More people looking to leave? (Seattle, Lynnwood: for sale, mortgage, new home)
Seattle areaSeattle and King County Suburbs
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Chicago is cheaper, though less beautiful. Grand Rapids is also cheaper and close to a massive lake. The Boston Suburbs are just as beautiful and also significantly cheaper. I can say the same for Philadelphia and other various cities in New England. The home prices around here just don't add up. And even worse, there's a lot of urban sprawl and unlike the other cities, it doesn't seem to get much cheaper until you go really far out. In Chicago each town out is cheaper and cheaper. Here it costs the same to live anywhere in a 20 mile radius of Seattle no matter how inconvenient or hard-to-get-to the location is.
Eh, I found some Boston suburbs, especially the ones that hit that perfect trifecta (location, desirability, great schools) to be equally as or more expensive than here. Same for Philadelphia. (And their property taxes... oof!)
You also can't presume everyone works in Seattle DT area... our companies are spread out like that (MS in the Eastside for example). The 20 miles radius of Seattle not being cheap would make sense. But the fact is... *relatively* speaking, South of Seattle is cheap--- but it also isn't as desirable nor does it have great schools, it also doesn't have the best perception-- even on C-D, people will shoo you away because, oh it's "DANGEROUS"-- not really, but whatever. You also mentioned the inconvenient/hard to get to location-- usually those areas offer something else that makes it more desirable, whether it be closer to the mountains, the water, away from the main traffic arteries-- there's something there that everyone wants.
Also, every time you do have an area that does offer cheap housing, then you have too many people coming in, buying up (and damning the traffic). I remember it not being too long ago that you could buy a house in Orting for 50,000 dollars-- unfortunately its since tripled, quadrupled (and more). Orting... which is some 40ish miles south of Seattle, 20ish miles SE from Tacoma. I personally don't get it, with all the risks Orting provides (they have little constant earthquakes, and floodings. Not to mention: Mt. Rainier is right in your face)... you couldn't pay me to live there. Just ultimately, there is a demand for *cheap* (affordable) housing and that will keep the prices up.
I don't want super cheap housing. I'm just sick of seeing the majority of houses going for $500,000 (rounded up/down from $450,000-$550,000). Som of these homes wouldn't even be able to sell for $400,000 elsewhere. To me, the safe point for housing is $300,000-$400,000. Those I believe are fair prices. Yet when I go on RedFin everything I see that isn't complete crap (run down, needing $50,000+ in updates) is a minimal of $400,000. When I see properties below that, they require a little renovation. It just doesn't make sense considering the average income.
If it's true, part of the reason might be the absurd housing prices here. The prices compete with the cost of homes across the river from New York City--and that's saying something. Seattle, while I love it to pieces, is tiny compared to New York City. We shouldn't be paying NYC prices to live here. Though, at least we don't pay $15,000+ property taxes like they do.
I know a few friends of mine who have visited and want to move here (from both Chicago and Boston) but won't because the price of housing is just too much and not worth it. With the average price of homes being $500,000 you have to wonder... how do these people afford it? I have family members who make upwards of $200,000 a year and even they think that's too much to pay for a house.
This is why I think about moving sometimes. I feel that so much money could be saved for my kids' college tuitions and retirement if we spent less on housing. And the the homes in Seattle proper are dumps, relatively! A 200K home in Richmond VA would be 1million here. Same with parts of Pittsburgh. Are were really getting a good deal here? Yes, gorgeous water/scenery, nice independent business districts, and a liberal/educated population -- but is that worth paying and extra 50-100% (or even more) on a dumpy house? This is the dilemma...
Are were really getting a good deal here? Yes, gorgeous water/scenery, nice independent business districts, and a liberal/educated population -- but is that worth paying and extra 50-100% (or even more) on a dumpy house? This is the dilemma...
I think that's where your preferences as an individual come into play. I don't plan on buying a house. Personally, I'd rather pay more in rent to have what the Seattle area offers (scenery, mountains, water, etc.) I think a lot of that comes down to having lived in so many different places and comparing their +/-. Yeah, Seattle isn't perfect, but there isn't really anywhere that is. The major negatives are the weather and housing costs. I can deal with the weather, and have no problem paying a couple of hundred more to rent in the heart of the city.
Here in Houston, rents have skyrocketed the last few years due to people moving here to find jobs. They exist in specific industries, but for the most part the data is skewed with the reality of plentiful low paying jobs. In the meantime, rents have skyrocketed to the point where you can't find decently new studio/1-bed apartments for under $1000 within a 10-mile radius of downtown. I'd rather pay $200+ more a month for something somewhat equivalent in the heart of Seattle. That $200 extra enables me to have access to everything I love and live in a much more exciting and vibrant area of the country. In terms of buying houses, the Houston area is definitely cheaper but a lot of those cheap houses are some 20-30 miles outside of the city. Inside the city, they can still be $300,000+ and you pay a lot in property taxes which negate some of the savings. However, they are probably nicer and more spacious than a house that cost or more in Seattle. Also, i know other things are slightly more expensive in Seattle (food, gas, etc.) but since utilities are much more here, the savings from that pretty much pays for the additional costs in those areas too.
I actually sold a house I owned in Tennessee in order to move here and pay rent. I'd rather rent here than own a house in TN. I think I'd even rather be homeless here than have to live in TN again.
I feel the same way about Georgia although I will say the housing costs out here kinda baffled me when I first started reading about it... my mind was made up to move out here regardless due to the fact I was unemployed in Georgia and got a job offer here but still...
A guy at work said it best... he asked me what I had in Georgia and I told him "3 BR, 2 bath, 2 car garage, double lot... $120k" to which he replied "You won't get a shack in the ghetto here for anything less than $250k"...
At the moment I'm renting and will be for a while. I sold the house in Georgia just as the economy went south and lost my job less than a year later. Could have been worse.
I should also add that I didn't really like owning a house in the first place, at least not at my income level. If I were making enough money so that I never had to lift a finger for maintenance (besides cleaning) and paying for a new roof wouldn't completely ruin me for a couple of years, then I'd probably enjoy home ownership a little more.
Check the 2010 census data. A few cities lost a very small percentage, the rest of the Puget Sound, including Seattle gained population, some doubled or tripled since the last census in 2000. No one counts except during a census
so there's no way to know how it's changed since 2010 except by bogus methods such as home price searches.
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