Local Association Urges State to Address Region’s Housing Shortage

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Housing affordability is an ongoing concern across the United States, but has hit high-growth metropolitan areas such as San Francisco and Seattle particularly hard. Addressing the affordability crisis is a key priority for NAHB this year and local home builder associations are taking up the mantle as well to improve conditions in their communities. Kat Sims, executive director of the Master Builders Association of King and Snohomish Counties, recently called for greater action by Washington State — as well as better collaboration within local communities where neighborhood opposition has been a deterrent to new developments — in an op-ed published in the Seattle Times: “Microsoft’s recent pledge of $500 million to help build more housing underlines the urgency of the situation. This incredible investment, which is only the beginning of the solution, should be a wake-up call to our entire region about the scale of this challenge. To solve this significant housing deficit, we will all need to do our part to make space for others. “The Puget Sound region is at a crisis point, but we have the opportunity to head off disaster by eliminating unnecessary barriers to housing in our urban areas that are already designated for growth. Instead of fighting new housing, we need to work together to thoughtfully change the regulatory landscape to create new housing while protecting the environment. We must not limit our thinking, or willingness to act, out of fear of change.” HBAs who may be experiencing similar pushback to new developments in their communities can look to NAHB’s resources on deterring the NIMBY effect. The State Survey of Housing Appeals Statutes, for example, details statutes for how land use denials are handled in five states as examples that other jurisdictions can tailor to their needs. For those looking to develop new projects, the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit Mapping Tool — available to NAHB Housing Credit Group Associate Members, Housing Credit Group Steering Committee Members and LIHTC Mapping Tool Subscribers — also highlights areas where affordable housing, especially LIHTC housing, are lacking in 25 metro areas (including Seattle). "We also need to increase the supply of 'missing middle' housing, like town homes, duplexes, triplexes, accessory dwelling units and condos," Sims added. "To that end, the Legislature should adopt changes to the Washington Condominium Act that would reduce excessive litigation risk and encourage construction of affordable condominiums while maintaining consumer protections." Click here to read the full op-ed.

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