Sep 18, 2016

Barely anyone wants to leave Seattle but plenty want to move there

I wonder, if I started a massive everyday clicking for homes in Seattle, would I mess up the statistics?

Seattle is one of the fastest growing cities in the U.S. This is of course a sign of a healthy place where the economy is booming, people want to live and the future is looking bright. It comes with down sides though. Traffic is a nightmare and the real estate market is going through the roof. For established Seattleites the latter isn’t a problem. Their home, pretty much whatever it looks like, is money in the bank. But for starters, well that’s a different story.

For as long as I have known Seattle the city has been a target for people around the country looking for relocating. As Seattleites have been fighting the traffic and the increasing costs of housing the joke has been “we have to stop talking about the beautiful Northwest and focus on the rain to scare people from moving here”. 

But it seems they have failed. Or not tried hard enough. Because a few days ago a national report from Zillow, the online real-estate database company, confirms that more people are competing for Seattle-area homes and apartments, helping drive up home prices and rents. And as much as Seattleites dislike the too fierce developing of the city, fewer look for other places to live. 

So, barely anyone wants to leave Seattle, but plenty of people want to move there. Only two other cities in the country has the same situation, Portland Oregon and Tampa Florida, also ranking near the top of the list of fastest-rising home prices in the country. 

Most other cities across the country had something working in their favor to help with affordability: A lot of people are interested in moving to the Bay Area and Los Angeles but plenty of existing residents there are looking to flee. New Yorkers and Philadelphia natives want to stay but few outsiders want to move there. People in Chicago and Miami want out and few people want to go there.

So, who wants to move to Seattle and why? According the study of all the people outside Seattle searching for homes here, 15.9 percent are from the Bay Area, which has taken a lot of blame for shipping up wealthy techies, driving up housing prices. After that, nearly 12 percent of outside searchers looking at Seattle are from Los Angeles and 7.6 percent are from Portland. Phoenix, New York and San Diego each have about 3 percent of the outside searches for Seattle. People from most of those cities would find cheaper housing in Seattle. 

What about people looking to ditch Seattle? The most popular destinations are kind of in the neighborhood, such as Spokane, Portland and Yakima. Just about all those places are significantly cheaper than Seattle. For instance, Seattle home values ($591,000) are more than three times pricier than Spokane ($160,000) and Yakima ($169,000), according to Zillow.

So, summing the situation up, housing costs are, as we know relative. In the view of outsiders who just moved to Seattle, it might not seem as expensive as it does for those locals who have lived through recent skyrocketing prices.

I think I will give it a go messing the statistics up. The next report will have this one interesting number added: looking to relocate to Seattle are people from Bay Area, L.A., Portland, Phenix, New York, San Diego and Umeå.

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