Despite crime fears, home buyers look to South King County

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FEDERAL WAY, Wash. — A 19-year-old shot in Federal Way. A deadly shooting in Burien. Two suspects on the loose after a shooting in Rainier Valley.

Shootings Tuesday and Wednesday sent law enforcement in South King County scrambling, and had homeowners drawing their blinds.

But despite a reported year-to-year uptick in killings, South King County home prices in the area continue to rise, and the home market is hotter than ever.

Q13 News Reporter Steve Kiggins will have a live report from South King County at 4 and 5 p.m. 

"I haven't detected any hesitation to move to the area," said Windermere Realtor Edward Krigsman when asked if people were concerned about crime in South King County when buying a home. "Affordability is the number one factor."

And homes are certainly more affordable. According to Zillow, the average home in Seattle costs around $625,000. In Federal Way, the average home costs $324,000, with the median list of price per square-foot at $174.

From 2010 to 2015, Federal Way's population increased by around 6,000 people, a jump of about six percent.

A map detailing the homicides in Federal Way over the past year.

Krigsman said as people get priced out of Seattle, they increasingly look to areas like Burien, Renton and Federal Way for homes. Certain neighborhoods remain undesirable, Krigsman said, but as a whole, affordability seems to take precedent.

"Of course everyone wants to live in a safe area," Krigsman said. "But economics can be a driving force."

WATCH ABOVE: Wednesday's deadly shooting in Burien 

Yet it's no secret moving to South King County may come at a cost to peace of mind. According to the Seattle Times, South King County saw a jump in killings in 2016. In Federal Way alone, 10 homicides have been reported in the past year.

Cathy Schrock, a spokesperson with the Federal Way Police Department, said Federal Way averages about six homicides per year. The city remains about on track for that in this year, Schrock said, and it's too early to predict any trend in homicide numbers, she said.

Federal Way police are working with other agencies to determine if Tuesday and Wednesday's homicides are connected.

"We're definitely paying attention to other shootings in the area," Schrock said.

And Krigsman's clients looking in the area right now? They don't seem too concerned with this week's violent crimes.

"We have quite a few buyers in South King County, and I haven't detected any hesitation to move there as a result of these shootings," Krigsman said. "There's an understanding that crime is everywhere."

WATCH ABOVE: Wednesday's shooting in Rainier Valley

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