Census Bureau Releases Detailed Data on Seattle Metro Area Housing


American Housing Survey Data Critical to Planning, Decision-Making and Market Research in Nation’s Housing Sector

February 22, 2011 – (RealEstateRama) — Homeowners in the Seattle-Tacoma, Wash., metro area paid a median of $1,576 in monthly housing costs in 2009, compared with $1,019 for renters, according to data released today by the U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development. Renters, however, typically paid a higher percentage of their household income on housing costs than did owners (30 percent compared with 23 percent).    These figures come from the 2009 American Housing Survey (AHS), which provides extensive data on the quality and characteristics of the housing supply in selected metropolitan areas around the nation. Data for these areas are published on a rotating basis. In addition to Seattle, data were released today for the New York, Chicago, Philadelphia, Northern New Jersey, and Detroit metro areas.

The survey covers a variety of specific topics, such as presence of air-conditioning, satisfaction with home and neighborhood, housing costs, presence of amenities, problems with neighborhood, reasons for choosing home and neighborhood, cost of utilities and size of home.

“The AHS is the only source of data on many of these measures, and it is by far the most detailed source of data on the nation’s housing stock,” said Tamara Cole, chief of the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Housing Survey Branch. “Professionals in nearly every area of planning, decision-making and market research consult the survey, along with anyone who wants to know more about the nation’s housing.”

Other highlights on occupied housing in the Seattle metro area include:

  • Twenty-six percent of homeowners did not have a mortgage.
  • Respondents were generally very content with where they live: 67 percent rated their homes highly, which means an 8, 9 or 10 on a scale of 1 to 10, with 22 percent giving them a “best” rating of 10. For neighborhoods, the corresponding figures were 60 percent and 18 percent.
  • The median year homes were built was 1977.
  • Ninety-seven percent of homes reported having a smoke detector. In addition, 25 percent had a working carbon monoxide detector, 45 percent purchased or recharged a fire extinguisher in the last two years, and 9 percent had sprinkler systems in their homes.
  • Separate dining rooms were found in 51 percent of homes and usable fireplaces in 60 percent.
  • The two most common home heating fuels used were electricity (50 percent) and piped gas (41 percent). Additionally, most units (61 percent) used a warm-air furnace for heating.
  • About one-third of households (32 percent) reported noise from traffic as a problem and 24 percent cited crime as a concern. Ninety-one percent were satisfied with police protection in their communities.
  • The most common consideration for recent movers in choosing their neighborhood was convenience to a job (about one in four). In choosing their home, financial reasons (about one in four) was the most common reason cited.
  • Sixty-one percent of occupied homes had three or more bedrooms, and 52 percent had two or more bathrooms.
  • Only 13 percent of occupied units had central air-conditioning.

The U.S. Census Bureau conducts the American Housing Survey to update statistics for the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Statistics from the AHS surveys are subject to sampling error and nonsampling error. All comparisons have been tested and found to be statistically significant at the 90 percent confidence level, unless otherwise noted.

Robert Bernstein
Public Information Office
301-763-3030/763-3762 (fax

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