Expert: Commuters are what really drive Puget Sound’s housing market

Sep 10, 2019, 2:42 PM | Updated: 2:44 pm
Seattle housing market,, commuters, Seattle council, traffic, commute, gas cars...
Traffic in downtown Seattle. (SDOT)

The disparity of housing prices in Puget Sound varies depending on which county you’re in, and fluctuates regularly when buyers start flocking out of bigger, more expensive cities. That being so, those prices are largely driven by a factor that’s been present since the dawn of the housing market: Location, location, location.

“It’s a very simple reason — the closer you are to the job centers, the more expensive your housing is because there’s a value to our time,” Windermere Chief Economist Matthew Gardner told KIRO Radio’s Dave Ross.

To wit: The median price of a residential home in Pierce County was $374,000 in August 2019. In King County, it’s a whopping $670,000. Now, a good deal of factors play into that, such as home size, added value in backyards, two-car garages, and more, and competing buyers bidding up prices.

But when it comes down to brass tax, time is the most valuable commodity of all, and people will pay a premium for it.

Why Puget Sound millennials are finally looking to buy homes

“Yes, you can get a great house for $400,000 in Pierce County,” Gardner noted. “But then you’re gonna spend three, three-and-a-half hours a day on the road commuting to and from work, so one offsets the other.”

According to Gardner, that’s really what keeps King County housing prices so high: The allure of a shorter commute. So, even while King County’s expensive homes have driven buyers south to Pierce County, prices in the former will still beat those in the latter largely on the strength of a quicker drive to the office.

“The expectation sellers have is … ‘we’ve had six or so years of massive price increases, that can continue, [and] my home is worth more and more and more.’ In reality, it isn’t,” he points out. “And so what we are certainly seeing around the region is well-priced, well-located homes are still selling very quickly.”

Dave Ross on KIRO Newsradio 97.3 FM
  • listen to dave rossTune in to KIRO Newsradio weekdays at 5am for Dave Ross on Seattle's Morning News.

Dave's Commentary

Dave Ross

social media...
Dave Ross

Ross: Social media companies might actually be held responsible for the content they host

The Supreme Court could finally decide if social media is legally responsible for what it broadcasts by agreeing to take the case of Gonzalez v. Google.
17 hours ago
Dave Ross

Ross: With voter pamphlets and mail-in ballots, you have no reason not to vote

So as the election approaches, I remind people that not voting means giving up your one chance to throw your weight around
2 days ago
Dave Ross

Ross: The divide between the reasonable and the unreasonable comes down to what works

When I was doing a talk show I used to say that the real divide was between “the normal people and the wackos” – but I must admit now that the phrase lacked nuance.
3 days ago
Dave Ross

Ross: The key to wedding success? Eat lots of cake and make your dancing look spontaneous

Make the singing look spontaneous, and whether or not people like it, at least they’ll be forgiving. Just make sure they’ve had lots of cake.
6 days ago
Dave Ross

Ross: Before fearing what migrants destroy, try helping them build something first

The U.S. border is swamped with hundreds of thousands of migrants who want in – and border states are fed up.
7 days ago
Dave Ross

Ross: Those who don’t learn history are doomed to accept whatever they are told

Zinn’s book failed to shake my patriotism, any more than visiting Cuba or the Soviet Union. I still see America as a unique experiment worth protecting.
8 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Anacortes Christmas Tree...

Come one, come all! Food, Drink, and Coastal Christmas – Anacortes has it all!

Come celebrate Anacortes’ 11th annual Bier on the Pier! Bier on the Pier takes place on October 7th and 8th and features local ciders, food trucks and live music - not to mention the beautiful views of the Guemes Channel and backdrop of downtown Anacortes.
Swedish Cyberknife Treatment...

The revolutionary treatment of Swedish CyberKnife provides better quality of life for majority of patients

There are a wide variety of treatments options available for men with prostate cancer. One of the most technologically advanced treatment options in the Pacific Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform at Swedish Medical Center.
Work at Zum Services...

Seattle Public Schools announces three-year contract with Zum

Seattle Public Schools just announced a three-year contract with a brand-new company to the Pacific Northwest to assist with their student transportation: Zum.
Swedish Cyberknife 900x506...

June is Men’s Health Month: Here’s Why It’s Important To Speak About Your Health

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, men in the United States, on average, die five years earlier than women.

Anacortes – A Must Visit Summertime Destination

While Anacortes is certainly on the way to the San Juan Islands (SJI), it is not just a destination to get to the ferry… Anacortes is a destination in and of itself!

Ready for your 2022 Alaskan Adventure with Celebrity Cruises?

Celebrity Cruises SPONSORED — A round-trip Alaska cruise from Seattle is an amazing treat for you and a loved one. Not only are you able to see and explore some of the most incredible and visually appealing natural sights on the planet, but you’re also able to relax and re-energize while aboard a luxury cruise […]
Expert: Commuters are what really drive Puget Sound’s housing market