Hill Day 2020: Struggle continues for more affordable housing options

More affordable housing options would help prevent displacements of hard-working individuals and families, as well as improve the overall quality of life for all.

Extension of the Multi-Family Tax Exemption (MFTE)

The MFTE program is central to urban redevelopment and housing supply efforts which focus on affordability. Many cities, including Seattle, have such a program in place. The program allows a time-limited property tax exemption for owners/developers of multi-family housing who set aside units for lower-income tenants.

Numerous housing advocates, including REALTORS®, support the extension of the MFTE program, because it has been successful in helping to create thousands of new units of privately-owned affordable housing throughout Washington state.

Two companion bills in the legislature, HB 2620 and SB 6411, would extend the authorization for the MFTE and provide additional flexibility so use of the program can be tailored to meet a variety of needs at a local level.

Representative Amy Walen of the 48th district met with REALTORS® at Hill Day to discuss housing solutions. As a sponsor of the MFTE bill, she described the benefits of the program this way:

Expanding the multi-family property tax exemption for new and rehabilitated housing is essential for preserving existing affordable housing,” said Rep. Amy Walen, D-Kirkland. “We must encourage the development of multi-family housing to create more housing choices for all of our neighbors.

REALTORS® support the legislation and believe in creating incentives for housing options in Puget Sound cities.

More low- and middle-income housing unit developments in urban centers will help increase affordability in communities that are continuing to grow. One of the major purposes here is to assure that there are enough residential opportunities, whether they be from new construction, or the rehabilitation of existing, vacant or underutilized buildings.

Thank you to all attendees for speaking up about housing issues and for making this year’s Hill Day visit a productive one.