NW REporter

News In Brief: May 2022

  • A recent Stessa report reported by KOMO News found what many Seattle-area residents already know: rent is pricier in the Emerald City than it is in just about any other metro. The report from Stessa – a finance tool that helps real estate investors “maximize their profits” with rental properties – ranked the Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue area sixth among the nation’s large metros, only trailing – from Nos. 1 through 6, respectively – San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, San Francisco-Oakland-Berkeley, Boston-Cambridge-Newton, Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim and San Diego-Chula Vista-Carlsbad. According to the report, the median rent estimate in the greater Seattle area is $2,080. The median in the costly San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara South Bay Area is $3,186. The report also shows the median prices in the Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue market for a studio ($1,603), one bedroom ($1,682), two bedroom ($2,005), three bedroom ($2,762) and four bedroom ($3,261).
  • Remote workers in the Evergreen State have it better than those in most states in the country, according to a recent WalletHub report. Washington state ranked eighth in the study behind, respectively, New Jersey, DC, Delaware, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Utah and Texas. The study found Washington ranked third in households’ internet access, third in average retail price of electricity, fifth in share of population working from home, 21st in internet cost and 26th in average square home footage. Many employers shifted to work-from-home structures during the pandemic. About 20 percent of all professional jobs were remote at the beginning of 2022, according to WalletHub.
  • Americans want to work for Amazon more than any other company in 2022, according to LinkedIn research. LinkedIn released its list of the most sought-after workplaces in the United States on Wednesday, using data from its 810 million members. The study’s methodology evaluates how companies are able to attract and retain the best talent through promotions, opportunities for employees of all backgrounds to gain new skills, gender diversity, how much recruiters from other companies search for employers currently working for Amazon and other criteria. Alphabet ranked second on the list, followed by Wells Fargo, JPMorgan Chase & Co., Walmart, IBM, AT&T, Bank of America, Apple and Comcast.
  • Seattle and Bellevue were recognized by the Chamber of Commerce as the most physically active large and small cities, respectively, in the United States. Vancouver, Wash., ranked 10th among midsize cities, according to the chamber’s research. The study found that 84.7 percent of Seattle residents are physically active, while only 22 percent of the city is obese, 27 percent have high cholesterol and 7.4 percent are diabetic. Bellevue residents boast an 86-percent mark for physically active people. For the full report, click here. Minneapolis, San Francisco, Denver, Colorado Springs, Portland, San Diego, Austin an Raleigh rounded out the top 10 for large cities. The data used by the Chamber of Commerce considers the following physical activity, among others: running, walking, calisthenics, gardening and golfing.
  • State lawmakers are continuing to move forward with a capital gains tax after a Douglas County Superior Court judge ruled that the tax violates the state constitution. Judge Brian Huber says the tax has all the qualifications of an income tax, but is being disguised under a different name to make it legal. However, lawmakers are still carrying it out and labeling it as an excise tax, which means those rules don’t apply. The capital gains tax would potentially raise about $500 million a year and go towards public schools and early learning programs. State lawmakers will likely appeal Huber’s ruling and bring the issue to the State Supreme Court to decide on. You can find out more information on the Washington capital gains tax here.
  • Seattle Mayor Bruce Harrell is asking for the entire city to join in some spring cleaning next month. Harrell announced his One Seattle Day of Service initiative Monday morning after taking down some graffiti with volunteers in the Chinatown-International District. The day of service will happen May 21, Harrell said there will be more than 2,200 volunteer opportunities across the city. There will be plenty of things to help with, from cleaning graffiti to picking up trash or planting trees and much more. All volunteer opportunities will start at 9 a.m. the day of and go on until 5 p.m., Harrell said the work will be done in two to three-hour shifts. You can register for a shift here. Harrell said those who participate will be given a sense of pride and a T-shirt.
  • The Supreme Court rejected a challenge from New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Maryland to the 2017 tax law that capped federal tax deductions for state and local taxes. The lawsuit had previously been dismissed by lower courts. It argued that the Republican-led tax law, signed by then-President Donald Trump, unfairly singled out high-tax states in which Democrats predominate. The law caps a deduction for state and local taxes, known as SALT, at $10,000. The lawsuit claimed that lawmakers crafted the provision to target Democratic states, interfering with the states’ constitutionally granted taxing authority. Legislation to raise the cap has passed the House of Representatives but not the Senate.
