The Highway 99 tunnel is finally complete, and commuters are beginning to experience the benefits. While the weeks leading up to completion of the tunnel were gruesome for some commuters, overall most say it wasn’t as bad as they anticipated. Later in 2019, tolls through the tunnel are expected to range from $1 to $2.25, depending on the time of day.

Buying and selling activity has slowed so far in 2019. However, the culprit isn’t the economy¬† – local real estate agents think that it’s because expectations are becoming more realistic. This even-paced market is good news for buyers – particularly millennials who will have a greater opportunity for home ownership with fewer competing bids on the table. Student debt is still an obstacle to millennials when it comes to purchasing a home, but this demographic is expected to take over the market in 2019.

Microsoft’s plan to contribute $500 million to affordable housing in the Seattle area has home buyers and potential sellers wondering what effect it will have on home values. Affordable housing groups and local mayors are excited about the impact the contribution could have on housing for low-income families. City officials are also hoping it will alleviate issues that service and retail workers experience in finding housing in the cities in which they work.

For example, there are middle-income residents who work on the Eastside who cannot afford to live where they work. While the allocation of Microsoft’s contribution is still unclear, as far as developing and planning goes, officials remain optimistic that it will provide benefits one way or another. At the very least, Microsoft’s pledge shines a light on our region’s affordable-housing issue and may prompt other companies to follow its lead.