I have some good friends who recently bought a country house in France. Then they purchased a cozy 11-room hotel in the same village.

Now, lest you assume I hang out with multi-millionaires, let me note what they paid for that French real estate: for the house, just over $67,000; for the hotel, just over $51,000. There are no missing zeroes there. I’m talking sixty-seven thousand and fifty-one thousand.

In comparison, I know a young couple who just paid $1.3 million for a nice but modest house in northeast Seattle. Maybe they should have moved to France.

Housing prices in the Seattle metro area are up more than 18% over last year, the third biggest increase in the country. And that is a percentage based on prices that were already in the stratosphere. Our town has been among the most expensive places to buy a home for several years now, right up there with San Francisco, New York City and Washington, D.C.

Seattle has a booming tech economy, lots of good paying jobs, a young population, excellent universities, and is surrounded by two marvelous mountain ranges and the beauty of Lake Washington and Puget Sound. It is no wonder people want to live here and are willing to pay a big price for a home. But isn’t there a limit to how much people can afford? Will a day come when only millionaires can live in the Emerald City?

If that should come to pass, I know a village in France where you can get a house for the cost of a new car. 

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