Regional organizations agree – “missing middle” affecting affordability, homeownership

Source: Opticos Design, Inc., (via PSRC)

Townhomes, condos, duplexes and other multi-family options are crucial to the success of our real estate market. They represent the housing of choice for many moderate- to middle-income households and are often the important entry point for families to homeownership. Yet today, these housing types are often referred to as the “missing middle” because there are not enough of these affordable options available in our marketplace.

The Puget Sound Regional Council (PSRC) recently released their analysis of housing in King County. It found that there is a big gap in housing options between the detached, single-family homes common throughout Seattle neighborhoods and the mid- to high-rise apartment towers that have become increasingly prevalent over the last decade.

The analysis shows that lack of housing supply in the “missing middle” is preventing first-time buyers from entering the market and preventing older buyers from downsizing. Older buyers staying put further exacerbates the region’s supply problem.

The PSRC’s report found that over the last calendar year, the median price for townhome sales was $448,000, 31 percent lower than the median price of a single-family home at $650,000. Low- to mid-rise condos come in at $530,000, or 18 percent lower than single-family homes.

Despite demand for more variety of homeownership options, King County’s housing stock remains 81 percent detached single-family homes. Our market needs more affordable options to meet demand and return to balance.

This year, REALTORS® are continuing to work with legislators on one missing option in particular: condos. REALTORS® with clients looking to buy a condo know that they are hard to find and still too expensive for many buyers. If you’re ready to do something about it, join us at the Washington REALTORS® Legislative Hill Day in Olympia on January 24 to talk to your legislators and ask them to help.