Remember when folks in Seattle got to sit back and laugh at cities like Las Vegas, Phoenix, and Fort Lauderdale and their exploding housing bubbles? Well, maybe it wasn't so much of a laugh as a sigh of relief that it wasn't equally bad in our neck of the woods. Whatever it was, it's been over for some time. And The New York Timesreports that those other cities may get to do the laughing soon.
The rolling real estate crash that ravaged Florida and the Southwest is delivering a new wave of distress to communities once thought to be immune -- economically diversified cities where the boom was relatively restrained.
In the last year, home prices in Seattle had a bigger decline than in Las Vegas. Minneapolis dropped more than Miami, and Atlanta fared worse than Phoenix.
Seattle home prices have fallen 31 percent from their peak in 2007.
But while some of the more thoroughly devastated cities are beginning to recover, Seattle appears to be only getting worse.
Zillow.com, a well-respected local real-estate website, says Seattle home prices will likely fall another 10 percent before they hit rock bottom.
Here's a handy chart.
New York Times
The good part is that for Seattle's renters, things couldn't be better. As we've noted before, rent prices haven't budged from an average of $1,109 since last year.
So even if you're in the market for a home, the smart bet might be to just wait out the market in a rental for a few months until things truly bottom out.
Not that anyone should take advice from a newspaper journalist, who, barring a change in careers or a metoric rise in the company ranks, will likely never own a home.