Nearly 4 percent of Seattle’s millennial households earn more than $350,000 per year, a concentration that puts it in the top five cities in the U.S.
If it seems as if some of your young Seattle neighbors are driving $100,000 Teslas, guzzling $25 cocktails and buying million-dollar homes, you’re not imagining it.
The Emerald City ranks in the top five among American cities with high concentrations of rich millennials, according to an analysis by Seattle-based Zillow.
Using U.S. Census Bureau data, the real-estate company looked at households earning more than $350,000 per year that are headed by people 22 to 34 years old.
Arlington, Va., (near Washington, D.C.) had the greatest concentration, judging by the 2014 American Community Survey sample data: 8.7 percent of its millennial households were superwealthy.
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Then came San Francisco (7.8 percent) and Huntington Beach, Calif. (5.1 percent). Rounding out the top five, Seattle tied Silicon Valley’s Sunnyvale, Calif., with 3.9 percent — that’s as many as 3,000 households in Seattle, according to Zillow.
Other cities in the top 10: Pasadena, Calif.; Denver; Cambridge, Mass.; Washington, D.C.; and New York.
Seattle’s median home value is $533,000 and its median rent is $2,364 a month, according to the company’s research.
But a high salary goes much further toward housing here than in the other cities that made the list.
San Francisco, by comparison, is insanely expensive: Its median home value is $1.13 million and its median rent is $4,542. Arlington ($607,100 and $2,690), Huntington Beach ($733,200 and $2,902) and Sunnyvale ($1.3 million and $3,877) are all more costly than Seattle.
“We found the highest shares of rich millennials in cities with growing, well-paid industries, notably tech, finance and law,” Zillow senior economist Aaron Terrazas said.
The population matters most in the luxury rental-housing market because many rich millennials are renters with few other financial responsibilities, Terrazas said.
He said Zillow didn’t determine whether Seattle’s concentration of rich millennials has grown recently.
While Seattle also has plenty of prosperous older residents, the growing city of more than 660,000 isn’t an old-money town.
Its share of baby-boomer households earning $350,000 is slightly smaller than its share of millennial households earning that much, Zillow found.