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October 2014

News In Brief

By NWREporter

October 2014

  • With lots of job opportunities, plenty of young people and a vibrant arts and leisure scene, Seattle was ranked by WalletHub as the fourth-best city to start a career. Seattle ranked eighth for median starting salary, ninth for economic mobility and eleventh for technology jobs as a share of the total workforce, according to thestreet.com.
  • In Glassdoor's second annual Employment Satisfaction Report Card by City, Seattle ranked seventh among 50 U.S. cities. Among the criteria used in their ranking: overall employee satisfaction, compensation and benefits. San Jose and San Francisco ranked first and second, respectively.
  • Seattle-area rents jumped 4.1 percent in the second quarter to an average $1,284 a month, as strong demand for apartments pushed the vacancy rate in King and Snohomish counties to its lowest level in at least nine years, according to a new study and published in The Seattle Times. Over the year, the average rent has risen by $94 or 7.9 percent, accelerating from a 6.8 percent annual gain in the first quarter, according to Seattle-based Apartment Insights Washington, a market research firm. The figures are for rents for new leases, not including utilities or other fees, from a survey in May of apartment properties with at least 50 units.
  • Though home values are rising nationwide, Seattle is gaining faster than other markets. Zillow reports that while the average home will take over three years to reach their pre-recession peak, Seattle home values will reach theirs in the fourth quarter of 2015.
  • The Millennial generation is larger than the baby boomers - 87 million versus 76 million - and they're expected to be a huge force in the real estate market in the coming years. The number of households in their 30s is expected to increase by 2.7 million over the coming decade, which should boost demand for new housing, according to a housing report by Harvard University's Joint Center for Housing Studies and reported by Tom Kelly in mynorthwest.com. For years, boomers were the largest, healthiest and wealthiest cohort on the generational landscape. Millennials are not only bigger in size but they're also more diverse, U.S. Census data showed. Only 56 percent of Millennials are white. Babies born today mark the first generation where whites make up only 50 percent of the population, and in a few years, white children will no longer make up the majority, according to U.S. Census data. Last year, the most common age in America was 22 years old. Of the 4.7 million 22-year-olds, 56 percent were white; 20 percent were Hispanic; 15 percent were black; and 5 percent were Asian. In comparison, there were 4.4 million 55-year-olds last year, and 71 percent of them were white; 11 percent were Hispanic; 12 percent were black; and 5 percent were Asian. The median age of Americans is 37.6 years old, according to the Census.
  • Tom Kelly reported on mynorthwest.com that more homeowners are remodeling their dwellings to create suites for aging parents with features to make them accessible and safe while providing plenty of space and privacy. Rodney Harrell, AARP senior policy adviser, said demand for the suites is on the rise as baby boomers age, and with the cost of care-giving facilities and services soaring, it may be more affordable for parents to move in with their children. Senior specialists say homeowners should plan for the long term when designing "aging" suites, ensuring they can accommodate other uses and will add resale value. These suites generally are integrated into the home and are intended for older or disabled relatives, meaning they are not considered separate or "accessory dwelling units" that require special permits and are difficult to build under strict zoning rules. The suites often are located on the first floor to eliminate stairs and feature flush thresholds; large bedroom and living areas; showers with ramp entries, built-in benches, and grab bars; and wide doorways - giving parents their own space but keeping them close enough to interact with their children and grandchildren. In some jurisdictions, in-law suites can have a bedroom, sitting area, bathroom, and a couple of appliances, but adding a stove or full kitchen could require special permits. The trend builds on a report that builders are increasing home sizes to include additional generations and Coldwell Banker Real Estate's finding that younger parents are more accommodating of adult children staying at home for extended periods.
  • Housing Washington 2014 takes place Oct. 6-8 at the Greater Tacoma Convention Center, 1500 Broadway, Tacoma, WA 98402. This year's annual affordable conference takes a critical look at the key issues continuing to impact affordability in today's market environment. Keynote presenters include noted economist Elliot Eisenberg, Ph.D., Roll Call Editor-In-Chief Christina Bellantoni and best-selling author Charles Montgomery. Special highlights include look and learn lobby talk discussions, a lively Town Hall and a pre-event mobile workshop featuring the first affordable, multifamily, multi-story and sustainable modular construction project in Western Washington; and the Annual Friend of Housing awards luncheon honors those making a positive impact in the affordable housing industry. For details and to register visit www.wshfc.org/conf.