Seattle Real Estate Market Review

Screen Shot 2014-04-22 at 1.39.41 PMJanuary home prices in Seattle down 0.8 percent:

Home prices in the Seattle metro area dipped for the fourth month in a row in January, in line with a nationwide decrease, according to the S&P/Case-Shiller 20-city index released Tuesday. The average price of existing single-family homes in King, Snohomish and Pierce counties dropped 0.8 percent from the previous month, after a 0.5 dip in December. By comparison, the 20-city index dropped 0.1 percent in January, as it did the previous two months.

Source: The Seattle Times, March 25, 2014

Home price rising more slowly, but for-sale signs remain scarce:

The median price of single-family homes in King County rose in March to $414,950, an increase of 6 percent from a year ago, the Northwest Multiple Listing Service said Thursday. Prices surged in Snohomish and Pierce counties: The median price rose 9 percent to $314,975 in Snohomish, and 13 percent to $230,000 in Pierce. A continuing tight inventory of homes for sale kept pressure on prices. “Everyone’s waiting for the spring bounce in listings,” said Seattle economist Matthew Gardner.

Source: The Seattle Times, April 3, 2014

Rising rents, rising towers push out tenants of modest means:

When a developer demolishes the century-old Williamsburg Court Apartments in downtown Seattle this year, 49 households will have to find new homes. They include a high-school math teacher, hotel concierge, classical trumpeter, restaurant manager, theater coordinator, a writer and two executive chefs. Across the street at the high-rise apartment tower Aspira, a one-bedroom unit starts at just under $2,000 — more than twice what many residents pay at the three-story Williamsburg Court.

Source: The Seattle Times, April 5, 2014

Severe inventory shortage sends Seattle-area housing prices higher:

Homeowners, if you’re thinking about selling, real estate agents have a message for you: Get off the dime already. A report from the Northwest Multiple Listing Service on Thursday said housing prices in the metro Puget Sound area rose in March compared with a year ago. The main reason is an inventory shortage. The listing service said that in King County, there’s only a 1.8-month supply of houses and condos for sale. Industry analysts say a four- to six-month supply is needed for a balanced market.

Source: Puget Sound Business Journal, April 3, 2014

2 Puget Sound-area neighborhoods on ‘green’ homes list:

Two Puget Sound communities have been named to a list of the top 10 U.S. neighborhoods that have the largest number of “green” homes. Downtown Bellevue was fourth on the list, with 36 percent of its residential home listings having green features, and Seattle’s Columbia City neighborhood was No. 8 on the list, with 30 percent of its residential listings having green features.

Source: Puget Sound Business Journal, April 17, 2014

Biking in Seattle



Washington No. 4 Among Fastest Growing State Economies

increaseWashington is outpacing most states on growing its economy, thanks in part to international trade.

Using figures from the Bureau of Economic Analysis, a researcher at a federal policy organization ranked Washington 4th among states with the fastest-growing economies.  North Dakota tops the list, followed by Texas and Oregon.

U.S. gross domestic product (GDP) grew by 2.5 percent in 2012, up from 1.6 percent in 2011. By comparison, Washington’s GDP growth for 2012 was 3.6 percent.

“Washington has made considerable efforts to become a major exporter,” noted Jared Bernstein, a senior fellow at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. This has allowed the state to become less dependent on U.S. consumers and companies for business, and to “be nimble enough to take products to where the growth is,” he remarked.

In addition to exports, Washington’s information sector contributed nearly one-third of its GDP growth in 2012, the most of any state. The sector accounted for 9 percent of GDP in 2012, also the most of any state. However, information sector employment has been flat in recent years, with no employment growth recorded in 2012.

Robust grown in Texas and North Dakota was attributed in large part to energy production.

On both federal and state levels, the nonprofit Center on Budget and Policy Priorities conducts research and analysis on budget and tax policies, and works on fiscal policy and public programs that affect low- and moderate-income families and individuals.

Discover Seattle: The Emerald City

Seattle Great Wheel headerWith its natural beauty and laid-back vibe, Seattle offers a quality of life rarely matched by other cities. While its riches have morphed from timber and gold to aircraft and technology, its pioneering spirit lives on.

Seattle’s Coffee Culture

Did you know Seattle has 10 times more coffee shops per 100,000 residents than the United States has overall? Seattle is the world center for coffee roasting. By the time my daughter was ten, she could order a drink with every box checked off!

Discover all the Seattle coffee hot spots below.


– See more at:

Seattle’s Top 10 attractions

Here’s a roundup of favorite places to go and things to do all over town.

