Hat tip to the West Seattle Blog, who yesterday posted about a City of Seattle advisory committee on affordable housing. The city is gearing up to attempt to “develop a bold agenda for increasing the affordability and availability of housing in our city by convening a Housing Affordability and Livability Advisory Committee.“
Here are some of their starting assumptions:
p. 6 – Existing housing does not meet the needs of many current residents. Households are increasingly burdened by their housing costs.
p. 10 – The gap between demand and availability of affordable housing is greatest for lower income households, including family-sized households. Workers in some of the city’s most common occupations are priced out of living in Seattle.
p. 15 – In a growing City, new housing supply is necessary but not sufficient to achieve affordability.
The claim that new housing supply alone is not sufficient to achieve affordability is based on data that shows that (unsurprisingly) typical new housing stock rents and sells for considerably more than existing homes.
I would argue that new supply could be sufficient to achieve affordability if there were enough new supply. The city is predicting that 70,000 new housing units will be built in the next 20 years. Imagine if the city adjusted zoning, permitting, and incentives such that 700,000 new housing units came on the market instead. There is no way that would not drive prices down dramatically.
I’m not saying that’s the best solution, but it definitely seems like something that could work.
You can give your own input in three upcoming evening meetings (6:00 PM – 8:30 PM):
- November 19, South Seattle: Ethiopian Community Center
- November 20, Central District: Garfield Community Center
- December 04, Northgate: Olympic View Elementary
Here’s their full slide deck.
Thanks to reader Shane for pointing me to WSB’s post.