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How Seattle got its property sparkle back

SEATTLE is the home of Starbucks, Microsoft and Nirvana.

The US city has been suffering from a fall in real estate prices since the crisis began in 2008. And there have been thousands of people involved in short sales -- otherwise known as negative equity -- and foreclosures, or housing repossessions.

But there has been a turnaround this spring -- which is perhaps why Finance Minister Michael Noonan is talking about the city as an example for us to follow.

In the past month, the number of properties being sold has exceeded the number becoming newly available for the first time.

Estate agent Edy Kizaki, who carried out $12 million (€8.7m) in sales last year with her partner, said buyers were coming back .

"Prices are down and people are taking advantage of that. This is the fastest spring market I've seen in four years," she said.

There are currently three bedroom homes in the city selling for between $100,000-$300,000, while higher specification three bedroom homes are selling for between $300,000-$500,000.

The city did not have as big a property bubble as others in the US -- and therefore suffered less of a property crash.

It has also benefited from being a location for high tech companies such as Boeing, Microsoft, Expedia and Amazon. It boasts that it has more PhDs and bookstores than any other city in the US. Its population is around 600,000 people.

Ms Kizakiwelcomed Mr Noonan's use of Seattle as an example of how a property market could recover.

Irish Independent