top of page

Profiles in Privilege

The Covid-19 pandemic has brought many other issues to the forefront, particularly “Racial Equity” and its corollary, White Privilege.

Leschi is a model community in many respects with a diverse history and unsurpassed “lakeside village” ambience. But it also demonstrates how hard it will be to meet the Founding Fathers’ aspiration to achieve an “ever-more perfect union.”

The online real estate site Zillow currently shows only a handful of homes for sale in Leschi. I thought I’d found a bargain at $500,000—but that was an empty lot.

The principal culprit? SF5000.

Leschi, along with its neighbors Madrona and Mt Baker, is largely zoned SF5000-Single Family homes on a lot of at least 5,000 sq ft. The new Accessory Dwelling Unit regulations ease this constraint marginally, but the minimum lot size is unchanged—and your new “backyard cottage” may well cost you around $250,000 by the time you’ve met all the code requirements.

Covid-19 plays a role too: As part of the Federal Covid-19 Relief efforts, interest rates have been driven down to historic lows—and folks are spending much more time at home. If they work for Amazon, Microsoft or any of the other local tech companies who have seen their share prices climb rapidly, then there may also be big (share option) bucks to spend.

So, after a brief pause, Seattle home prices are on the rise again.