Thursday, August 7, 2008

SE Seattle Housing Slump

There's an article in the P-I about declining housing sales in SE Seattle (defined as south of Interstate 90 and east of Martin Luther King Way -- the area just east of Beacon Hill).

Agents offered speculation for southeast Seattle's slowdown.


Buyers also are less willing to take a chance these days on a less-established area, Hamilton said.

"I think when things start to slow down, people like to stick with what they're comfortable with," he said. "They want something familiar."

I also wonder if they want something safe. Not an area where:

On Friday a police officer confiscates a semi-automatic weapon from a young teen. (Rainier and Henderson)

On Saturday, a woman in her car is raped at gunpoint by a stranger. (Rainier and Rose)

On Tuesday, a teen is shot to death on the street. (Rainier and Graham)

On Wednesday, a man is shot in the leg while hiding from additional gunshots behind a car. (Othello and 43rd, five blocks west of Rainier)

Anyway, I wonder if the slowdown is not so much because of people's lack of familiarity with the area, or if it's because they're all too familiar with what's going on south of I-90 and east of MLK.

(Though the police make it hard to find out all that's going on. The city still hasn't published any of its mixed-up neighborhood crime statistics for 2008 yet.)

Sorry to sound so negative about South Seattle today. All the crazy nasty health statistics here in 98108, and mercury emission reports to the west of us, and the all-too-frequent reports of violent crime to the east of us are getting me down.


LMM said...

I had a bad South Seattle Day last week. I wanted to move back to Ballard. Anyway- all I am trying to say is that I think we are normal- especially when one has child(ren). My little has a neighborhood best friend- and it is so very sweet.

The General said...

Since we just moved to Beacon about three months ago, I think we are in the honeymoon phase. That said, reading stuff like this is sort of like finding out your new spouse snores.

the paper noose said...

Houses in SE were more overpriced relative to their actual value then in other parts of town, and as a result, the correction is more drastic. Add that to the fact that people of color received a higher rate of predatory loans, there may be more on the market as a result of people wanting to sell, or because of foreclosures, or because flippers refuse to admit that a house in SE will not go for the same as a house in Ballard.

As for violence--Belltown is terrible, yet people still pay big bucks to live there.

JvA said...

I think Beacon Hill north of Graham or Myrtle or so sees a lot less crime than parts south and east. I'm just feeling kind of anxious about everything at the moment. I still love my little neighborhood, and my house, and my yard.

I guess I just want to see some great news from South Seattle between the freeway and the lake, and by that I don't mean planned closures of Rainier that will just send traffic up to MLK and Beacon Avenue, or a new restaurant that allows smoking at Beacon and Columbian. The administration switchup at Aki Kurose Middle School is a start, but I want to see results before getting too excited about that.

Anonymous said...

I have been hesitant to post this, but here goes: I don't have a good feeling about living here anymore. I'm at Beacon/Columbian (Lockmore) and there have been a lot more cars FLYING down Dawson with the stereo booming out that "suck this/#uck that" crap music lately. My 90-year-old neighbors had their alley fence tagged. Maybe it's because school's out or something, but I've seen groups of kids out at 2 a.m. crossing Beacon - in search of who knows what.

And another thing that sucks lately is that we recently had a tear-down on 25th that grew into a stucco mini-mansion with 5 feet of space between houses on either side. Another hideous 2nd story add-on is happening a few doors down. It's as though there are no design standards and what was a cute 1930s Tudor/1950s rambler neighborhood is turning ugly.

I've been here 5 years and the ugliest corner in town (Beacon/Columbian intersection) has never gotten better EXCEPT for the welcome addition of Grown Folks who may help us turn a corner in terms of goods/services and friendliness. The rest of those shops on that corner have NOTHING to offer.

Hate to sound negative.

Anonymous said...

Yeh, there are things I really like about the Hill and So Seattle
in general, but I just couldnt live there any more. We threw in the towel back in May

Still drive down to see old
friends--always with windows up,
doors locked

Maybe we'll be able to come back sometime, but for the present,
it's a very sad place


Anonymous said...

