Industry News

New In Brief: October 2023

Published on:

  • Education research firm Scholaroo found Washington state has some of the worst teacher-to-student ratios in the country. In their 2023 report, Washington is one of the states in the bottom 25% of teacher shortages. Numbers from Scholaroo show there are 60 teachers per 1,000 enrolled students. Washington sees a particular need for early childhood educators and special education professionals.
  • According to a new study from WalletHub, Seattle ranks sixth in the country and garnered a No. 1 ranking in “women’s preventative health care,” which is one of the 15 key metrics used by the personal-finance website. WalletHub said it compared 182 cities with data sets ranging from median earnings for female workers to the quality of women’s hospitals to suicide rates among women. Here’s how Seattle fared in seven categories: No. 1: Women’s Preventive Health Care; No. 12: Female Uninsured Rate; No. 16: Women’s Life Expectancy at Birth; No. 27: Quality of Women’s Hospitals; No. 26: Share of Women in Poverty; No. 31: Median Earnings for Female Workers (Adjusted for Cost of Living); No. 31: Unemployment Rate for Women; No. 57: Share of Women-Owned Businesses. Beating out Seattle on the list, from Nos. 1 to 5, was Columbia, Md., South Burlington, Vt., Irvine, Calif., Fremont, Calif., and Santa Clarita, Calif. San Francisco ranked No. 11 and Portland, Ore., claimed No. 33. Mississippi is home to the least women-friendly cities, according to the study, as Gulfport ranked No. 181 and Jackson bottomed out at No. 182. The lowest-ranked West Coast city was Fresno, Calif., at No. 131. Click here for the full study, including a breakdown of all the data and metrics used.
  • According to a new report from Redfin, 18% of millennials and 12% of Gen Zers who replied to the housing survey said they believe they will never own a home. The survey, which was commissioned by the Seattle-based real estate brokerage and conducted by Qualtrics in May and June, was “fielded to 5,079 U.S. residents who either moved in the last year, plan to move in the next year, or rent their home,” according to Redfin. The No. 1 barrier to homeownership for millennials and Gen Zers is not exactly a surprise: affordability, as home prices are too expensive, per the survey. About one-third of millennial and Gen Z respondents said mortgage rates are also too high to buy a home, according to Redfin. Since reaching a low during the pandemic, mortgage rates have more than doubled, hitting their highest level in more than 20 years this summer, and home prices haven’t softened. Of the two generations who took the survey and said they were planning to buy soon, about 40% said they are working side hustles to afford the down payment, and 23% plan to use a cash gift from family, according to Redfin. The survey also found 21% of Gen Zers and 16% of millennials say they need to pay off their student loan debt before buying a home, per Redfin. More than 20% of millennials and Gen Zers said they plan to sell stock to help fund a down payment, according to Redfin, which said about 15% of both generations plan to sell cryptocurrency.
  • A new study has identified the best value colleges in Washington state, and several Puget Sound campuses are on the list. SmartAsset, a company that offers financial advice, compiled the list using five metrics, including scholarships, median starting salary, tuition costs, living costs and student retention rates. University of Washington campuses in Seattle, Bothell and Tacoma rank the highest on the list, in that order. The Seattle campus had the highest median starting salary at $67,400 followed by the Bothell campus at $63,300. The Tacoma campus had a $61,700 median starting salary but a lower living cost than the other two UW campuses. Tacoma also had the lowest retention rate among the three at 75% compared to 93% at Seattle and 88% at Bothell. Tuition across the three campuses was comparable at around $13,200 but scholarship amounts diverged. At $15,780 in average scholarships and grants, the Tacoma campus trailed the Seattle campus’ $16,355 average and the Bothell campus’ $17,093 average. Western Washington University in Bellingham ranked seventh overall with a median starting salary of $59,600, tuition of $9,589 and living costs of $18,822. Saint Martin’s University in Lacey came in eighth with a median starting salary of $59,200. Though it has a high tuition cost at $44,080, it provides an average of $29,250 in scholarships and grants.
