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February 2020

News In Brief

January 7, 2020

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Microsoft has allocated $380 million of its commitment, which it hopes will go toward creating and preserving about 6,500 affordable housing units in the Seattle metro area. Here's a breakdown of where Microsoft has allocated the funds so far. Microsoft provided a $250 million line of credit to the Washington State Housing Finance Commission, to help finance about 3,000 affordable housing units. The line of credit will allow the commission to "preserve and recycle the state's limited tax-exempt private activity bond volume cap." The company is also putting another $50 million toward the Evergreen Impact Housing Fund, a partnership between the Seattle Foundation and the Washington State Housing Finance Commission. The contribution is intended to help add 1,250 new low-income housing units on the Eastside, in cities including Bellevue, Kirkland and Redmond. The other projects the company is contributing to include the HomeSight Othello Square Project, which will include nearly 200 units of affordable housing and Rise Together, a group of nonprofits hoping to create 400 new affordable housing units in neighborhoods including the Central District, Capitol Hill and White Center. Other projects and grants include investments in Plymouth Housing to build permanent supportive housing for individuals who are chronically homeless and in United Way's HomeBase program, focused on preventing eviction.



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In just a year, Washington jumped up a few spots in a list of the most educated states in the country, according to an annual study from WalletHub. The Evergreen State moved from the 10th position into a firm seventh place spot for 2020, thanks in part to its high percentage of residents with some secondary education experience - Washington ranked third in that category. The study compared 17 other metrics across two categories - which were labeled "educational attainment" and "quality of education" - including quality of universities in the state, high school graduation rate, test scores, engagement of students and the share of adults with different degrees. The study unfortunately didn't break down the quality of universities within the state, so the jury's out on which school takes that nod - this author is a bit partial to Western Washington University. Washington leapt over Utah, Minnesota, New Jersey and New Hampshire in 2020, even bumping Utah out of the top 10. The top two education powerhouses of Massachusetts and Maryland stood firm from 2019 to 2010. Massachusetts ranked the highest in both categories. The study overall emphasized and argued for the link between higher education rates and overall financial success. While it didn't say that higher education has a direct link to higher income, it said it increases the income potential and lowers the chances of unemployment.



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According to a study done by COMMERCIAL Café, Seattle is the fourth best metropolitan place for millennials to live and work in. The results of this study were based on a measurement across seven factors including, millennial population growth across the nation between 2014-2018, amount of millennials overall, regional price parity, millennial unemployment rate, percentage of millennials with a bachelor's degree in the labor force, percentage of millennials with employer-based health insurance, and commuting times. Based on that data, Seattle tops all other metro places for growth in millennial population by an increase of 14% from 2014-2018. Seattle's commute time is the worst with an average of 31.6 minutes. Even though an increase of population may mean longer commute times, that may be because of the flourishing job opportunities here. The Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue metro area has one of the fewest millennial unemployment ratings! Seattle was topped by: the Denver area, Austin, and Raleigh.



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Americans are facing challenges to homeownership, particularly with shrinking inventories of homes for sale, yet somehow more are still finding their way to becoming homeowners, according to FOX Business. The homeownership rate rose to its highest level in six years during the fourth quarter of 2019, a newly released report from the U.S. Census Bureau shows. The percentage of Americans who own their home increased to 65.1%, the highest ownership rate since the third quarter of 2013. The rate was higher in the Midwest and South at 69.5% and 66.7%, respectively. Homeownership rates are highest among older adults. Individuals aged 65 and older had the highest homeownership rate at 79%. In comparison, individuals below the age of 35 had a homeownership rate of 36.5%.