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December 2013

News In Brief

December 2013

  • Bellevue has been named one of the Top 100 Best Places to Live by Livability.com, a national website that ranks quality of life amenities of America's small and mid-sized cities. Livability.com partnered with Richard Florida's Martin Prosperity Institute, the world's leading think tank on the role of location, place and city-regions in global economic prosperity to produce its inaugural Top 100 Places to Live. The Top 100 Places to live was a month's long study of more than 1,700 cities and the factors that make them the best places to live, work and play. The factors included 8 categories - economics, housing, amenities, infrastructure, demographics, social and civic capital, education and healthcare, which were used to determine each city's LivScore. Palo Alto ranked #1 and Bellevue ranked #12. Other cities in Washington among the top 100 include: Bellingham (#25), Tacoma (#41), Redmond (#62), Everett (#73) and Vancouver (#96). See the entire list at Livability.com/top-100-best-places-to-live.
  • New England has the largest average lot size for new homes, nearly five times the size of lots in Washington and Oregon, according to data from the Census Bureau's Survey of Construction. The median lot size for single-family homes that began construction in 2012 was three quarters of an acre in the New England area compared to 0.14 acres in the Pacific Division, which includes Washington and Oregon.
  • Dwell Development (Seattle), LLC, was named U.S. Department of Energy Challenge Home 2013 Winner in this year's Housing Innovation Awards. This year's Challenge Home pushed builders to building homes which met a HERS score of 50 or less. This means the home is 50% more efficient than homes built to existing code. Dwell Development's Passive House achieved a score of 45.
  • Though Americans have expressed optimism about the housing recovery over the last few months, their feel-good attitudes took a turn for the worse in the run-up to the government shutdown, Fannie Mae reported in its latest National Housing Survey.

    The percentage of Americans who say they believe home prices will increase over the next 12 months fell from 55 percent in August to 52 percent in September. And 63 percent said they believe mortgage rates will keep rising, and all-time high for the survey and an uptick from 60 percent in August. Still, 72 percent say it's a good time to buy a house, and 38 percent say it's a good time to sell, according to the survey.
  • King County posted the highest wage growth among the nation's 10 largest counties in the first quarter, according to data released last month by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Average weekly wages in King County rose 1.6 percent from a year earlier to $1,288 for the period ended March 31, led by solid growth in the professional and business-services sector. King County ranks as ninth-largest job market nationwide.
  • A report commissioned by advocates for the aerospace industry estimates that Boeing directly and indirectly injected $70 billion into the local economy last year.
  • According to a report issued last month by Dupre + Scott Apartment Advisors, this year developers in the tri-county region will open about 7,500 new apartment units. That's the highest level since 1991, but not a record.