The Seattle Times To Host Forum On Affordable Housing

seattle nowWith home prices and rents in Seattle continually rising, housing affordability has been a hot topic among residents, city council members, and the media alike. On March 31, The Seattle Times’ business reporter Sanjay Bhatt will host a forum addressing how wages, policy, and costs intersect to create Seattle’s complex and ever-changing housing landscape. The event, titled “Priced Out: The Struggle for an Affordable Seattle”, is free, but space is limited, so make sure to register in advance if you’d like to attend.

The event’s featured speakers include Skylar Olsen, chief economist at Zillow; David Rolf, president of Service Employees International Union 775; Jake McKinstry, principal at Spectrum Development Solutions; and Nela Richardson, chief economist at Redfin.

Event Details: “Priced Out: The Struggle for an Affordable Seattle”

Location: Kane Hall at the University of Washington, 4069 Spokane Ln.

Date: Tuesday, March 31

Time 6:30-8:00 p.m.

Register here: http://livewire.seattletimes.com/

City Council Votes To Enact Mandatory Developer Fees

towersThe Seattle City Council voted 7-2 Monday to make real estate developer fees that would go toward building affordable housing mandatory; until now, developer fees have been voluntary. As reported by the Puget Sound Business Journal, the Affordable Housing Linkage Fee Program will require commercial and residential developers to pay a fee of anywhere from $5 to $22 per square foot of rentable space in the building, or make 3 to 5 percent of the building’s units available to those who make 80 percent or less of the area’s median income. According to KIRO, that works out to no more than $1,200 for a one-bedroom apartment.

Linkage fees will apply to developments mainly in commercial areas and multi-family residential zones, and will range from $16-$22 per square foot in Downtown and South Lake Union to as low as $5-$7 per square foot in the Rainier Valley and North Seattle (see the map of where fees would be applied here). The money generated by the fees would be used to build housing for people making 60 to 80 percent of the median income, which works out to $45,000 to $65,000 for a family of four, according to The Seattle Times. The fees would not apply to buildings in single-family neighborhoods.

Before the city council vote, a group of 13 land-use lawyers sent a letter to the council opposing the mandatory fees, saying they were illegal under current state law.

If you are interested in learning about housing in Seattle, contact your local real estate agent today.