Seattle Great Wheel

Seattle’s Great Wheel ride is a popular new waterfront attraction.

This year’s guide takes aim at both newcomers and visitors to our corner of the world, spotlighting top attractions and trendy shopping districts. If you’re new to town, wade on in. If you’re a longtimer, you might find reminders of forgotten favorites. A big part of it is our month-by-month Seattle Times calendar of summer festivals and events across Western Washington — a handy compendium for every Puget Sound resident. Got visitors? Point them to this guide, be sure their smartphone is charged and they have a little lunch money, and set them lose. — Brian J. Cantwell, Summer Guide editor

Weak list. Instead of the ‘original’ Starbucks and the Space Needle, how about… (May 11, 2013, by Mr_Olyvia) MORE
Olympic Sculpture Park? How about World Class Stupidity??!!! That is the worst park in… (May 11, 2013, by Ball Four) MORE
And how about Fremont – 3 “statues”: Waiting for the Interurban, the Troll… (May 12, 2013, by retireandgo) MORE

New to town, revisiting favorite haunts, or just sightseeing in Seattle? Here are 10 of the city’s top attractions.

Pike Place Market

This historic, beloved downtown public market has been in business since 1907. It’s a year-round farmers market and a visual riot of vegetable, seafood, cheese and flower stalls along with handicrafts and tourist-friendly knickknacks. And, of course, the flying fish. Vendors at Pike Place Fish Market gleefully toss salmon to each other and crack jokes, always drawing a crowd at the fish stall by the market’s main entrance.

For less of a crowd, take the stairs to “Down Under,” a wood-floored maze of small shops beneath the main-level market. And mosey into the shops and stalls across the street from the main market, including what is touted as “the original” Starbucks (which actually moved here from down the street about five years after its 1971 opening, but retains its vintage look).

Info: The main entrance to Pike Place Market is at First Avenue and Pike Street. The market is open daily.

Space Needle

This vertical icon of the city is so kitschy it’s become cool, and it gives a great view of the city from the top. Built for the 1962 World’s Fair, it’s 605 feet tall and looks like a spaceship on stilts, towering over Seattle Center(, a cultural complex where you could easily spend hours at the Pacific Science Center, Chihuly glass display, food court, theatres or simply watching kids frolic in a giant outdoor fountain.

Get there on the Seattle Center Monorail(another nicely kitschy World’s Fair legacy, from Westlake Center in the heart of downtown; it takes just a few minutes.

Info: The Space Needle is open daily, including evenings. Admission starts at $19 (adult) for the elevator ride to the observation deck, 520 feet up. Or get a meal with a view at Skycity or 206-905-2200.

Olympic Sculpture Park

World-class sculpture. A walk with wonderful views of the city, harbor and mountains. And it’s free. How could you not visit the Seattle Art Museum’s Olympic Sculpture Park?

The outdoor sculpture garden spreads over 9 acres of a seaside bluff north of downtown, transformed from an industrial backwater into the home of artwork such as Alexander Calder’s “Eagle,” six tons of red-painted steel that looks like an abstract soaring bird. Paths wander amid sculpture; for a longer, lovely walk, stroll along the 1.2-mile waterfront path in adjoining Myrtle Edwards Park.

Info: The sculpture garden is open year-round from a half-hour before sunrise to a half-hour after sunset. Free. or 206-654-3100.

Washington State Ferries

Ferries shuttle all around Puget Sound and they’re a key, and the prettiest, part of Washington’s transportation system. You can have a fun, quick and cheap sightseeing boat ride as a walk-on passenger (adult fare is $7.70 round trip) on the Seattle-Bainbridge Island ferry. If it’s clear, you’ll even see 14,410-foot Mount Rainier looming to the south on the 35-minute ride. “The Mountain,” as locals call it, really does exist, although it’s often shrouded in clouds.

Board the ferry at Pier 52 on the downtown Seattle waterfront, get off at Bainbridge and walk into the friendly little town of Winslow — its restaurants, cafes and shops are a 10-minute walk from the ferry landing on the main drag of Winslow Way. Back on the ferry, enjoy the spectacular urban skyline view as you approach downtown Seattle. or 888-808-7977. For Winslow shops, restaurants and more,

Museum of ­History & Industry

This museum doesn’t have the most enticing name (although it’s known locally as MOHAI, which at least is shorter). But don’t miss it. MOHAI reopened in late 2012, with new galleries and multimedia displays, in a new location in Lake Union Park at the north edge of downtown. Its exhibits on life in Seattle and Puget Sound cover everything from the maritime past to cutting-edge culture. (Adult admission is $14.)

