Seattle Housing Affordability

Housing Affordability

Housing affordability is an issue for nearly everyone in our city, but the housing crunch is hardest on low income, middle income, and seniors.  Runaway development and up-zoning have drastically changed working-class neighborhoods, making more housing available for newcomers who can afford it, while eliminating affordable housing stock in neighborhoods that were once affordable.

The City Council has passed unnecessary and burdensome anti-landlord laws that are driving up rental costs and forcing smaller landlords to sell affordable properties.  Every new anti-landlord proposal the City Council has passed drives up rent, increases rental qualification standards or inspires the landlords to sell their affordable homes.  Once sold, these affordable houses are gone forever.

As if it cannot get worse, property taxes have been skyrocketing due to the increased number of levies and the higher property valuations.  These taxes are being passed on to renters driving up their rent dramatically.  Many of the mayoral candidates have not been focused on the 85,000 seniors and the middle class who are being taxed out of our city.  Our teachers and seniors cannot afford our city and the City Council's policies will only make their situation worse.


  • We must address the foreign investment moving from Vancouver, BC to Seattle.  This issue will mute all of our efforts to create affordable housing.
  • Immediately review and fix the many problems with HALA.
  • Eliminate costly/unnecessary regulations to help drive down building costs.
  • Have a regional summit of mayors, developers, business owners, community members, and urban planners with the goal to develop a 50-year regional housing plan for all cities in the Seattle, Everett, Bellevue, Tacoma, and Olympia areas.
  • Preserve Single Family Neighborhood through:
    • Small Lot Homes - Allow small lot homes to be built with an easy to understand and predictable building rules.
    • Cottage Development - Revise rules to make it easier to build cottages and reduce costly permitting and development fees.
    • Accessory Dwelling Units - Create incentives for the development of ADUs both inside and outside of Single Family Homes
    • Flex Housing - Allow larger homes to be divided into multiple housing units.
    • Courtyard Housing - Allow multiple smaller homes to be built on a lot all facing a courtyard.
    • Corner Lot Development - Allow corner lots to be sub-divided to build multiple homes facing a street or alley.
  • Develop a senior citizen landlord rental program which will couple seniors with available rooms to renters interested in helping seniors age in place.  This program will provide seniors with both income and in-home support so they can age in place.
  • Require developers to either provide two affordable homes for every affordable home demolished in up-zoned areas or set aside a total of 5% of the units as affordable housing in any new development.  Allow higher buildings to offset costs associated with affordable housing.  Also, consider tax incentives.
  • Develop neighborhood zoning review boards with an equal number of developers, homeowners, renters, business owners, and city planning employees to develop a master plan for each neighborhood consistent with Seattle’s master plan.
  • Restore Neighborhood Councils
  • Require the payment of impact fees to fund infrastructure, schools, fire stations,  and roads.
  • Consider an unoccupied unit tax to discourage speculative investors who do not intend to live in or rent their properties and to incentivize banks to sell or rent bank-owned property.  We want to discourage speculators from buying and holding property with no intention of living or renting the property.
  • Reduce or eliminate permitting delays AFTER land use proposals have passed. Delays by the city add tremendous costs to developers, business owners, and home owners.
  • Cap/cover railroad yards, portions of I-5, and other infrastructure for the development of affordable housing. New York, Chicago, and other cities have covered railroads, rail road yards, and highways to make room for development.
  • Develop affordable upzone areas around mass transit systems.
  • Develop a high-speed urban gondola system like other countries have used to move people around the city.
    • Light rail costs Seattle $156 million/mile and moves 1,000 people/hour. Urban Gondolas cost $4 million/mile and can move up to 4,000 people/hour.
    • This eliminates devastation to businesses we have seen during light rail construction projects.
    • It removes people from the street making room for growth
    • Requires fewer employees to operate the system
    • We can leverage our City topography and connect all 7 hills to each other to downtown.
    • Solves West Seattle isolation problem
    • The jaw-dropping beauty of our region will drive ridership.

Comments are closed.