Capitol Hill is so five-years-ago. Ballard? Over. No, the skinny-jeans crowd has moved on to…Bellevue.
That’s if we’re to believe the real-estate data firm RealtyTrac, which placed Bellevue’s 98007 — home to Bellevue College — among the top-10 up-and-coming hipster ZIP codes in the U.S.
The data crunchers at RealtyTrac went looking for nascent hipster neighborhoods in order to identify the best areas for real-estate investment. Apparently, hipsters are great for property values: “Thanks to an influx of trendy restaurants, bars, coffee shops and other amenities,” RealtyTrac’s news release says, “a neighborhood branded as hipster is likely to see property values and rental rates rise while vacancies and foreclosures decline.”
RealtyTrac analyzed ZIP-code data to find places with just the right hipster demographic mix. This included a high concentration of folks ages 25 to 34 — the prime hipster years — combined with a high percentage of those who either walk or take public transit to work, because, according to RealtyTrac, “easily walkable, densely populated neighborhoods are another hallmark of hipster culture.” Also, renters had to outnumber homeowners in the ZIP code, and the vacancy rate had to be low.
Of just 83 ZIP codes in the nation that made the cut, 98007 was one. And when ranked by potential return on rental-property investment, that ZIP code placed tenth.
Now, 98007 may very well be a good place to invest in rental properties. But folks who know the area assure me that Brooklyn’s Williamsburg doesn’t need to watch its back just yet. The 98007’s underground scene is so far underground, nobody’s actually seen it. And, frustratingly, there’s still nowhere to play bike polo on 148th Avenue Northeast.
So is 98007 really on the cusp of being the next in-spot — or is RealtyTrac just being ironic (in a hipster way, of course)?
Or maybe this ranking is a good illustration of one of the pitfalls of data analysis. Bellevue’s 98007 does indeed meet all the demographic criteria that RealtyTrac researchers felt were indicators of hipsterdom. But maybe their choice of data points was a bit off.
Interestingly, Seattle had another ZIP code in the top 10: Belltown’s 98121 came in ninth, just one place above 98007.