REALTORS® 26th Annual Housing Issues Briefing

Seattle King County REALTORS® has hosted its Housing Issues Briefing for 26 years to educate public officials and candidates running for public office on REALTOR® legislative issues. More than 80 individuals from across King County and the state joined in on this special, complimentary event held as a webinar this year, and it touched on The Economic Road Ahead & State Housing Policy for a Sustained Recovery.

The webinar featured Windermere’s Chief Economist Matthew Gardner, followed by a panel of speakers who addressed housing supply, the Multifamily Tax Exemption, and landlord-tenant issues.

Press image to enlarge. Slide provided by Matthew Gardner, Chief Economist at Windermere Real Estate.

Gardner highlighted the increased use of multi-family units to offer more housing choices. While there continues to be opposition to increase density in Seattle, there are massive opportunities for housing solutions through changes in zoning.

Gardner superimposed the footprint of the City of Paris, with a population of 2.3 million, onto North Seattle above the ship canal to illustrate the comparative densities. The entire population of the City of Seattle is near 709,000.

Press image to enlarge. Slide provided by Matthew Gardner, Chief Economist at Windermere Real Estate.

“To anyone who thinks that we shouldn’t look at zoning and enhance or embrace density because there are too many people here already, I would argue that’s not the fact,” said Gardner. “So how do we fit 2.3 million in the area around the space needle? Remarkable mass transit [such as the Paris Metro System] allows people to move around easily and allows you to embrace denser neighborhoods while still getting into business cores.”

Gardner sees a further emerging trend of transit-oriented development to complement the multifamily developments. According to Gardner, we will continue to see interest in, and development of, mass transit stops proximate to multifamily developments.

Representative Joe Fitzgibbon (34th district), the  prime sponsor of REALTOR®-supported HB 1923 and HB 2343, discussed a menu of housing options that cities can take to help alleviate our housing crisis. HB 2343, which passed last session, expands the menu of housing options available to all cities and extends the timeline for cities to receive grants for accepting actions to increase housing.

Representative Amy Walen (48th district), a REALTOR champion and strong supporter of the Multifamily Tax Exemption (MFTE), discussed the need and importance of the MFTE. The MFTE helps preserve affordable housing units and provides an incentive for developers to build affordable housing units.

Michele Rozinek, Property Manager for John L. Scott Real Estate, explained that small, mom and pop landlords owning 1-5 housing units are being severely impacted by recent tenant protection actions. Especially for owners of 1-5 rental housing units, when tenants are excused from paying rent, landlords are unable to pay their mortgages. This can force some landlords into selling their properties or worse yet, foreclosure.

Thank you to everyone who joined in on our 26th Annual Housing Issues Briefing!

You can watch the full recording of the 26th Annual Housing Issues Briefing at the link below: 

View Housing Issues Briefing recording