  • Northwest University in Kirkland ranked sixth and Seattle University ranked tenth. The remaining campuses in the top 10 are located in eastern Washington. They include Walla Walla University in College Place in fourth place, Washington State University in Pullman at fifth place and Gonzaga University in Spokane in ninth place. The study applies a 25% weight to starting salary, tuition and living costs to determine best value index. The scholarships and retention rate categories are each weighed at 12.5%, according to SmartAsset. The index runs from 0 to 100 with the higher number being better. University of Washington-Seattle Campus: Value Index: 82.27; University of Washington-Bothell Campus: Value Index 78.66; University of Washington-Tacoma Campus: Value Index: 67.66; Walla Walla University College Place: Value Index: 66.05; Washington State University Pullman: Value Index: 64.42; Northwest University Kirkland: Value Index: 64.03; Western Washington University Bellingham: Value Index: 63.51; Saint Martin’s University Lacey: Value Index: 57.67; Gonzaga University Spokane: Value Index: 57.53; Seattle University Seattle: Value Index: 57.40.
  • The Washington Supreme Court has ruled against the Wahkiakum School District, a tiny southwest Washington school system that waged a legal battle to get the state to pay for the costs of basic school construction. The court ruled that school districts and the state must continue to share the costs of basic school construction. Had the court ruled in the district’s favor, it would have meant a dramatic shift to the state’s school funding system. In a unanimous opinion, the court ruled that school construction expenses were not the responsibility of the state alone. Wahkiakum has long struggled to pass construction bonds to fix its ailing buildings, and sued the state arguing that school construction costs counted as basic education expenses — expenses that the state is primarily responsible for covering. Dozens of other districts have also struggled to pass bonds in recent years, and many contributed to Wahkiakum’s legal fund. Because these districts are unable to pass a bond, they are also locked out of the state’s largest program to assist school districts with construction costs. The district’s argument hinged on Article 9, Section 1 of the Washington State Constitution that was central to another recent school funding ruling, McCleary v. Washington. In the McCleary case, the court ruled that the state must cover basic operating costs; local levies had been filling in where the state was obligated to fund. The Legislature was ordered to craft a fix, resulting in current system: The state funds essential operating expenses, while local taxes fund extra programs and activities.
  • Portland is ranked the coolest city in America, according to a study released Tuesday. Seattle made a respectable showing at #4. Comparing every North American city across a range of factors, including the number of record stores, microbreweries, tattoo studios, vegan restaurants, and thrift stores, online betting site Betway has analyzed the best locations to enjoy the hipster lifestyle. Betway based the findings on a city’s art scene, nightlife, diversity, and commitment to sustainability. Portland had an almost-perfect index score of 3.958 out of 5, home to a whopping 110 record stores and 188 microbreweries, 35% more than Seattle. Taking fourth, Seattle scored 2.470 out of 5, with 139 microbreweries and a reasonable number of record stores and veggie food outlets. The other northwest city in the study, Tacoma, ranked 29 out of 40. The study also found that the coolest cities in North America are becoming increasingly popular with tourists and young professionals. In fact, the top 5 cities all saw significant population growth in recent years. Of course, what makes a city cool is a matter of personal opinion. The only cities standing between Portland and Seattle were New York and Los Angeles. In a separate study, Washington state ranked as the 22nd happiest state in the union, and Oregon ranked 38th. Even though people across the U.S. are facing difficult times, the study by WalletHub, a personal finance site, showed that the state in which you live may have an impact on how happy you are. WalletHub drew upon the findings of “happiness” research to determine which environmental factors are linked to a person’s overall well-being and satisfaction with life. Previous studies have found that good economic, emotional, physical, and social health are all key to a well-balanced and fulfilled life. To determine where Americans exhibit the best combination of these factors, WalletHub examined the 50 states across 30 key metrics, ranging from the depression rate and the share of adults feeling productive to income growth and the unemployment rate. The happiest states were Utah and, unsurprisingly, Hawaii.
