Seattle Isn’t Building Our Way Toward Affordable Rents


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Yesterday I issued the following statement in response to the Seattle Times’ article about rising rents:

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“As the Chair of the Council’s Housing Committee I see the Seattle Times’ story about rising rents making a strong case for the City to require private

developers to provide affordable housing in new developments, just as other major cities do around the county.

Even though we are building more apartments now than in the past two decades, housing costs are still going up. Increasing the supply of housing is not catching up with demand because Seattle’s expanding economy attracts ever more people. Seattle is the fourth most active real estate market in the country, drawing people from all corners of the world and walks of life.

The increase in new employees translates into a greater demand for housing, which translates into higher prices. Until we embrace this reality, we will be a dog chasing our tail. The City needs to require that developers provide 10% of their new housing for those earning less than $45,000.

Earlier this year, with the passage of Resolution 31444, the City Council begun this conversation by identifying consultants to examine best practices nationally and work with a stakeholder group to develop recommendations to the Council. But that report is not due until 2014, and we need to begin tackling this problem immediately. I hope this fall citizens consider our future as a City while taking into account where our leaders stand on this issue of affordable housing.”

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Comment from Debby Norman
Time July 9, 2013 at 10:36 am

Affordable housing is like the weather. Everyone talks about it but no one does anything. Every City Council candidate I’ve heard says s/he is for affordable housing. Yet some of these same council members recently let an affordable housing opportunity slip away.

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