Michael Luis

Michael Luis is a public policy consultant who has been wrestling with housing, growth and economic development issues around Washington State for over 30 years. He is author of several books on local history and served as mayor of Medina.

Reduce Pedestrian Accidents to Zero? Um… No (Here’s Why)

We should see our traffic system as a remarkable success, rather than setting unrealistic goals and looking for a systemic fix.

What are People doing with those COVID-Relief Checks? Saving!

The unemployed, who really needed the money, probably spent that extra benefit, while everyone else simply stuck it in the bank. The personal savings rate rose to 20.5 percent.

What, Exactly, is a Suburb?

The easiest way to think about suburbs is as the parts of a metropolitan area that lie outside the boundaries of the central city. By this definition, the suburban footprint varies quite widely among metro areas.

Boise as Test Case: Calculating the Formula for Livability

If the mayor of Boise hopes that the city can absorb an income boost with new transplants, keep housing costs down, and protect the area’s quality of life, the math, unfortunately, is working against that outcome.

Data Show: Relief Checks won’t do What’s Needed

So, here we go with another round of proposed payments that will strengthen household balance sheets but probably won't stimulate much of anything. Two key measures came out last week that give us a view of the economy at year end and what the new relief package might mean.

Office Space: Empty Floors Everywhere you Look!

Only two of the areas, Salt Lake City and Baltimore, saw a gain in office use, and the Seattle-Bellevue market area had the third highest drop in office occupancy.

AirBNB Down: NW Short Term Rental Market Stumbles

All markets show a big drop between the fourth quarter of 2019 and the fourth quarter of 2020. What is more surprising is that three of the five market areas actually peaked in 2018, and had lost units between 2018 and 2019.

Apartment Rents Continue to Fall Across Seattle

Apartment rents have continued their freefall across most of the Seattle area. Seattle and the suburbs to the east and north have continued to see median rents drop, while suburbs to the south have more mixed results.

Good News In the “Bad” Jobs Report

Nearly all of the job loss occurred in activities that were curtailed by government order in November and December.

Our Fastest-Growing State… Idaho?

No state has grown faster than Idaho in the past five years. The Mountain West, overall, has had strong growth since 2015, with Nevada, Utah and Arizona right behind Idaho in the growth rankings.