I would like to get 'real' here's too bad you live in so much fear.

Beacon Hill and South Seattle (most areas) have always been a wonderful place to live. However, most of your writings appear to come off as really 'white, uptight and entitled'. If you must, then move back to wherever you came from. Though we'd really rather have you stay and get along and have some semblance of balance and not always "your way". It won't happen unless you begin to have a different mind set.

Stuff happens everywhere, unfortunately folks tend to not want to hear it if it is in their backyard and the media likes to hype up everything...and you know...South Seattle this and South Seattle that...

Truly be honest with yourself on why you moved up here in the first place. Because it was affordable and there are nice houses up here?...up until 5 years ago, folks like yourselves wouldn't have taken a first glance at South Seattle. Let go, and get rid of some of your 'white-based' fears, and try and go with the flow. If 'they' truly reported the statistics, you most likely have just as much crime in the north end; however, it just isn't focused upon like it is here.

It's the reality...and I hate to be negative too!

JVA, your blog is well written and I love your pictures and some of the stuff you write...hope you can get over some of your fears too (now that you are or had a l'il one (Congratulations BTW!) does all work out somehow. But, like many others who have moved here recently and started to'll be leaving us shortly once you start seeking middle schools for your wee ones. Stick around, you can get an excellent education anywhere you is what you make of it.

Good luck wherever you end up! Beacon Hill overall is still a really wonderful place to live!

JvA said...

Thanks for sharing your perspective.

I'm still waiting for the baby to arrive. I've been meaning to update my "slowdown" note to say "hiatus." Though I do want to post at least once more -- something on a nicer note.

Though the police crime stats are screwy, it really does seem that the southern part of the city has a higher per-capita rate of violent crime than the northern part, especially gun violence. I don't think it's a media fabrication but would love to see real evidence one way or the other.

I'd also love to see some Ben & Jerry's mint chocolate chunk in a sugar cone.

Anonymous said...

That's so funny, anon at 2:42 p.m. 8/15! I'll be sure to tell my mom that I sounded "white." She's black, dad's native American, and I'm, well, you figure it out. Funny that you think only white people have concerns about their neighborhood and the rest of us just fiddle while Rome burns.

The General said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
The General said...

It's been interesting watching this slow-motion debate unroll over the last week or so. Personally, I just can't bring myself to be too afraid for my safety while living on Beacon Hill. Perhaps its because my house isn't far south enough. Or perhaps it's because -as I mentioned above-I've only lived on the Hill for a couple of months now. Or, perhaps its because I've been fortunate enough to have had the chance to travel extensively, and as a result have been to some places that are genuinely dangerous.

Regardless of what the reason, I feel safe enough here that, as I type this, my front door is sitting wide open. I think that it is important to be mindful of your safety, and to encourage a safe environment. But, there is a big difference between that and the type of fear that drives people to bar up windows and drive with their car doors locked. I think people in the States often do the later, when really their lives just require the former.

(The deleted comment above is my original typo-laden version of this post.)

MimiTabby said...

I live WAY down south, past Aloha Market. I love it here. It's quiet, my neighbors all know each other; (maybe they can't talk to each other because they know 7 different languages between them) but we all smile at each other at least!

Many of you that are afraid will probably leave, opening up housing opportunities for folks who can't afford to live in Ballard.
Not going anywhere..!

Anonymous said...

To 8/16, 10:27pm - Not sure what was so funny. Wasn't referring to YOU directly (nor any one specific person here either). When you read folks' comments on the BH mailing list, and other blogs about BH, many of the 'newer' folks on BH are definitely 'white, entitled and FEARFUL' (and between the ages of 25 and 40). Love the attitude of the 'white, entitled, ages 25 to 40 in GT' THEY rock! BUT, they're in GT and the gentrification is starting there too and THEY don't like it either!

I love the email where someone thought they heard a gunshot a few weeks back and it was actually thunder...Unfounded fear based on color, stereotypes, etc.

Appreciate "The General"'s comments...have traveled extensively with kids...there are definitely a lot more scarey places than the USA, much less BH.

NOT moving any time soon...