Outside in the waterfront park, at the south end of Lake Union, watch boats scud across the lake (or across the park’s model-boat pond) and float planes take off.

While there, boat-lovers shouldn’t miss the nearbyCenter for Wooden Boats, with displays, more than 100 historic boats, a wharf, rental boats and free vintage-boat rides on Sundays (first-come, first served). No admission charge.

Info: MOHAI, or 206-324-1126. Center for Wooden Boats, or 206-382-2628.

Downtown waterfront

Soon the traffic-roaring Alaskan Way Viaduct, which cuts off downtown Seattle from its waterfront, will come tumbling down and be replaced by a tunnel. For now, there’s a broad sidewalk along the harborfront with shops, eateries (fish and chips is always a favorite) and wooden piers jutting out into the bay. Stop at the Seattle Aquarium to see what lives in (and beyond) the local waters (adult admission, $19.95). Ride the Seattle Great Wheel, a 175-foot tall Ferris wheel with enclosed gondola-type cabins, for a view from on high of the city, Elliott Bay and the Olympic Mountains to the west (adult ticket $13). , seattlegreatwheel.comand

Seattle Art Museum

The perfect place for a rainy day — or any day — if you’d like to see everything from European masters’ paintings and ancient Asian artwork to Native American carvings and contemporary sculpture. The museum is in the heart of downtown; its gift store and restaurant offer unusual souvenirs and good food. Museum admission is $17 (adult), with free admission on the first Thursday of each month. (Tie it in with the free First Thursday Art Walk each month of art galleries in the nearby historic Pioneer Square district.)

Info: or 206-654-3100.

Chinatown International District

Seattle’s Chinatown is almost as old as the city, emerging in the 1880s. Now also called the International District, it’s been a cultural hub for Chinese, Japanese, Vietnamese, Filipino and other immigrants. It’s packed with Asian restaurants and shops, and home to the Wing Luke Museumthat chronicles the life and times of Pacific and Asian Americans in the area ($12.95 adult admission). Join the locals at bubble-tea shops or for dim sum. Get a big taste of local cultures atUwajimaya, a bustling supermarket of Asian foods and gifts.

Ballard Locks

See the essence of the Pacific Northwest at the Ballard Locks, where you can watch salmon and boats — from fishing boats and tugs to kayaks and yachts. The locks carry boats up and down, letting them travel between Puget Sound and Seattle’s freshwater waterways (about 20 feet above sea level). A fish ladder lets salmon swim up past the locks to their freshwater spawning grounds; glass viewing windows let people watch them.

Stroll in the ornamental gardens surrounding the locks (formally known as Hiram M. Chittenden Locks, but called Ballard Locks after the local neighborhood); and listen to outdoor concerts at 2 p.m. on summer weekends, June 1 to Labor Day. No admission; concerts also free.

Info: (click on “Chittenden Locks”)

Boeing tour

See Boeing‘s “Future of Flight” exhibits (and design your own jet digitally) and see jets being made inside the Boeing factory, about 25 miles north of Seattle in Everett. The Boeing plant is the biggest building by volume in the world — 472,000,000 cubic feet — and holds the production lines for various Boeing jets, including the 787 Dreamliner. Adult admission for the exhibits and 90-minute guided tour is $18. (Children must be at least four feet tall to join the tour.)


Read the entire article By Kristin Jackson Seattle Times NWTraveler editor, via

The State of Seattle Survey


Weber Shandwick’s Third Annual ‘State of Seattle’ Survey polled 500 local residents to find out their perceptions of the city, including the economy, civility, culture and the media.


The Coffee Culture of Seattle

Seattle ranks 2nd in America in Bloomberg Top 50


Bloomberg Business Week recently released its rankings for the top 50 cities in America. Seattle came second only to San Francisco, and Portland was fifth.

While rating cities can sometimes feel like comparing apples to oranges and is often a matter of personal taste, and Bloomberg Rankings teamed up to look at the same data points across the board for 100 of the nation’s largest metro areas — leisure, education, economy, crime, and air quality in addition to major pro sports leagues. Based on these metrics, Seattle’s numbers come out as follows:

Bars: 219
Restaurants: 2,307
Museums: 29
Libraries: 42
Pro sports teams: 4
Park acres per 1,000 residents: 9
Colleges: 8
Percent with graduate degree: 16.8
Median household income: $90,303
Percent unemployed: 7.2

With a population of just over 624,000 and more than its share of rain, Seattle is still considered “the nation’s spiritual home for coffee and personal computing,” according to Business Week.