Why This is Important: Population and costs of housing in Seattle have always been on the rise, while the availability of housing seems to stay on a constant decline. We simply cannot continue this trend, leave the city as is, and expect affordable homes to appear for people who want to live here. There must be a change we are all a part of. That change was implemented by the city in 2014 with the establishment of HALA, and then again, more recently in 2019, with the new city-wide requirement of MHA. Below we will help explain these two significant changes and how they will help create a brighter future for Seattle.
Housing Affordability and Livability Agenda: HALA is a comprehensive and multi-pronged approach to create an affordable and livable city. In September of 2014, a 28 member Advisory Committee was instated by the Mayors Office and City Council, charged with the sole purpose of increasing the affordability and availability of housing in our city (Housing Affordability and Livability Advisory Committee). Consisting mainly of community leaders and local housing experts, this committee deliberated for 5 months before publishing their finalized report of 65 recommendations for the city. An essential piece of this report was MHA.
Mandatory Housing Affordability: MHA requires new development and commercial real estate to either incorporate affordable housing into their construction, or contribute hundreds of thousands of dollars to an affordable housing city fund. Over the next 20 years, this will raise tens of millions of dollars and provide well over 7,000 new rent-restricted homes for low-income people, in addition to creating thousands of new jobs. Seattle has implemented this requirement by rezoning high density areas (HDA’s) to allow for larger development and a greater range of housing opportunities. These HDA’s are typically already located near business hubs and centers of public transportation, with pre-existing infrastructure that supports a larger population and provides a higher quality of life. By increasing the variety of housing opportunities in these HDA’s, you allow for every type of person to have access to this elevated lifestyle. These regulations will also help maintain current neighborhood character outside of HDA’s, will minimize the overall environmental impact of new construction, and hopefully, create more loving, accepting, and diverse communities throughout our city.
What Home Owners Need to Know: As a bonus, decreasing the size and density restrictions on your home opens the door to a whole new pool of buyers! This could exponentially increase the price of your home and your ability to positively affect your city! Not only has your home become more valuable, but now selling to a developer directly contributes to the City’s efforts to create more affordable housing. So, if you are are thinking of remodeling, listing, or selling your home, consult with Windermere’s Van Wyck & Porter team for the best no pressure advice on how to support low income housing and maximize the potential return on your property.