Should Seattleites be concerned about the impact of tech industry layoffs on the housing market?

by Emily Marek

Seattle has long been a hub of the technology industry, with numerous tech headquarters located in the Puget Sound area. As layoffs become more and more frequent among tech giants, many have begun to wonder how the changes will impact the local economy and in turn, the housing market.

According to Crosscut, Amazon has laid off 2,300 employees in Seattle and Bellevue, while Microsoft has laid off 900 Seattle-area employees, both in the past few months alone. Meanwhile, Google eliminated 7,000 positions statewide. Meta and Salesforce have also made cuts. With so many major tech companies laying off staff, is the Seattle housing market in danger?

Matthew Gardner, Chief Economist at Windermere Real Estate, says no.

“That sector here in Seattle and nationally, has grown by almost 75% over the course of the last decade,” Gardner said in a statement published to Windermere Real Estate’s YouTube Channel. “All companies are doing now in response to a slowing economy is just cutting away some of the fat from their companies.”

However, unemployment anxiety remains high in Seattle: a recent study from finance site SmartAsset ranks Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue as the metro area with the third-highest rate of what they call “layoff anxiety.” That refers to the general public’s overall sense of anxiety about being fired and left unemployed. Using Google Trends data, SmartAsset determined that Seattle was one of the cities with the highest prevalence of internet searches related to layoffs/unemployment, indicating that Seattlites are worried about their job security.

“The economy may be heading for a recession, and your personal income or employment may be put at risk,” said Redfin chief economist Daryl Fairweather in an interview with KUOW Seattle. “I think people underestimate that risk; they think that their job is safe if they’ve had it for a long time, but we’ve seen a lot of companies do layoffs. I think it’s always something to be prepared for. Make sure you have an emergency fund. Don’t stretch your budget with your housing budget and not have any money left over for saving for a rainy day.”

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