Another great training I attended last week was a clock hour class sponsored by Chicago Title that was a Regional Outlook for 2016. Featured speakers were Mike Appleby with Chicago's Builder Division in Snohomish county; Dan Shin, real estate attorney specializing in foreign investors from Asia; and Jennifer O'Neal, a cultural anthropologist specializing in foreign cultures.
There were several surprises to me in the content of this class:
- The Seattle metro area may very well be the #1 job market in the country, with a historic all-time low of 3.7% unemployment
- The Seattle area is projected to add over 1.2million people in the next 20 years
- Increasing the supply of buildable land, and dealing with water rights are two of the top issues addressing this population growth
- Seattle is the third most congested city in the US; we are #9 on the list of most well-educated states. Yet, the University District was recently named the most affordable, walkable neighborhood in the US.
- The residential construction industry is the fifth largest local employer, ahead of Amazon, Starbucks, Nordstrom, and Costco.We are at an all-time high for the local construction industry.
- Zillow lists Seattle as the 2nd hottest residential market in the country, with prices estimated to rise 5% in the coming year. We had perhaps the fastest home price increases in the country in 2015.
- 40% of all Bellevue residents were born in another country
- 56% of area sales - and 40% of high end home sales - were to foreign investors, mostly Asian.
- The average college student debt is $35,000.
- As credit has tightened, an additional 5.2million people did not qualify for mortgages.
- One-third of all homebuyers now pay cash for their homes.