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December 2019

News In Brief

December 5, 2019

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Looking for a safe city in Washington to settle down in? Duvall is a top choice, according to a new study. The town of just under 8,000 was named atop the Top 50 safest cities in Washington by Security Baron. The study analyzed FBI rankings of crime rates in 116 Washington cities that included violent crimes, burglary and thefts, and arson, plus factors like median income and number of residents in law enforcement. Duvall has just 0.51 violent crimes per 1,000 people and 3.94 property crimes per 1,000 people, putting them atop the list. Buckley, Connell, Sammamish and Oak Harbor rounded out the Top 5. At the bottom of the list was Union Gap, with Fife ending up second to last. You can see the entire list of cities at this site.



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The Washington State Supreme Court has upheld a Seattle law that requires landlords to publicize their criteria for prospective renters and accept the first qualified applicant. The Seattle Times reported that the court reversed a decision by a King County judge last year to strike down the first-come, first-served law for renters, which was adopted by the City Council in 2016. In a unanimous opinion, the court rejected claims by landlords who said the law amounted to a regulatory taking of private property and who said it violated their due-process and free-speech rights under the state Constitution. In a separate case related to a Seattle law that mostly prohibits landlords from screening and choosing renters based on criminal records, the Supreme Court has also sided with the city.




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In a study result that will come to the shock of absolutely no one, Seattle has just been named the Gloomiest City in America during the winter. The study by BestPlaces determined a city's "Gloom Score" by calculating the percentage of cloud cover, the number of days with precipitation and the hours of daylight in the late fall and winter months of November, December and January. Seattle leads the nation among major cities in cloud cover with 226 overcast days a year; we're high on the list with 156 days with measurable rain, and of course being among the most northern cities in the Lower 48 means daylight is hard to find in the winter...




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An updated forecast shows Washington state is expected to see a net increase in revenues of about $299 million for the current two-year budget cycle, according to a report from KOMO News. The numbers released at last month's meeting of the state Economic and Revenue Forecast Council also show that revenues for the budget cycle that ends mid-2021 will top out at about $51.7 billion. The state is projected to have about $3 billion in reserves in that timeframe. The projections for the next two-year budget that ends mid-2023 also increased by about $181 million, pushing the state's total revenues for that cycle up to about $55 billion. Gov. Jay Inslee will release his supplemental budget proposal in December. Legislative leaders in the House and Senate will release their budget proposals during the 60-day legislative session that begins Jan. 13.




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The Seattle area ranks among the top five metros across the U.S. with the largest percentage of million-dollar homes, according to a new study and reported by the Seattle PI. The analysis by LendingTree looked at the 50 largest metro areas across the country to find which areas had the largest share of million-dollar homes. The study found 11.25% of housing units in the Seattle metro area were valued at or above $1 million. Of the 912,010 overall housing units the study found, 102,598 were valued at $1 million or more. The median value of owner-occupied homes in the Seattle area was $487,400.
Seattle ranked behind four areas in California, including San Jose, which topped the list with more than half of the housing units valued at $1 million or more. San Jose was followed by metro areas including San Francisco, Los Angeles and San Diego. Other cities that ranked in the top 10, behind Seattle, included New York, Boston and Washington, D.C. The study found across the country, million-dollar homes are far from normal. Just more than 5% of owner-occupied homes across the country's 50 largest metro areas are valued at $1 million or more. The cities with the smallest percentage of million-dollar homes include Cincinnati, Buffalo, New York and Pittsburgh. In each of these metro areas, less than 1% of homes are valued at $1 million or more. To conduct the study, LendingTree looked at the 50 largest metros in the U.S. and used data from the U.S. Census Bureau to determine the percentage of owner-occupied homes valued at $1 million or more.