The Seattle Times business reporter Mike Rosenberg has some depressing news for the non-wealthy this morning: Seattle metro area households need a record-breaking $93,400 in annual income to afford payments on the median house, according to a quarterly report from mortgage and loan company HSH.com. This is $11,000 more than 2016 and is significantly higher than the reigion's actual median household income, which was $78,600 last year.
It gets worse. Rosenberg writes:
But even that income number understates the true cost for a lot of buyers, since it assumes a 20 percent down payment, which most people don’t do. If you put 10 percent down, which is closer to the regional average, the income needed to afford typical monthly home payments jumps to nearly $110,000.
That income represents the average needed over a broad area from Tacoma to Snohomish, so it’ll get you a home you can afford in a place like Renton or Burien. If you’re looking for a home in the city of Seattle, the income needed to afford monthly payments on the typical house would exceed $140,000. In Bellevue and other pricey parts of the Eastside, it tops $170,000.
And that's if you can find a place at all. As of August, the median single family home in Seattle cost $730,000, and this has been the hottest real estate market in the country for the past year. Despite a boom in construction, Seattle area housing stock is still inadequate to accommodate the 1,000 people moving here every week. There are other options, like condos, apartments, and town houses, but, well, look.
There is, however, one bright spot in this otherwise dismal scene: Bremerton. Have you heard of this magical place?? You can get a water view and a yard for under $200,000. Granted, you have to live in Bremerton, but, hey, there's now a 25-minute ferry to Seattle, and if you get a place at least 20 feet in elevation, you might even survive the tsunami when the Seattle Fault blows.