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February 2017

News In Brief

  • Beginning January 28, 2017, it is recommended that all phone calls dialed from Western Washington include the area code. As of July 29, 2017, 10-digit dialing will be required. Calls that are currently local will continue to be local. New telephone lines using the 564 area code will begin to be assigned in the summer of 2017. The 564 area code overlay will be introduced initially in the existing 360 area code region, then expanded to the 206, 253, and 425 area codes. Please be sure that any speed-dial or auto-dial features in your phones, faxes, call forwarding settings, voice mails services, etc. are updated. Additional information may be found at the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission website.

  • The Daily Herald reported that the leaders of the House and Senate transportation committees appear to be ready to keep the toll lanes open and won't move on any bills to end tolling on I-405 between Bellevue and Lynnwood. Head of the Senate transportation committee Curtis King says the state needs to wait for the results of the two-year pilot project. Next September would mark two years. Representative Judy Clibborn, who heads the House Transportation committee, is considering making the toll lanes permanent in 2018, the Associated Press reports.

  • According to the Puget Sound Business Journal, the number of cranes in Seattle increased to 62 in the latter part of 2016 and now leads the country in the crane race. The Business Journal reported that the number of cranes is decreasing in some major cities, including New York, Phoenix, and Los Angeles. Meanwhile, almost 50 percent of tower cranes currently operating in North America are in Seattle, Chicago, and Toronto, according to the Journal.

  • Chris Sullivan at KIRO Radio recently reported that small bedroom communities are now developing downtowns and giving the big cities a run for their money. One such example is the city of Bothell. The city of Bothell's population has grown by 12,000 in the past 10 years. Bothell is nearly finished widening a road most people still call Highway 527. The city took it over from the state and renamed it "Bothell Way" so it could handle not only the commuters who commute through town but also the new residents. Not to mention the people coming to Bothell for new hotels and businesses, such as McMenamins. Bothell recently received a grant from the state to continue its downtown expansion to join al the new private investment on the west side of Bothell Way with the historic downtown Main Street on the east side of town. The east side of town is an area that has also seen new development. The city is spending $7 million to revitalize its Main Street and make it a place to enjoy. Construction on Main Street will begin later this year, about the time the widening on Bothell Way wraps up. The city is also about to get to work on additional sidewalks and other improvements throughout the entire city, funded by the successful ballot measure last November. Bothell is just an example of what we're seeing around the region. Smaller cities are growing up to handle all their new residents and looking to become destinations of their own.

  • On Friday Jan. 20, 2017 the Trump Administration ordered a freeze on new and pending regulations. The recent 25 basis point reduction to the Federal Housing Administration Annual Mortgage Insurance Premiums was included under this freeze. It has been suspended and is currently under review. NAR President William E. Brown released a statement in response to the announcement:

    "According to our estimates, roughly 750,000 to 850,000 homebuyers will face higher costs, and 30,000 to 40,000 new homebuyers will be left on the sidelines in 2017 without the cut. We're disappointed in the decision but will continue making the case to reinstate the cut in the months ahead."