Unlocking inventory to help consumers

Home ownership builds stronger communities.” 

“It’s not only about money; it’s also about accountability and effectiveness. We need measurable results.”
– King County Assessor John Wilson

That was the message from King County Assessor John Wilson to REALTORS® recently when addressing the need to “move forward” with providing more housing options in our region.

Wilson’s presentation came a week after REALTORS® from across the state – including 90 from Seattle King County REALTORS® – participated in an Olympia rally to address the housing shortage issue. REALTORS® met with legislators to discuss steps to increase housing supply and affordability through the new legislation (HB 2343) and also push for an extension of the Multi-Family Tax Exemption program (HB2620).

Assessor Wilson noted that the region needs roughly 244,000 housing units by 2023 in order to keep up with the growth in our area.

“The housing emergency affects the businesses and universities in our communities due to the lack of supply,” said Wilson. “Homelessness also threatens our prosperity and we need to prevent the region from being unlivable.”

With more than 12,000 people living on the streets and in shelters, Wilson noted the following four critical actions the region must take in efforts to address the issue:

  • Increase housing of all kinds
  • Increase funding for those haunted by mental illness
  • Restore funding for public safety for streets
  • Put people to work

“It’s not only about money; it’s also about accountability and effectiveness,” said Wilson. “We need measurable results.”

Wilson added that it’s going to require a private and public partnership that emphasizes being smarter with density and where it fits. Wilson suggested that his vision of private-public partnership includes public officials, state agencies, and businesses working together, making use of existing buildings and revising single-family zoning.

The Statistics, local and national

The nation is roughly short of 350,000 houses each year. In January, Freddie Mac pointed out that there are many “prospective buyers who have the desire and willingness to own a home” but are denied by the housing shortage.

At a local level, the Seattle-King county area is facing a continuous decline in inventory and an acceleration in price growth. The region’s strong economy is projected to draw in about 125,000 people moving into the Seattle area.  This is based on an annual 3% job growth rate in the next 15 years, according to Sheley Bressler from Compass. Bressler also noted that numerous multiple offers on properties further indicate heightened demand.

Current market stats system-wide – from the NWMLS