Richard Wellenberger/

Mike Rosenberg of Seattle Times reports that Seattle (and not the Seattle-area, which includes Bellevue and Tacoma) has the third-most expensive housing market in the US. The median home in this city, which now has a population of 725,000, is $754,000. That is above New York City and Los Angeles, real cities. But is below San Jose and San Francisco. These are tech cities. They have in or near them tech corporations with a mind-boggling market valuation of over $4 trillion (and they tell you there is no money anywhere). This is nearly double the GDP of the whole of Africa, which has a population of 1.2 billion. So it is not a surprise that homes in these cities are also super-inflated.


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Do not listen to market urbanists who insist that these prices reflect the real economy. To begin with, the whole idea of a "real" economy is itself suspect. Why? Because it does not exist in the ordinary sense of "real," or real in the way that, say, a bee collects honey for a hive. There is very little of that kind of thing in capitalism. What we mostly have is the over-production and distribution of things/goods by cheap labor (the "real" economy), and the inflation of financial assets like shares and homes. The value of the former is extracted from a cultural constructed form of labor (bee labor is not, for example, culturally constructed); and the latter is the fantastic extraction of value from labor that is often very far in the future. People on several earths in the future are working very hard to keep the value of these shares ever high and the prices of homes in places like Seattle unreachable to those who are unfortunate to work in the current earth.

Rosenberg concludes his report with:

Bottom line: Anyone who sees headlines about the cooldown in the Seattle-area housing market shouldn’t take that as an invitation to move here for cheap homes. Things for homebuyers are getting better but they’re still mostly bad (unless, as always, you’re coming here from the Bay Area)

Four years ago, Seattle was the 10th most-expensive city in the US.