Washington among top 10 in housing cost increases

SPOKANE - Washington has had one of the nation's sharpest increases in housing costs since 1990, with median home values rising 187 percent in that period, compared with a national average of 136 percent.

The number of housing units in Washington rose more than 10 percent since 2000, with the most growth in Franklin County in Eastern Washington, according to new Census data.

There were 2.699 million housing units in Washington in 2006, up from 2.460 million in 2000. That's an increase of 10.1 percent between 2000 and 2006, compared with a national increase of 9 percent.

The Census Bureau released today a host of demographic data about the nation, including statistics on immigration, housing, education and employment. The data come from the American Community Survey, an annual survey of 3 million households that has replaced the Census Bureau's long-form questionnaire from the once-a-decade census.

In housing units, the fastest growing county in Washington and the only one among the top 100, was Franklin County, which contai ns Pasco. The number of housing units in the heavily Hispanic county grew 34 percent from 2000 to 2006, to 21,595. Franklin County was also the fastest growing in the past year, up 5.7 percent from 2005.

The latest survey also found that Washington had 2.471 million households.