The June 19, 2015 edition of the Puget Sound Business Journal features a four-page special section based on a recent expert round table discussion on the state of the in-city housing market and the rent vs. buy debate. Dean Jones, President & CEO of Realogics Sotheby’s International Realty (RSIR) was joined by Trevor Bennett, mortgage banker and Kirkland Branch Manager with Caliber Home Loans, economist and appraiser Brian O’Connor, Principal of O’Connor Consulting Group and Nelson Yong, an executive with SILK I Digital Media and a representative of Millennial consumers. The resulting feature, entitled “The Manhattanization of Seattle?” by journalist Cynthia Flash highlights the trajectory for Seattle (and Bellevue) to follow a trend towards urban density much like New York City; Vancouver, BC; and San Francisco, which forecasts rising costs for consumers as developers struggle to deliver affordable housing solutions amidst inflation, entitlement fees and an ongoing preference to build apartments instead of condominiums.

With condo values increasing, the thousands of renters currently deferring a future home purchase need to take stock of these trends, especially given that interest rates are expected to rise, which collectively reduces purchasing power.

“Our goal is to start a conversation on a discussion we know will be omnipresent for years ahead,” said Andrea Savage, Marketing Manager for RSIR. “This is an organic collection of thoughts, research, testimonials and best practices as we strive to be a resource for consumers.”

One of the most significant discoveries was the rising cost of rent and the fact that until recently condo appreciation has lagged rent growth means there’s an inversion in the marketplace. That means in some cases it can be less expensive to own a condominium than it is to rent a similar property.

“Only owning allows you to lock in housing costs, enjoy income tax deductions, and positions you for appreciation in home equity as the market rises,” said Bennett. “While those are generally known facts there appears to be a lot of misinformation about the state of the market or the mortgage industry.  It’s important for consumers to be aware of changes, especially if owning a home is on the agenda in the next few years. Our contributions to the #NoPlaceLikeOwn campaign will provide a continuing resource to explore what’s right for consumers in this quickly evolving market.”