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.

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.

Why Those $600 COVID-Relief Checks Make Bad Economic Sense

Retail sales of goods are higher than they were a year ago, thanks in part to online retail, but services remain stubbornly down and won’t recover until customers feel comfortable patronizing high-touch businesses. No amount of stimulus money can change that reality.

Twin Peaks? Seattle and San Francisco Take COVID Housing Dips

Among the larger metro area markets in the country, San Francisco has had the largest area-wide one-year rent drop and Seattle has had the second largest drop. The December one-bedroom median rent was $2,700 for San Francisco and $1,540 for Seattle.