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REALTORS® Propose Lot-Splitting

April 17, 2024

This year, counties and cities throughout the state are required to update their comprehensive plans. For housing issues, comprehensive plans set the policies upon which zoning and development regulations are established. Seattle King County REALTORS® (SKCR) is advocating strongly for policies that increase housing supply and housing affordability, especially for middle income buyers.

To advance middle housing ownership opportunities in King County, SKCR is proposing comprehensive plan amendments that include lot-splitting in targeted jurisdictions. The amendment would allow for the development of detached single-family residences and middle housing types through the splitting of a single residential lot into two residential lots. The underlying zoning would remain the same, the ability to split a lot would offer an ownership alternative to a condominium declaration for ADUs and DADUs.

Allowing an existing residential lot to be split into two lots can offer many advantages to both the existing homeowner and to prospective homebuyers. Lot-splitting can provide current owners the opportunity to maintain homeownership in changing life circumstances, while also providing new homebuyers with a more affordable ownership opportunity. Additionally, lot-splitting will provide additional opportunities for sales to affordable housing providers or homeownership facilitators that may be exempt from state real estate excise tax under chapter 82.45 RCW.
According to Sightline Institute, additional benefits of lot-splitting include:

  • Creates more less expensive homes.
  • Increases homeownership opportunities at lower price points.
  • Provides options for homeowners to build intergenerational wealth.
  • Increased family-friendly housing options.
  • Creates more affordable access to neighborhoods with good schools, parks, and amenities.
  • Enables infill home building that’s locally controlled, incremental, and low impact.
  • Gives cash-poor, house-rich owners a way to stay in their homes and communities.
  • Creates options for multigenerational households to live next door to each other.
  • Reduces homeowner displacement.
  • Enables fee-simple ownership and standard mortgage financing (unlike condo-ized ADUs).
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