Study Calls Seattle Nation's 'Most Economically Integrated' City

A study of real estate values in Seattle found that townhomes have helped diversify neighborhoods and increase affordability.

February 24, 2021, 9:00 AM PST

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction


Seattle, Washington

Cascade Creatives / Shutterstock

Despite its rising housing costs, a new study from real estate website Redfin finds that Seattle is the nation's most "economically integrated" city, citing townhomes as a major factor in achieving housing affordability. Joshua McNichols explains that townhomes provide a reasonably affordable option for many Seattle households, helping them move into previously inaccessible neighborhoods.

Without the luxury of endless expanses of sprawl-ready land surrounding it, Seattle (unlike, say, Houston), has to contend with limited real estate. According to Taylor Marr, chief economist for Redfin, "in 2016, neighborhoods like Ballard were affordable only to a few. But as townhomes have replaced single family homes, these once exclusive neighborhoods have now flipped, and are now considered economically integrated."

The study, however, reviewed all homes rather than just those on the market, including a large number of homes that won't come up for sale anytime soon. While urban townhomes can provide acceptable housing for couples or small families, larger families might find the one- and two-bedroom units "unsuitable" and will continue to have to turn to the suburbs for affordable housing.

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