Despite fewer people moving to Washington state and a dip in home prices, experts say economic boom not over

SEATTLE - There is no denying Puget Sound has seen remarkable growth. Seattle, for example, has been the fastest growing city for years in the US.

With growth comes more density, more traffic and more expensive homes.

Despite all that, people move here in droves.

“People are friendly, but you do get the Seattle freeze when it gets cold, that I do notice,” Ray Munsami said.

Munsami moved to Washington state from Texas because of family. Q13 News also met a woman who moved to Seattle from France who says a job and a healthy lifestyle in this region attracted her here.

“I really like it,” said the woman.

Both of those people were at a branch of the Department of Licensing on Thursday, an agency that tracks new Washington state driver’s licenses.

The latest numbers from DOL continue to show a decrease in people from out of state moving to Washington. There were 9,169 fewer people who moved into Washington from other states in the first two months of 2019 compared to the same time in 2016.

Couple that with the fact that home prices in King County have dropped more than $100,00 in the last year. So could all that be signaling an end to the economic boom in our region?

“I don’t think it is,” Executive Director of Puget Sound Regional Council Josh Brown said.

Brown says when it comes to the local economy, one thing reigns king, jobs.

“Our economy continues to perform very well. The 5 largest employers in Washington state are all in our region,” Brown said.

The region last year created more jobs than the previous year.

“Last year we actually rebounded and created 55,000 jobs, remember this was during the HQ2 debate, it was the head tax,” Brown said.

Brown is talking about Amazon’s search and announcement over a second headquarters elsewhere in the country.

But what about the news that Amazon will no longer move into the Rainier Square Tower in Seattle?

Brown says region-wide that will have little impact since it appears the tech giant will move those jobs to Bellevue.

“At the end of the day whether Amazon’s presence is in Seattle or Bellevue or anywhere in our region the fact that they are still advertising 10,000 jobs show their committed to our region,” Brown said.

Besides jobs, another important player is Sea-Tac airport that just eclipsed Las Vegas as the 8th busiest airport in the country.

“Airport data is important because it shows disposable income,” Brown said.

As for the big drop in home prices, Brown says it’s important to watch the market.

“You could argue that there are other things that are impacting those factors in case of real estate prices, interest rates have gone up in the same period of time,” Brown said.