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 how these two significant changes implemented by the city will help create a more equitable and livable future for all.
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 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. One of these recommendations is MHA.
Mandatory Housing Affordability: MHA requires new development and commercial real estate to either include a percentage of affordable homes on site, or contribute hundreds of thousands of dollars to an affordable housing city fund. Seattle has implemented this requirement by rezoning high density areas (HDA’s) to allow for larger development and more housing opportunities. These HDA’s are typically already located near business hubs and centers of public transportation, with pre-existing infrastructures that support a larger population and provide a higher quality of life. By maximizing new developments effectiveness, these regulations will help to maintain current neighborhood character, minimize overall environmental impacts, and hopefully help create more loving, accepting, and diverse communities. Over the next 20 years, this new construction will provide well over 7,000 new rent-restricted homes for low-income people within Seattle, in addition to creating thousands of new jobs.
As a bonus, decreasing the size and density restrictions on your home changes the value of your land! This could have exponentially increased your ability to positively affect yourself and those less fortunate than you! So, if you are are thinking of remodeling, listing, or selling your home, you may want to consult with Windermere’s Van Wyck & Porter team first for the best no pressure advice on how to help those in need by maximizing the potential return on your property.