Housing Choices

What's Happening Now

Housing Choices is an initiative to create more market-rate housing options, in more places, for more people. Our Housing Choices Background Report provides information about the private housing market in order to start a conversation about this topic. We are now reaching out to hear your perspectives about housing choices, better understand the issues and opportunities, and explore potential responses. Your input, along with additional data and analysis, will inform future recommendations for addressing key issues.

Our Housing Choices survey will help inform near-term actions as well as longer-term recommendations that we hope to present in early 2020. We have translated the survey into several languages - please share with your friends, family and community members:

Project Goals

Seattle aspires to be a welcoming city where people of all backgrounds feel they belong and have the opportunity to build a stable and fulfilling life. Our current housing affordability crisis represents a major challenge to this vision. Housing Choices seeks to help implement our vision of a welcoming city by supporting the development of private market housing that will help meet the full range of housing needs for current and future residents. In particular, we want to increase the range of available housing options by increasing the supply of:

  • Family-sized homes for sale
  • Condominiums and co-ops
  • Two- and three-bedroom rental homes
  • Housing with smaller units and shared common space
  • Accessible homes

The End Result

We anticipate releasing recommendations for improving housing choices in early 2020. These recommendations will come from analysis and public engagement that is currently underway.

Get Involved

The City is seeking feedback on the following questions through October 2019:

  • What type of housing options would you like to see more of?
  • What qualities should this housing have?
  • In what parts of the City would these options be most helpful?
  • What strategies or actions should we pursue to support the development of more housing options?

To generate input on these questions, the City has developed an online survey that takes about 10-15 minutes. Please consider taking the survey to help inform our efforts. Our survey also comes in several different languages:

We will also be hosting conversations with community groups, historically underrepresented communities, and industry professionals throughout 2019.

If you would like to submit questions and comments directly or if you are interested in hosting a conversation on this topic, please contact Brennon Staley at brennon.staley@seattle.gov.

Project Documents

  • Housing Choices Background Report (August 2019)
    This report represents the first step in the Housing Choices effort. It summarizes findings from initial analyses to help start a conversation about the private housing market and what we could or should do to help ensure that it better meets our community's needs. The report also summarized the specific role that Housing Choices will have in addressing the housing crisis and ideas that we have heard during past conversations on housing.
  • Housing Choices Overview (August 2019)
    The overview is a one-page summary of the project, including the anticipated timeline.

Background

The City of Seattle and its partners have a long history of working to address housing affordability. Overall, the City has been working in many areas to address this issue including:

  • Investing in people so they can find employment that allows them to afford the housing they want
  • Investing in communities at risk of displacement to build stability as housing and commercial space becomes increasingly expensive through programs such as the Equitable Development Initiative and the Anti-displacement Executive Order
  • Building more rent- and income-restricted housing to meet the needs of households that cannot afford market-rate housing through the Housing Levy, Multifamily Tax Exemption, and Mandatory Housing Affordability (MHA)
  • Supporting the development of market-rate housing to address increasing demand and provide a broad range of housing options

Housing Choices furthers the City's work on housing by focusing on oppor­tunities to support the development of market-rate housing that serves a broader range of housing needs for current and future residents. While this effort is not sufficient to address all our housing challenges, it can play a unique role in addressing our housing crisis.

Housing Choices will also support the work of the Mayor's Affordable Middle-Income Housing Advisory Council, a group convened to suggest how we can increase housing opportunities for middle-income households by developing new investment tools, influencing investments in Federal Opportunity Zones, and reducing construction costs and regulatory barriers. Housing Choices will specifically support their work on cost and regulatory barriers in two ways:

  • Informing the Advisory Council's work through rigorous data analysis and community-generated ideas.
  • Advancing the Advisory Council's recommendations, along with additional input from the public, by develop­ing detailed proposals for implementation.

Together, these efforts help create a welcoming city where people of all backgrounds feel they belong and have the opportunity to build a stable and fulfilling life.