  • A new LendingTree study found the Evergreen State is the best state in the country to own an electric vehicle. Washington state has the third-most electric vehicle registrations relative to miles traveled, LendingTree found. It also has the fourth-lowest average price of electricity for residential users. Five metrics were used for the study: number of charging ports, fatality rates, electric vehicle registrations, availability of tax credits and the cost of electricity. Utah was ranked No. 2 in the study, while Mississippi took home the No. 50 slot. Click here for the full study.
  • Homicide rates have increased rapidly throughout the United States throughout the pandemic, and WalletHub compared the 50 largest cities to see where they rank in terms of the spike. Between the first quarter of 2020 and the first quarter of 2022 – the timeframe used in WalletHub’s study – homicide rates rose by an average of 17 percent in the nation’s 50 most populated metros, according to WalletHub. Seattle ranked No. 29 on the list. The Emerald City saw 1.75 homicide cases per capita in 2022. New Orleans, Cincinnati, Atlanta, Baltimore, Memphis, Milwaukee, Louisville, Norfolk, Detroit and Dallas ranked Nos. 1-10, respectively. Lincoln, Neb., was 50th on the list.
  • Pierce County said it will transfer 2.9 acres of vacant land to the city of Tacoma or the Tacoma Community Redevelopment Authority to be developed into mixed-income housing. The transfer was approved at a council meeting in April. The land, located at 3561 Pacific Ave in Tacoma, has been untouched for the past 15 years, according to a written release from the Pierce County Council. The housing will feature a minimum of 80 units reserved for lower-income households. The site can also be used for temporary shelter through Dec. 31, 2023, per the release. Under the new agreement, at least two-thirds of the units developed will be dedicated to households with incomes at or below 80 percent of the area’s median income, or an annual income of $57,750 for a three-person household, for the at least 40 years. According to the release, Pierce County first acquired the property in 2000 as part of a larger land deal to be developed for county facilities, but the plan never happened.
  • American Home Shield ranked the seven best cities in the United States for young professionals, and Seattle took home the No. 1 slot. The rankings were determined based on proximity to “career opportunities, affordability and things to do.” Following the Emerald City on the list, respectively, were Tampa, Boston, Grand Rapids, Mich., Austin, Chicago and San Diego. In the post from American Home Shield, Seattle is touted for its high minimum wage, startup history, musical background and its plethora of coffee shops. Click here for the full article from American Home Shield.
  • Seattle’s unemployment rate continues to bounce back better than nearly every other city in the United States. WalletHub released a report titled “Cities Whose Unemployment Rates Are Bouncing Back Most” on Wednesday, and the Emerald City ranked 13th. Unemployment is down 11.19 percent in Seattle since March 2020, when the COVID-19 pandemic began, according to the study. As of March 2022, Seattle’s unemployment rate of 2.1 percent was the sixth-lowest in the nation. Eight of the top 10 bounce-back cities from the report are in Arizona. Portland ranked 138th on the list, while Spokane (No. 159), Vancouver, Wash. (No. 163) and Tacoma (No. 172) all placed in the top 175.
  • New research from Social Security Office Near Me found Washington state ranks seventh in the country for healthcare. Social Security Office Near Me – which, according to its website, provides “clear and practical information to our readers to answer every question they have about Social Security, Medicare, aging, and retirement” – ranked all 50 states using healthcare spending, number of hospitals per million residents, LPI score and physicians per 10,000 residents as criteria. The Evergreen State tied with Maine for seventh in the United States, trailing Massachusetts, California, New York, Oregon, Colorado and New Jersey, respectively. The study reports that Washington spends $8,702 on healthcare per capita, has 60 hospitals and an overall healthcare score of 7.19 out of 10. Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, Tennessee, Georgia, Mississippi, South Carolina, South Dakota, Arizona and North Dakota ranked 50th-41st, respectively. Among countries worldwide, France, Switzerland and Germany claimed the top three spots, in order. The United States ranked 24th out of 34 countries. Turkey (No. 34), Hungary (No. 33) and Latvia (No. 32) were found to be the worst. Click here for the full study.