but with the “investment” also somehow being able to fund great infrastructure, everyone riding around bikes and electric levatating trains, sipping their artisan vegan smoothies. A true urbanist wet dream, and I actually would dig that. These are these good ideas but they have not averted failure, which is to create equitable expansion that doesnt destroy city cultures.

    San Fran took a huge turn toward nimby and same for Seattle to a lesser extent. Not to point the finger, because I also think that the actual follow-through of vegan electric train bike rack livable park setting neighborhood streets in downtown has not been delivered despite pretty decent efforts and hundreds of millions of dollars. Its probably not possible or is too difficult given the system we have. Whether or not normal people were ever paying attention to this struggle between idealic expansion and full on money grab dystopia, governments and tech executives seem to have.

    So while San Fran won’t become devoid of human life anytime soon, people who value work life balance or are anything but software engineers or financiers i imagine stay away, and also it’s obvious that creating “San Fran 2.0” is not in good cities interest (might be an improvement for many cities that are “not good”, but not Portland for example which is already a good city).

    I cant blame anyone for wanting a better life for their family. As long as companies are able to provide jobs in cities that are “good” people will naturally move to places where they aren’t packed in like sardines with $1m mobile homes. Initially only San Fran had tech jobs, then they moved to Seattle and other places, and now they are moving all over to Nashville and Washington DC and freaking Texas. On a macro scale it seems to me that businesses and individuals have decided that we don’t need a repeat of the bay area, unless that’s your thing.

  39. 39
    Realistic says:

    By Justme @ 35:

    RE: Realistic @ 31
    >>the expansion of the Microsoft campus is supposed to add space for 8000 new employees by 2023.

    In Bellevue, or in Redmond? Reference is good, too, but if it is not in Bellevue it is not relevant to the Bellevue story.

    Thanks for the reply. The MS expansion is in their Redmond main campus which is at the SW edge of the Redmond boundary adjacent to Bellevue. So, I think it will have an impact on the Eastside but that’s still almost 4 years away. Who knows what will happen between now and then in terms of the economy.

  40. 40
    ess says:

    RE: BellevueTheLivable @ 37

    A town such as Seattle is always evolving. It may not be to the liking of the “old timers”. I am sure some of the folks from the 40s and 50s didn’t appreciate the growth that Seattle experienced in the 60s with the culmination of the World’s Fair and the effects of that activity. Furthermore, I know that proponents of the “Lesser Seattle” movement of the 70s and 80s are tremendously upset over the recent growth of Seattle over the past two decades. But that Seattle is gone forever. On the other hand – newcomers arrive and believe that the Puget Sound, and Seattle in particular is a great place to live – homeless encampments notwithstanding.

    I wouldn’t doubt for a second that some Californians relocate in this area so they can afford a “real house”. As I have stated many times before- a single family house with some sort of yard (i.e. a “real house”) is the gold standard for a great many number of people. Certainly not all of them – but quite a few. Yes there are those who enjoy the comforts and freedom of a rental or condo life, but many people aspire to reside in a single family house. On the other hand, a small one or two bedroom rental apartment, with accompanying noise, lack of privacy, space and parking for many becomes tiring after a while, especially when the kids arrive. But there are some that enjoy the highly urbanized lifestyle – witness the recent popularity of Manhattan, NYC as a desirable location for many younger people to reside in. Density (i.e. sardine existence) does produce various positive life styles for some. Perhaps not for me or others, but for some.

    Starter single family houses (defined by this commentator as smaller than 1500 sq feet) are just not being constructed in the greater Seattle area. And Seattle is following in the Bay Area’s footsteps in terms of reducing the availability of buildable single family lots, which increases the cost of those lots and as a result, the housing that is built upon them. Thus the urbanization and densification of Seattle and surrounding communities will continue with population increases. And I am sure some will be looking for the next Seattle to move to as it was 50 or even 100 years ago. Tacoma? Bellingham?

  41. 41
    Justme says:

    RE: BellevueTheLivable @ 38

    >>As for migration, people from the bay area are moving here, at least ones I’ve talked to at the playgrounds when our kids are playing, because it was too expensive down there and they could transfer or take a job doing the same thing here and get a real house.

    You are maybe a new reader or commenter, BellevueTheLivable, so I will repeat some migration count information that was posted earlier. Heck, it probably needed to be repeated anyway, especially in light of the soft-mongering platitudes posted by RE: ess @ 40

    The latest ACS (Census Survey) migration data for King County had a net, repeat NET, migration of 5,932 in year 2016. That’s the latest solid number available. Not such a big number is it?

    King County, WA had 5,932 net migration in 2016

    The bubble-mongers got repeatedly busted in 2016-2019 for spouting the wildly exaggerated OFM Filled-If-Built population estimates from Washington State OFM. Mongers also got busted when trying to represent one-way drivers license (DL/DOL) data that counted arriving people but not departing people. It turned out that more accurate ACS numbers existed all along, but none of the mongers wanted to talk about that piddly 5,932 net migration (from 2016). They would rather spread propaganda based on the OFM and DL numbers. Then at the same time, bubble-mongers were more than happy to say nothing about the huge count of new apartments (over 18,000 in 2018 , look for the Seattletimes article this month). Oh, by the way, how big was the net migration to KC from California? It was 2198 in 2016, again from ACS source.

    The many bubble-mongers on this blog also like to talk about births-deaths “population growth”, since net migration is so low. But of course they do not want to acknowledge that deaths free up housing, whereas as newborn children are not buyers for many years. But I covered all of that as early as June 2017. But bubble-monger and their statistics are like zombies. No matter how many times you kill off their fake statistics, new instances of the same old lies sprout up and get posted. I’m thinking I might have to publish these numbers every month.

    Here is a table of ACS and DOL data. Look how low the net migration is compared to the in and the out. People are leaving almost as fast as others are arriving. It should also be patently obvious that paying attention to inbound-only DL data is extremely misleading.

    County YEAR IN(*) OUT(*) NET(*) DL-IN (**) DL-OUT
    King County 2016 112903 106990 5932 76328 notprovided
    King County/CA 2016 - - 2198 nocalc notprovided

    Note: CA=California
    nocalc=can be calculated from raw data but I have not done so yet

    (*)Source: US Census ACS Survey 2011-2016
    (**)Source: Wash, State Department of Licensing (dol-wa-gov)

  42. 42
    Justme says:

    RE: Justme @ 41

    More readable table made from screenshot


  43. 43
    uwp says:

    By Justme @ 41:

    The bubble-mongers got repeatedly busted in 2016-2019 for spouting the wildly exaggerated OFM Filled-If-Built population estimates from Washington State OFM.

    Do you have some other population estimates you would like to share?

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