Industry News

SKCR Joins…Coalition for more housing choices

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Seattle King County REALTORS® (SKCR) joined the recently launched Coalition for More Housing Choices, an organization whose members plan to collaborate to  “advocate for a shared and defined vision for housing.”

“The mission of our REALTOR® organization is to foster a business climate in which our members can meet the housing needs of their clients. Promoting policies that allow for the creation of new inventory and more housing options for consumers is our top priority,” stated SKCR president Georgia Stevens, managing broker at Compass Washington.

In addition to SKCR, current members include 15 other organizations representing a broad spectrum of Puget Sound regional leaders, civic organizations, businesses, labor and nonprofits.

The Coalition, which started forming in 2019, has adopted five guiding principles (see box) for addressing the housing crisis. Several statistics summarize the concerns:

  • Our region is forecast to add 1.8 million more people by 2050. That’s like adding 2.5 more Seattles in 30 years’ time.
    Source: Puget Sound Regional Council.
  • 49% of renters and 26% of homeowners in Washington are cost-burdened-they must spend more than 30% of their income on housing. This makes our region less affordable for current residents, newcomers, and future generations.
    Source: U.S. Census Bureau. 2012-2016 American Community Survey, Median Income in Past 12 Months, 1-Year Estimates, 2017.
  • Research shows 74% of jurisdictions in King County allow fewer than four homes per acre in at least one residential zone.
    Source: Study conducted for MBAKS by LDC Inc., January 2019.
  • By 2030, one in five people in the United States will be age 65 or older. And by 2035, older adults are projected to outnumber children for the first time. America’s current housing stock doesn’t fit a rapidly aging population.
    Source: AARP. “Making Room: Housing for a Changing America,” 2019.
  • In 2017, more than 19 million older adults were living in housing that didn’t provide them with the best opportunity to live independently. Only about 1% of the nation’s present housing is equipped to meet their needs.
    Source: AARP. “Making Room: Housing for a Changing America,” 2019.

Five Guiding Principles

  1. More housing options
  2. Environmental stewardship
  3. Equity
  4. Public finance and public/private partnerships
  5. Regulatory reforms

Driven by the five principles and drawing on proven policies and experiences, coalition members seek to successfully remove barriers to more housing choices to meet the needs of current and future residents, whether they intend to purchase or rent a home. The group intends to develop a broadly supported plan for new housing based on “robust policy research” to inform decision-making by policymakers, and to share best practices with local, county, and state officials.

The Coalition supports increasing housing choices and options in the urban centers of the Puget Sound region. Additionally, members will strive to build new homes across the region that “not only support the local neighborhood, but also meet the planning goals of the Growth Management Act.” That law, adopted in 1990, guides new housing development toward job centers, transportation, and where people already live, especially in cities.

Realtors and others who are interested in following the Coalition can subscribe to email updates.

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