Why the Seattle Housing Market is Safer in a Recession

Earlier this year, Business Week’s Prashant Gopal wrote and article titled “Some Cities Will Be Safer In A Recession.” I’m going to summarize this article and share my thoughts on why they named Seattle as one of these cities.

As you can imagine, cities with a strong presence in health care, education, law, energy, and the government will do better in a downturn than those without. Why, because all of these items are considered by most of us as a necessity.

Government leaders are working to avoid a depression-or at least a late-1970s-level recession-but if things get really bad, some places will suffer more: states such as California, Florida, and Nevada that are buried under a growing mass of foreclosures, cities like New York and Chicago that have large numbers of financial sector jobs, and manufacturing towns like Detroit that are already suffering from weak sales of cars and other durable goods.

Other local economies, those dominated by stable industries, could be relatively well cushioned. In this article, Business Week looked at places where large portions of the population worked in anti-cyclical industries such as government, health care, education, agriculture, and legal services.

College Cushion

Colleges don’t necessarily flourish in bad times, but they don’t go out of business either. People tend to go back to school to learn marketable skills when unemployment is high, but alumni donations and state grants do tend to dwindle during recessions. Major cities with multiple college campuses benefit from this situation. Seattle, has multiple college campuses such as the University of Washington, Seattle University, Seattle Pacific University, City University and others.

Health Care

Even doctors and nurses feel the pinch in a recession because people without jobs or insurance tend to put off medical visits until it’s absolutely necessary. But medical care is in demand in good times and bad. Seattle has many hospitals in the area, including:

Children’s Hospital & Regional Medical Center

Children’s Hospital and Medical Center is the premier pediatric referral center in the Pacific Northwest, with national prominence for its clinical expertise and affiliation with the University of Washington School of Medicine.

Harborview Medical Center

As the region’s only Level 1 trauma center, Harborview’s expert emergency and operating-room staff are available 24 hours a day. The University of Washington Burn Center at Harborview is nationally renowned for its advances in burn-care techniques.

Northwest Hospital

Northwest Hospital is a nonprofit hospital located in North Seattle. The Northwest Hospital Childbirth Center was the first in Seattle to provide labor, delivery, recovery and postpartum care in a single room.

Overlake Hospital Medical Center

Overlake Hospital Medical Center is a nonprofit, non-tax-supported community hospital offering a full range of advanced medical services. Overlake features the only level III trauma center on the greater Eastside, a childbirth center with special-care nursery for premature infants and an innovative postpartum follow-up program.

Swedish Medical Center

Swedish Medical Center isthe Northwest’s largest, most comprehensive health care facility. Its flagship campus, located on Seattle’s First Hill, is a regional referral center for several major specialties. Swedish’s Ballard campus is a full-service, acute-care facility offering high-quality medical and surgical services to the surrounding community.

University of Washington Medical Center

Many consumer guides cite University of Washington Medical Center (UWMC) as one of the best hospitals in the country – one of the top 10, according to U.S. News & World Report’s annual guide.Located on the UW campus, the 450-bed medical center provides comprehensive primary and specialty care.

Valley Medical Center

Valley Medical Cente rprovides a broad range of health care services to the individuals who live and work in South King County. The emergency department, designated a level III trauma center, is one of the busiest in the state, with crisis-intervention counselors available around the clock.

Virginia Mason Medical Center

Virginia Mason Medical Center consists of a downtown Seattle clinic and hospital, and a system of 7 medical clinics throughout western Washington, which offer comprehensive and personalized health care services. VirginiaMason has been a regional leader since 1920, and is consistently rankedamong the finest medical facilities in the United States.

Wow, that’s a lot of health care and a lot of stable jobs.

Grocery Cushion

Farms and grocery stores tend to be relatively stable because even though people might not be able to afford restaurant food, they still need to eat. There are 206 stores in the Seattle Division of the grocer Safeway. QFC and Albertson’s add as many to that total. And, despite scaling back new store openings after a third-quarter profit drop, Whole Foods Market is still going ahead with plans for two more Seattle-area stores, making the total number in the Seattle area seven.

Major Port Cushion

Seattle, is a major port and will continue to benefit from robust international trade as long as the dollar is weak.

Seattle at a glance

Share of jobs in strong industries: 37.6%

Number of workers: 331,186

Metro area unemployment rate: 5%

Agriculture jobs: 0.34%

Professional, Scientific, and Technical jobs (legal, accounting etc.): 12.24%

Education jobs: 10.02%

Health-care jobs: 11.49%

Public Administration (Government) jobs: 3.48%

If you live in Seattle, you are in a great place to buy your first home. Prices have come down, mortgage interest rates are at historic lows, and sellers are willing to pay for most if not all of your closing costs.

