Washington State last in housing availability: new study warrants more action to create inventory

Washington State ranks dead last among 50 states in the ratio of housing units to number of existing households, according to an EcoNorthwest study published by the Washington State Department of Commerce. For every household, the study reports, Washington has roughly a single unit or less of housing. In King County this is 1.05 units of housing per single household, and in Snohomish 1.04. This contrasts with the U.S.’s average ratio of 1.14 units of housing per single household.

Consequently, housing has become less affordable. Households earning 100% AMI (area median income) can only afford a median home in 9 Washington counties, with King County and Snohomish County median home prices over $500,000.

By 2050, the Puget Sound Region is predicted to increase to 6 million people — an average of 55,000 people added per year who will need somewhere to live. Although it’s predicted that median home sales prices will slow due to unmatched wage growth, housing scarcity will remain a problem so long as demand outpaces supply.

That’s why Seattle King County REALTORS® is pushing for more housing inventory. The REALTOR® priority legislation includes incentives and new requirements for local governments to adjust policies to meet consumer demand. This includes H.B. 1157, which increases “missing middle” housing by amending the Growth Management Act (GMA), and S.B. 5024, which improves the financing process for faster condominium construction.

Help us address our state’s housing crisis by getting involved. Join us on January 20th for Legislative Days, when we advocate for solutions in our region’s housing crisis.

Schedule and Registration

View 2021 Legislative Session Report