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June 2017

News in Brief

  • Census data show that from 2010 to 2015, the percentage of Seattle households that own a vehicle declined according to a report in the Seattle Times. In 1970, 84.5 percent of city households owned at least one vehicle. As of 2015, it's down by about 1 percentage point. And that's almost entirely because of one group - millenials. At the start of this decade, someone under the age 35 was just as likely to own a car as anyone else in Seattle. Five years later, car ownership among the city's young had decline by about 3 percentage points. Among the 50 largest U.S. cities, none saw a bigger drop in the ownership rate among millenials in this period than Seattle. For Seattle households headed by someone age 35 and up, there have been no change in the rate of ownership. As Seattle housing costs go up, cars are one expense that many young city dwellers are willing to sacrifice. In terms of the raw number of cars, Seattle probably hasn't hit its peak. Even though carless households are growing faster, households with cars are still increasing, including those that own multiple cars. These forces pushed the city's car "population" to 435,000 in 2015.

  • According to the Seattle Times, Vancouver, B.C. home prices climbed back to a record in May, suggesting the impact of a foreign-buyer tax imposed last year is fading. Benchmark prices in the city reached a record C$967,500 ($716,300), up 8.8 percent from a year earlier, the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver said. Average prices for single detached homes hit C$1.831 million, the most ever.

  • According to a 2015 NAHB study, the 6,500 single-family homes built in King and Snohomish counties in 2014 generated: $2.1 billion in local income, 24,759 jobs, and $314.7 million in taxes and other revenue. After construction is complete, the new homes and new residents continue to stimulate our local economy. Annual sustained impact includes: more than $280 million in local income, nearly $84 million in taxes, and almost 4,000 local jobs.

  • For the first time since 2013, Seattle had the fastest one-year growth rate among the nation's 50 most-populated cities. Seattle added more than 20,000 people between 2015 and 2016 - that's 57 more people a day, on average. That pencils out to a 3.1 percent population increase for the one-year period. Last year's growth spurt marks just the second time since the start of this decade that one of the 50 largest cities exceeded a 3 percent growth rate. Seattle's population, according to the Census Bureau, hit 704,352 in 2016. We remain the 18th largest city in the country, and also the 10th most densely populated, now with 8,391 people per square mile. Among Washington cities with at least 50,000 people, only one grew faster than Seattle: Redmond, with a 3.2 percent growth rate. Bellevue grew less than half as fast. Only one lost population, though by just a 10th of a percent: Shoreline.

  • The U.S. gross domestic product - the broadest gauge of the economy - expanded in the January-March quarter at a 1.2 percent annual rate.

  • WalletHub recently released its report on 2017's Best & Worst Cities for Staycations. To identify the best spots for staying local, WalletHub's number crunchers compared the 150 largest cities across 36 key indicators of a fun-filled yet wallet-friendly staycation. The data ranges from movie and bowling costs to spas and wellness centers per capita to cost of house-cleaning services. WalletHub's "Best Cities for Staycations" for 2017 are: 1) Orlando, 2) Chicago, 3) San Diego, 4) Seattle, 5) Tampa, 6) Las Vegas, 7) Atlanta, 8) Portland, OR, 9) San Francisco and 10) New York.