Finding Commercial Investment Property in Santa Barbara

The best place to start is The Mesa, which is a popular area of Santa Barbara due to its rich history and rustic natural beauty. This area is perfect for real estate investment and is home to a number of beautiful homes and thriving businesses. ‘Mesa,’ which means ‘table’ in Spanish, is a vast flatland, and a common name for plains areas in the southwest. The Mesa in Santa Barbara stretches from Arroyo Burro to the Santa Barbara Cemetery. Finding Santa Barbara commercial realty for sale in this area is a real coup for any Santa Barbara real estate investment guru.

Currently, The Mesa is still used for agricultural services, since the soil is very rich. Crops are big in this area, so keep that in mind as you search for commercial realty for sale — it may come in the form of an agricultural Santa Barbara real estate investment. There are a number of farming communities in the area, so that should be a significant consideration when purchasing a property. The area is only recently becoming urbanized, as many farmers were not open to selling farmland to be replaced with Santa Barbara commercial realty for sale.

Other areas of Santa Barbara to consider for real estate investment include Eastside and Montecito. Eastside was ‘created’ in 1851, when State Street was formed in the area, which helped the area develop from a Mexican pueblo to a village that was more Americanized. The University of California at Santa Barbara is located in this area, which means a great deal of prime commercial realty for sale can be found in Eastside. Eastside is also home to one of California’s largest Chinatown districts, another great area for real estate investment opportunities.

Montecito boasts a number of top-notch shops and restaurants as well as Mexican-inspired homes and architecture. There are also plenty of bed and breakfast and wineries in the area as well. There are varieties of Santa Barbara real estate investments to be had in this area, from those in the travel sector to residential to commercial realty for sale.

Be sure to keep in touch with your real estate agent to keep up with the latest Santa Barbara commercial realty for sale. The best way to take advantage of the many property investment opportunities is to get out and visit the area often. You may be pleasantly surprised at how easy it is to get involved in the Santa Barbara real estate investment market.

Smarter Yellow Page Advertising – Part 3 – Picking an Ad Size

Say you are the typical small business that advertises in your local Yellow Pages. You have chosen to be listed on the smaller Eastside directory and under “Catering.” There are 20 other caters and now it’s up to you to determine what size will be most effective. Your rep is encouraging you to place the largest ad because either (a) he thinks it’s best for your business, (b) he says it will dominate the page, (c) he says it will make you the most money, or (d) he gets paid by commission.

Now first, let me explain that I was a YP rep for 25 years and my answer would be all of the above. But for many, it was only (d). In other words, can you really trust the rep to suggest an ad size or color when he gets paid more for the larger ads? I doubt if he or she will ever recommend the smallest ad without color. So, what should you do?

It begins with the heading and the competition. If you are a plumber confronted with 10 full pages and you can only afford an eighth of a page, maybe you should rethink the Yellow Pages at all. You see, plumbing is normally an emergency heading where a leak or broken pipe needs immediate attention. So Mrs. Smith starts at the beginning of the heading and works her way back. But not too far back. After flipping five pages, her little fingers are getting sore and she stops. She most probably would never get to your teeny-tiny ad in the back. Unless it offers “Free Service Calls, Free Parts, Free Dinner for 10 with every Repair and a Free Trip to Hawaii.” Get my point? Assuming you’re not in a giving mood, consider your options.

To be competitive with 10 full pages, nothing less than a half-page will work. And marginally well at that. But even that’s still too expensive, you whine. I hate whiners but I’ll let this one go. Either look for a cheaper Yellow Page book from a competitor or try the Internet. Look into Google ads. Or, try the larger ad YP by cutting back on your non-profitable overhead. Advertising is the life-blood of a business and you have to keep the trucks rolling. Unless you have a rare business that can totally survive on word-of-mouth, YP advertising is still the most effective for any emergency-type business. Although the Internet is becoming more powerful each day, it’s also more fiercely competitive for that very reason.

I’m often asked if a smaller ad in full-color is better than a larger in black and yellow. The answer is that it depends. What are you selling? The florist, decorator, or swimming pool sales company can offer some pretty color pictures. But, why would I choose a plumber with a nice full-color flooded house? Or a color picture of an attorney? Does the color enhance the message? Sometimes it does. But I opt for size and position in most cases. “Position” meaning that the larger ads are placed first and before the smaller ones. So they are seen first as well. Finally, larger ads have more space to tell your story and include answers to all the “who, what, where, when and why” questions.

For even more interesting ways to save and create effective ads, consider my book called, “Inside the Yellow Pages,” on amazon or my site, poweradbook.com and discover a peek into the directory business as well. In the meantime, I’ll offer the best of luck in your YP advertising.