NW REporter

News In Brief

  • Americans will have two more years to obtain a Real ID driver’s license or identification card, the Department of Homeland Security recently announced and reported by the Seattle Times. U.S. air travelers will be required to present the Real ID credential to board a domestic flight beginning May 7, 2025. Before Monday’s announcement, implementation had been scheduled to take effect in May next year. Postponing the enforcement of the last phase of the Real ID Act will give motor vehicle departments across the country more time to process the new credentials. Some states have reported that progress on the Real ID program was hindered by the coronavirus pandemic. Just under half of Americans with a license and state identification card have a Real ID-compliant document, generally identifiable by a star in the upper-right corner, according to the most recent data available. In announcing the new deadline, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas on Monday said the 24-month extension will give states time to ensure residents can obtain the Real ID-compliant license or ID card.
  • A new report from LLC.org found that Seattle is one of the best cities in the country to start a side hustle. The study looked at several metrics to determine the rankings including income tax rates, flexibility in working from home, the unemployment rate, time commuting, and accessibility to broadband internet access. The analysis looked at all cities with a population of over 150,000. The rankings found that Seattle is the seventh-best city to start up a side hustle. The best city is Salt Lake City. It found that Seattle has one of the highest percentages of people who work from home with nearly half (46.8%) of residents working from home. Seattle workers who do commute to the office reported an average daily commute time of 26 minutes. Additionally, workers in Seattle have flexibility in their jobs as the average weekly working hours of employed residents is 38.7 hours, allowing for extra time for that side hustle. Seattle also ranked as having a lower-than-average unemployment rate (3.3%) compared to other cities on the list. LLC.org said Washington’s lack of income tax is also helpful in starting up a side hustle. The top 10 list is: Salt Lake City, Utah; Gilbert, Arizona; Scottsdale, Arizona; Madison, Wisconsin; Chandler, Arizona; Colorado Springs, Colorado; Seattle, Washington; Fremont, California; Raleigh, North Carolina; and Minneapolis, Minnesota. If you’re looking to buy a home in Seattle you may need to start up that side hustle soon. A homebuyer.com report published earlier this year found that Washington is one of the most expensive states to buy a home.
  • The University of Washington School of Law will no longer participate in the U.S. News & World Report ranking process, the dean of the school said in an online announcement. UW, the highest-ranking law school in the Pacific Northwest and No. 49 overall, joins four Ivy League schools, four University of California law schools and several other big names in legal education in their decision to no longer participate in the annual list. The decision comes after a number of law schools across the country declared they will no longer participate in the rankings. The domino effect began with Yale University, the top-ranked law school, announcing it would end its participation with the rankings on Nov. 16. Hours after Yale’s decision, Harvard University’s law school, which is ranked fourth, also bowed out. Despite the decision to sever ties with U.S. News & World Report, the UW School of Law will continue to share relevant data with prospective students and the legal community.
  • The Seattle-Tacoma area is once again at the top of the list for package thefts in the country’s major metro areas. The area ranks second in the US for having the most packages stolen from porches over the past year. SafeWise released its 5th Annual Package Theft Report that shows over the past 12 months about 260 million packages disappeared from porches across the country. That is up 50 million packages compared to the previous year. Seattle ranked fourth last year. Portland also made it on the list as the seventh worse city for package thefts in both 2021 and 2022. According to SafeWise more than three in four Americans have had a package stolen. The total estimated loss of stolen packages in 2022 was $19.5 billion. SafeWise said 40% of stolen packages are valued between $50-$100.
  • Using two metrics, WalletHub ranked the United States cities that have seen inflation rise the most, and the greater Seattle area has experienced one of the sharpest inclines. Based on “consumer price index change” (December 2022) — latest month vs. two months prior and latest month vs. one year ago — Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue ranks No. 5 in the country among cities in which inflation is rising the most. Edging out the Puget Sound region, respectively, is Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale, Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach, Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater and Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Roswell, according to the personal-finance website. Click here for the full WalletHub report.
  • KOMO News reported that some of the happiest people in the country reside in King County, according to a new study by SmartAsset. The financial technology company ranked one major King County city third in the United States for happiest places in America and another metro in the top 15. Bellevue ranked No. 3 on the list, which was put together by SmartAsset’s analysis of personal finance, well-being and quality of life. Seattle claimed No. 15 in the country. Personal finance score criteria features percentage of residents earning $100,000 a year or more, cost of living as a percent of income, personal bankruptcy filings per 100,000 residents and down payment-to-income ratio. Well-being scores are comprised of percent of residents reporting poor mental health, life expectancy, percent of residents who report physical inactivity and percent of adults with health insurance. Quality of life consists of percentage of adults living below the poverty level, marriage rate, average commute time, concentration of dining/bars/entertainment establishments and violent crime rate. SmartAsset’s blurb about Bellevue was the following: Bellevue, Washington scores highest in the quality of life category but also does well for resident personal finances. Specifically, roughly 61% of Bellevue’s residents earn $100,000 or more (No. 2) and less than 8% of the population lives below the poverty line (No. 8). Additionally, cost of living as a percent of income is the lowest across the study (28.69%). Bellevue’s average score, which was on a scale of 0-100, was 92.37. Seattle earned a 75.88. Sunnyvale, Calif. (94.74) and Arlington, Va. (93.59) Claimed the top two spots. California took home seven of the top 11 spots. Click here for the full SmartAsset study.
  • The US housing market continued to sag in October as the impact of higher mortgage rates and concerns over the economy rattled buyers and sellers, according to a report by the Seattle Times. Prices fell 0.5% from September, the fourth consecutive monthly decline for a seasonally adjusted measure of home prices in 20 large cities, according to the S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller index. Seattle once again ranked among the fastest cooling markets in the country. From September to October, Seattle-area prices dropped 1%. On an annual basis, Seattle-area prices in October were up 4.5% over the previous year, the second smallest increase among the 20 cities the index tracks. (San Francisco had the smallest price jump at 0.6%.) After years of double-digit percentage price growth earlier in the pandemic, Seattle’s 4.5% price jump in October was the area’s smallest annual increase since December 2019. The index tracks single-family home prices in portions of King, Snohomish and Pierce counties and lags by two months. The market began downshifting earlier this year as the Federal Reserve started hiking its benchmark interest rate, with the goal of easing high inflation that’s been driven in part by skyrocketing housing costs. Even as prices fall on a monthly basis, they’re still higher than they were a year ago, though the rate of gains has declined. A nationwide gauge was up 9.2% in October from a year earlier, down from 10.7% in September. The largest annual price increases were in Miami; Tampa, Florida; and Charlotte, North Carolina. In Miami, prices gained 21% year over year.