Photo: Sounder Bruce/Flickr
The number of native-born Washingtonians living in King County declined for the first time in a decade last year. According to The Seattle Times, 850,000 Washington-born residents lived in the county in 2015, down 17,000, or 2 percent, from the previous year.
High housing prices are largely to blame for the exodus. In recent years, the area has become more congested, gentrified and expensive than ever before, and that’s a hard pill for many locals to swallow.
Nearly 12 percent of all single-family homes sold in the county so far this year have sold for more than $1 million, easily double the average rate over the last decade, sales data crunched by Windermere Real Estate shows. At the same time, the other end of the market barely exists. Currently less than 5 percent of homes fit into the cheapest price bracket of less than $250,000, down from an average of nearly 15 percent over the last decade.
Many of the county’s new residents are travelling there from California. In 2014, King County issued about 64,376 driver’s licenses to people from out of state, and the vast majority by a wide margin were from that state, The Seattle Times says.
At the moment it’s hard to tell whether Washington locals will continue to leave King County as newcomers move in. One thing’s for sure though — the county’s new California transplants are enjoying their new home, where housing prices are downright affordable compared to the sky-high rates in San Francisco.