  • A new study by Sportsbook Review found that the zip code surrounding Lumen Field is the second highest in local crime compared to other stadium zip codes in the US. The 98134 zip code had 63.50 local crimes per 1,000 residents. The other stadiums with high local crime rates were the Denver Broncos at number one, Detroit Lions at number three, Minnesota Vikings at number four, and Kansas City Chiefs at number five. Sportsbook Review said 9.1% of fans at Lumen Field report being a victim of a crime, with sexual harassment being the most common. It also found that 39.2% of NFL fans have witnessed a crime at or around an NFL stadium. Lumen Field’s zip code was also second in property crimes in the US with 55.47 crimes per 1,000 residents. The Denver Broncos stadium was number one, Washington Commanders number three, Minnesota Vikings number four, and Kansas City Chiefs number five. However, when it comes to violent crimes, Lumen Field wasn’t on the list. For violent crimes the Detroit Lions stadium was number one, Clevland Browns number two, Baltimore Ravens number three, Kansas City Chiefs number four, and New Orleans Saints number five.
  • The U.S. housing market has “rebounded impressively” this year and now sits at its highest level of total value ever, according to Zillow and reported by KOMO News. The market has gained more than $2.6 trillion over the past year after the total value of residential real estate fell during the second half of 2022.The estimation of market value reflects both new homes and the price appreciation of existing homes. But construction has been “the powerhouse behind this surge,” according to Zillow. “During the pandemic we saw near record growth in new construction, which has been the catalyst for growth in the aggregate value of (U.S.) housing,” Zillow senior economist Orphe Divounguy said via email. The total value of the U.S. housing market is 49% higher than before the start of the pandemic.Investors in appreciating areas and homeowners with a locked-in low mortgage rate are reaping the rewards, Divounguy said.The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage has hit the highest level since the year 2000, according to Freddie Mac.Such a mortgage averages 7.3% now. A year ago, it was 6.7%. A year before that, it was 3%.Mortgage rates have shot up along with other borrowing rates as the Federal Reserve has taken measures to tamp down inflation.As housing affordability declines, housing demand could fall. And that presents risk of declining home values, Divounguy said.So far, that hasn’t happened.The median existing-home price last month was $407,100, up nearly 4% from a year ago, according to the National Association of Realtors.While demand for housing increased, the number of new listings has been declining. As a result, inventory fell, Divounguy said.Housing inventory is down 14% from a year ago, NAR said.“The fact that inventory remains low has kept prices from falling,” Divounguy said. “Eyes will still be on the new construction market to fill the gap between supply and demand.”California remains a “behemoth” with nearly 20% of the national total for housing market value.The other top states are Florida, New York, Texas, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Washington, Pennsylvania, North Carolina and Virginia.Large population growth is one reason for strong new construction figures in Florida, which surpassed New York as the state with the second-most-valuable housing market.Of the six markets in which housing has gained the most value since the start of the pandemic, four are in Florida: Tampa, Miami, Jacksonville and Orlando.The four most valuable metro areas have remained largely unchanged over the past five years, though Miami has knocked Washington, D.C., out of the top five.The others are New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Boston.
  • According to Seattle-based Redfin, Seattle is one of the major metropolitan cities that is seeing more people looking to move out than in. Seattle is tied with Denver for 9th on the list. 19% of local site users are using the search tool to look to move somewhere else. Their top pick in state is Spokane. Their out of state top pick is Phoenix, Arizona. The cities seeing the largest influx of people are Sacramento, Las Vegas, and Orlando, Block’s hometown. San Francisco tops the list for people looking to leave the city with 24% of their local users using the search tool to look to move somewhere else. Their top out of state destination search is for Seattle.

Back to top