Creating More Affordable Housing

Creating More Affordable Housing

To address the crisis of homelessness and affordability, we must build more affordable homes as quickly as possible. The City of Seattle is committed to making robust investments in affordable housing to ensure those experiencing homelessness have permanent, safe, stable places to live. In December of 2017 Mayor Durkan announced $100 million in City funds for new Affordable Housing. You can learn more about 2017 funding for affordable homes through the Office of Housing's 2017 Annual Investments Report.

The 2016 Seattle Housing Levy provides a steady source of about $30 million per year for new affordable multifamily rental housing production. As of April 2018, there were 12,416 rent and income restricted affordable homes in service financed through the Office of Housing. The Multifamily Tax Exemption (MFTE) program provides an additional 3,834 income and rent restrited affordable homes. You can view an inventory of all rent and income restricted housing in Seattle, including homes financed by the Office of Housing and other sources.

From 2018 to 2021, Seattle expects 2,500 new City-funded affordable rental housing units and over 1,900 new MFTE affordable units to come online.

Over the next four years the City of Seattle expects 2,500 new City-funded affordable rental homes and over 1,900 new MFTE affordable homes to come online.

Our strong investments in affordable housing can and must continue. This year, new investments in affordable homes are expected to total about $240 million when leveraged by other source.

Chart: In 2018, the City of Seattle is expecting another significant investment in new affordable housing production.

Over the next four years, the City of Seattle expects 2,500 new City-funded affordable rental homes and more than 1,900 new MFTE affordable homes to come online. 

Encouraging Smart Growth

The City of Seattle continues to invest in affordable housing units for residents making 0% - 60% of AMI, but another part of creating a region that is more affordable for all is encouraging density and looking for opportunities to boost our region's supply of housing. Recently, Mayor Jenny directed the City of Seattle Department of Construction and Inspections (SDCI) to generate pre-approved designs for Detached Accessory Dwelling units in order to fast-track getting more units online more quickly.  

Standardized, pre-approved plans will allow builders and residents to save time and money by streamlining the design process, reducing costs for architectural designs, and accelerating the permitting process led by SDCI. Lower barriers should incentivize more construction: Paired with efforts to remove regulatory barriers to backyard cottages, pre-approved designs could boost housing production in coming years.  

The typical cost for an architecture firm's original design of backyard cottages ranges from $10,000 to $30,000, and overall construction costs can reach $300,000. Fast-tracking these projects would reduce design costs and significantly reduce permitting fees. Permitting time could be shortened by at least 50%, allowing homeowners and builders to construct new housing more quickly.

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