News In Brief
With home values rising by an average of more than $16,000 in the first quarter of 2018 but affordability dropping as mortgage rates get higher, the personal-finance website WalletHub today released its report on 2018's Best Real-Estate Markets as well as accompanying videos. To determine the most attractive real-estate markets in the U.S., WalletHub compared 300 cities across 22 key metrics. The data set ranges from median home-price appreciation to home sales turnover rate to job growth.
Health of Bellevue's Real-Estate Market (1=Best; 150=Avg.):
Bellevue ranks 9th overall and 6th among small cities.
A new report says Seattle-area drivers are among some of the worst in the 200 largest US cities. Allstate released its annual America's Best Drivers Report. Seattle drivers ranked 179 out of 200, up from last year's rank of 181. Tacoma came in at 167 and Bellevue at 157. Portland ranked below Seattle at 190. The report is based on how frequently crashes happen in each city. The report says the safest cities in America are Brownsville, Texas, Kansas City, Kansas, and Boise, Idaho. Miami was most improved from last year, moving up to 86 from 123 in 2017. The last city on the list coming in at number 200 is Baltimore, Maryland. To see the full report, click here.
Almost 29 cents of every dollar Seattleites earn these days is going to pay off their mortgage, according to a new study by Zillow. It's the 6th highest mortgage affordability rate in the U.S., Zillow says. It's also well above the national average of 17.5 percent and the historical average of 21.2 percent. Zillow says the rising rates - Seattle was pegged at just under 24 percent in late 2017 - is due largely to incomes not keeping up with the rising cost of housing and mortgage interest rates. The highest city was the San Jose, California market where buyers on average spend 53.5 percent of their income on their mortgage.
Average home prices in the Seattle area have skyrocketed by nearly 100 percent in the six-year period after the post-recession housing market hit bottom in 2012, says a new report released Thursday. That was the steepest price hike among the largest 20 cities in the U.S. and well above the national average, according to the study released by the real estate sales and analysis site Trulia.com. The report found that home values in the nation's largest metro areas increased by an average of 53.1 percent from 2012 through 2018. But in the Seattle metro area, home values shot up by 99.6 percent. A major factor fueling the sharp home price increases in Seattle - and other metro areas that have experienced soaring home prices - has been the rate of population increase exceeding the pace of new home construction. In the Seattle metro area, the population has grown by two people for each home construction permit issued from 2012 through 2017, which forces home prices upward. In addition, employment has ballooned by 12.4 percent during the same period in Seattle, the report says. More generally, the new report found that home prices in urban areas increased by more than double the rate as rural areas - 53.1 percent in cities as compared with 27.9 percent in rural counties. The reason: many metro areas have seen robust growth in jobs while many rural areas have stagnated. In the 100 largest metro areas, population expanded 4.8 percent, while population in rural counties fell 1.0 percent.
The average daily commute is getting longer in the Seattle metro area, even though more people are carpooling or using public transportation to get to work, according to newly released U.S. census data. The average Seattle-area commuter spent 31 minutes getting to work last year, compared with 28.6 minutes four years earlier - a statistically significant increase, says the U.S. Census Bureau. That's about four minutes longer than the national average and puts Seattle in ninth place among major U.S. metropolitan areas with the longest average travel times to work. It also means the average Seattle-area commuter spends nearly 11 days traveling to and from work over the course of the year, assuming a two-way commute for 50 five-day work weeks in a year. The increase in Seattle-area commuting times comes even though the number of people who drove alone to work decreased from 69.7 percent of the workforce to 67.6 percent over the same four-year period. Meanwhile, the number of workers carpooling to work increased from 9.9 percent of the workforce to 10.5 percent, while the number of workers using public transportation rose from 9.3 percent to 10.1 percent. Also, the number of people working from home grew from 5.4 percent of the workforce to 6.3 percent. Part of the explanation for longer commute times could simply be that there are more people commuting. The Census Bureau estimates that nearly 2 million people (1,997,545 to be exact) commuted to work in the Seattle metro area last year, compared with 1,797,681 people four years earlier.
Nationally, the Census Bureau estimates that 76.4 percent of workers drive alone to their workplace, while 8.9 percent carpool and 5 percent use public transportation. The metro area with the longest commute in the U.S. is (no surprise) New York City, where workers spend an average of 37 minutes getting to work each day. It is followed by Washington, D.C. (34.9 minutes); San Francisco (34.4 minutes); Riverside/San Bernardino, Calif. (32.7 minutes) and Atlanta (32.3 minutes).
It's not hard to notice around Seattle that the economy is booming, and a new study by WalletHub agrees. Their research reports Seattle is now the third-fastest growing economy in a large city in America, coming in just behind Austin and Miami. The agency says they used 15 metrics studying each city's sociodemographics, jobs, the economy and only counted data collected from inside the city limits, ignoring the surrounding area. Seattle had its highest scores in population growth, median household income growth, job growth and working age population growth. It fared worst in poverty rate decrease and growth in number of businesses. Seattle gets its No. 3 ranking for cities with more than 300,000 population. Overall, even counting small cities, Seattle ranked 25th. Among large cities, Cleveland rated the worst.