King County residents cite high housing costs as No. 1 reason to relocate

by Lindsey Wells

More than half of King County residents plan to move out of the area in the next five years, according to a recent survey conducted by DHM Research and Quinn Thomas. 

As the Seattle region emerges from nearly two years of pandemic-related turmoil, lack of inventory and high housing costs continue to be a source of frustration. 

For workers with the ability to work remotely, COVID presented an opportunity to relocate without sacrificing the job opportunity that initially drew them to the Seattle area. 

According to the report, since January 2020, 25% of current Seattle-area residents have moved. Of those, 17% moved from one part of King County to another and 8% moved into King County from outside the region. 

Most King County residents (55%) say they’re likely to move in the next five years. Among those expecting to move, 44% plan to stay in the Seattle area, while 36% say they will leave the region and 21% are unsure of where they will go. 

The survey of 501 adult residents in King County conducted Oct. 15-26, 2021, showed that high housing costs (80%), the local government’s response to homelessness (64%) and crime rates (57%) were among the top reasons to leave the county. 

The same respondents cited outdoor recreation (83%), arts and entertainment (78%) and work opportunities (74%) as reasons to remain in King County.

Those who reported being unhappy in their current location said they would consider relocating to West Seattle, North Seattle, Bellevue and downtown Seattle.

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