Monthly Archives: August 2015

Seattle area one of the least affordable in the U.S. for renters

We’ve heard a lot lately about rising home prices in the Puget Sound region and how difficult it can be to buy a house here. But the alternative – renting – isn’t great either.

Renters in the Seattle area pay more than 31 percent of their income toward the rent, according to new data out Friday from online real estate company Zillow.

That’s more than the national average of 30 percent, and more than residents of Chicago, Philadelphia, Atlanta and Las Vegas. It’s also up sharply from the average for Seattle over the last 30 years.

Rising rents is a major issue in the Seattle area as some push for rent control laws and changes to the way the city handles affordable housing. There’s concern that the increase in rents will send many more people outside of the city, which puts a strain on the city’s already heavily used public transportation system.

Zillow suggests the answer is simpler: Buy a home.

People in Seattle pay only 22.7 percent of their income toward their mortgages. Of course, many people who own homes make more money than those who rent, so even if the mortgage payment is significantly more than renting, the percentage of a person’s income that goes to it would be less.

It’s also just not easy to buy a home in the Puget Sound region. There simply aren’t enough homes on the market to meet demand and real estate agents are having to be creative to help their clients find a place to buy.

A home in Seattle metro area costs $595,000 less than in Silicon Valley

If you’re wondering why Silicon Valley tech workers are flocking to Seattle – and why Valley companies are opening and expanding their offices here – home prices are a good place to look.

The median home price in the Seattle metro area, which includes Tacoma and Bellevue, rose 7.8 percent compared to the previous quarter to $385,000 according to new data this week released from the National Association of Realtors. And while the implications of a jump that large should not be ignored, when you compare Seattle to other fast-growing regions, it looks downright affordable.

The San Jose metro area topped the list as the most expensive market, with a median home price of $980,000. San Francisco wasn’t far behind, with

Bottom of Form

The Seattle housing market is hot right now. The supply of available homes has hit record lows and as a result, home prices are increasing dramatically. Buyers routinely enter into bidding wars and homes often sell for significantly more than the asking price.

That’s worth it, though, if you’re a tech worker looking for an affordable home in a city full of tech jobs.

The Seattle metro area’s median home price was just a little more than the median home price for the entire Western part of the country, which was $325,200. The national median home price was $229,400, which is up more than 8 percent.

Emily Parkhurst, Puget Sound Business Journal

JP Morgan Chase tops international risk list

A failure of JPMorgan Chase poses the greatest risk to the international financial system, even when compared with banks in Europe and Asia, according to a new government study.

The New York-based bank was given a “systematic importance score” of 5% in a report that measures the threat to global financial stability should any one of the world’s 30 largest and most-interconnected banks fail.

JPMorgan was followed by London’s HSBC, which scored 4.8%, and New York’s Citigroup, which scored 4.3%, according to the report, which was released Tuesday by the Office of Financial Research (OFR), a unit of the Treasury Department.

Some U.S. banks have griped about tighter capital requirements and other new regulations in the past, saying such restrictions place them at a disadvantage compared with oversees competitors. But OFR’s report showed that U.S. banks dominated the top 10 list of risky global banks, including JPMorgan at No. 1, Citigroup at No. 3, Bank of America at No. 7, Morgan Stanley at No. 9 and Goldman Sachs at No. 10 with a 2.5% risk assessment.

Wells Fargo scored No. 18, behind the Bank of China, and the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China.

OFR’s report also showed that many U.S. banks currently fall short of their European and Asian peers when it comes to their capital ratios relative to risk.

But that’s expected to change under new Federal Reserve rules, released last month, the report suggested.

In July, the Federal Reserve released stricter rules for determining how much capital the nation’s eight-largest banks must hold to protect against future calamities. Under the new rules, the Fed imposed a new  “risk-based capital surcharge” for banks with at least $250 billion in total assets, or at least $10 billion in foreign exposure, that rely heavily on short-term wholesale funding, including overnight loans.

The surcharge will be phased in from Jan. 1, 2016, to Jan. 1, 2019, and will impact JPMorgan, Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, Wells Fargo, State Street and the Bank of New York Mellon.

Measuring bank’s “systemic importance” and fiddling with their capital requirements has become regular practice by U.S. government agencies following the housing meltdown, which resulted in fears that many banks were too big to fail. That led to trillions in tax-payer dollars being spent toward bailing out the financial system, which was collapsing under the weight of complex mortgage securities that had turned sour.



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