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Washington state's economic recovery tops in US

By Linda Deng in Seattle | China Daily Global | Updated: 2021-04-07 09:50


The economy of Washington state has weathered the coronavirus pandemic better than any other state in the nation, according to a study.

The report by personal finance website WalletHub compared the 50 states and the District of Columbia across 13 key metrics, including the share of employment from small businesses, workers with access to paid sick leave, and unemployment insurance claims.

Specifically, the study found that the state has one of the highest shares of workers able to work from home; a gross domestic product that is one of the least dependent on industries highly affected by the pandemic; a higher-than-average number of employees returning to work after being unemployed; and a higher-than-average share of workers with access to paid sick leave.

The area has long been a technology hub, bolstered by companies like Microsoft, Amazon and Boeing. Last year, Amazon's two huge leases in Bellevue, a city located across Lake Washington from Seattle, made the region the No 1 market in the country for large office leases by tech companies, with 3.4 million square feet leased. That was 47 percent more than the No. 2 market, Manhattan.

The local Seattle real estate market, though it had been slowed at the beginning of the pandemic, remains popular among US and international investors.

Seattle home values have risen 8.9 percent over the past year, and the latest forecast is that they will rise 8.2 percent until September 2021.

Metropolitan-area homes have sold for 5.3 percent above asking price on average over the four weeks ending March 14, according to Redfin data. The premium was the third-highest rate in the US, following Austin, Texas, and San Jose, California.

The 5.3 percent average is up from the 1.2 percent above asking price a year earlier, according to the real estate brokerage. The year-over-year change was the second-biggest jump in the country, following only Austin.

Growth in new high-paying jobs along with employees relocating to Seattle is driving demand for homes.

Becco Zou, a real estate agent from Bellevue, said she saw more buyers from Silicon Valley recently.

A significant number of buyers, including international buyers, postponed transactions during the pandemic and are eager to make up for lost time.

"We are certainly getting more activity in the CRE (commercial real estate) market with the COVID vaccine rollout, and the economy is rebounding. More investors are off the fence and have started looking. Although it's not a lot of new money from cross-border, more of the money already here is in play," Holly Yang, senior vice-president of Kidder Mathews, told China Daily.

A recent report by Juwai IQI, which helps Chinese international real estate buyers, shows Seattle remains the top destination for Asian homebuyers. The pandemic's disruption caused many Asian buyers to re-evaluate their real estate priorities and engage in the property market with new energy, the report found.

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