South King County has long been a destination for working people seeking home ownership.
But prices have been rising and not people's ability to pay.
When you look at home prices in King County since 1990, you see they're running about a quarter-million dollars over inflation. About $70,000 of that was last year alone.
Median salaries have not kept up.
This is also a national trend, and economists have been saying it's concerning.
Because this can happen: “We all made a fair amount of money ten years ago and then the economy went to heck," said Jeffrey Basket, 69, of Auburn. He sold building supplies before the last recession.
“Our wages never came back. So a lot of people lost their homes.”
Basket is now behind on mortgage payments: “Two months. But I’ll make my payment next week.”
Basket is at an age when many people want to be done with a mortgage. “I don’t want to lose my house. I did everything I could for my family, for my grandkids.”
And in a region where both rents and home prices are now high, he has few affordable alternatives.