About Seattle

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Housing Quick Statistics

2010 Census Estimates:

  • Total housing units: 308,516
  • Occupied housing units: 283,510
  • Owner-occupied housing units: 136,362 (48.1 percent)
  • Renter-occupied housing units: 147,148 (51.9 percent)
  • Average household size: 2.06 persons
  • Ave. household size in owner-occupied units: 2.31 persons
  • Ave. household size in renter-occupied units: 1.83 persons

2012 Washington State Office of Financial Management Estimates:

  • Total housing units: 312,853
  • Occupied housing units: 288,159

Growth Targets

  • 47,000 additional households between 2005 and 2024
  • 29,330 net new housing units added from 2005 to 2012 (about 62 percent of the 2005-2024 target)


  • Housing unit counts from the U.S. decennial census: As of 2010, there were 308,516 housing units in Seattle: this is nearly 38,000 (or 14 percent) more housing units than were in Seattle in 2000.

    The 14 percent increase in housing units between 2000 and 2010 substantially outpaced population growth and household formation within the same decade. The increase was markedly higher than the 9 percent housing growth seen in the 1990s.

    As King County’s largest and densest city, Seattle typically adds housing at a slower pace than the county as a whole. However, Seattle has been adding housing at an accelerating pace each decade since 1960. The biggest jump was between 2000 and 2010 when Seattle’s housing stock increased at nearly the same rate as the total housing stock in the county.
  • Occupied housing units: The 2010 Census found that 283,510 (or 91.9 percent) of the total housing units in Seattle were occupied. The average household size was 2.06 persons.
  • Tenure (owner- and renter-occupancy): In 2010, a bit more than half of Seattle’s occupied housing units (51.9 percent) were rentals. The rest (48.1 percent) were inhabited by their owners.

    Household sizes tend to be larger in owner-occupied housing than in renter-occupied housing. In 2010 there were 2.31 persons per household in Seattle’s owner-occupied units compared to 1.83 persons per household in renter-occupied units. Due to larger household sizes, owner-occupied units still house more than half of Seattle’s overall household population.
  • Trends in homeownership rates: The number of people that own their homes decreased between 2000 and 2010. Homeownership ramped up in the early to mid part of the decade, but sharp reductions in the wake of the Great Recession more than erased those gains.

    For the nation as a whole, the decline in the homeownership rate between 2000 and 2010 was a departure from a general trend of rising homeownership since 1940. At a local level, however, the recent decline in homeownership put Seattle back on the path it has been following since 1960 of a small decline each decade in the homeownership rate.

Seattle Housing Units 1990 - 2010: 249,032 in 1990, 270,524 in 2000, and 308,516 in 2010

Seattle had 283,510 occupied housing units in 2010 and 25,006 vacant housing units.

48.1 percent of Seattle's housing units were occupied by their owners, the other 51.9 percent were occupied by renters.

  • Housing units added since 2010: In the two years between April 1, 2010 (Census day) and April 1, of 2012, approximately 4,337 units were added to Seattle’s housing stock.
  • Growth targets in Seattle’s Comprehensive Plan: Seattle aims to accommodate 47,000 additional households within the city over a 20-year period from 2005 to 2024. Seattle’s Comprehensive Plan also lays out growth targets for the city’s urban centers and urban villages.

    Seattle added over 29,000 units to the city’s housing stock from the beginning of 2005 to the end of 2012. With eight years (40 percent) of the 20-year planning period elapsed, Seattle had achieved about 62 percent of its targeted housing growth.
  • New Growth Targets: When Seattle adopts an updated comprehensive plan in 2015, it will need to include higher growth targets to match new allocations in the King County Countywide Planning Policies. The new allocation for Seattle is 86,000 new housing units over a 25-year period.

Featured Products

Census 2010 Reports for Seattle

New Housing Units in Seattle

These handy reports are based on our permit data:

  • Citywide Residential Permit Report shows residential building construction permits for new or demolished units. Completed permits are reported by year the permit was finaled, as well as the permits that are currently issued and under review. We update this report quarterly.
  • Comprehensive Plan Urban Center / Village Residential Growth Report includes our progress toward targets for Seattle and for individual urban centers and villages for the current planning period based on residential building construction permits for new or demolished units.

Key Data Sources

U.S. Census Bureau Data

Two major Census Bureau programs that provide data on housing at a community and neighborhood level are:

  • The decennial census is done every 10 years to provide counts and basic information about population, households, and housing units. Housing characteristics covered in the census include occupancy and vacancy rates and tenure (owner or renter) for occupied units.
  • The American Community Survey is a continuous survey that produces estimates on a broad set of population, social, economic, and housing characteristics. Housing topics on the American Community Survey (ACS) extend beyond those on the decennial census and include type of structure (single-family or multifamily), home value, monthly housing costs, and more.

    The ACS has replaced the long form that used to be part of the decennial Census. Because the ACS is a sample survey, ACS estimates carry margins of error.

The Washington state Office of Financial Management
The Office of Financial Management's Forecasting Division compiles housing data as part of its financial and growth management functions.

The Puget Sound Regional Council
Puget Sound Regional Council provides population and housing estimates and forecasts at a range of geographic scales as part of the work to support planning in the region.

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