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Seattle area Seattle and King County Suburbs
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Old 04-22-2011, 11:15 AM
56 posts, read 118,007 times
Reputation: 38


"and not something you ever see being brought up in other metro areas"

Ever? Plenty of snobby New Yorkers who strenuously deny that the Jersey burbs are in any way part of NYC. Sometimes actual boroughs aren't even NYC enough for certain people. Chicago has this same sort of provincialism, along with SF, Boston, Philly, etc...

Regardless, both definitions are correct given the proper context--Seattle can mean the city proper or the broader metro.
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Old 04-22-2011, 11:30 AM
Location: South Bay
327 posts, read 896,822 times
Reputation: 191
I think the fundamental answer behind the "how do you afford it" question is the belief that the median income should be able to afford the median home price. If you earn enough to buy a home, you're pretty solid middle class and can manage reasonably well. Unfortunately, this economic fundamental hasn't really applied to Seattle for the last 10 years or so, because of the growing wealth of the upper 50%. Seattle has a pretty large tech and aerospace market that has grown significantly during this time. All early Microsoft stock splits and options made a lot early Microsofties wealthy. Then came a bunch of dot com's and Amazon, which adds to the wealth of the upper 50%. So while the median income gradually moved with inflation, the average income has been moving much faster. This separates the economic fundamentals and creates a median home prices that is a pivot point somewhere between the median income and the average income. This, along with increasing population and limited land development has drove prices beyond the reach of the median income. This is where the gap most likely comes from.
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