Here’s the roundup of reading we’ve been doing:
Greater Greater Washington covers city policies in Washington DC that promote affordable houses for potential homeowners. The article gets into the weeds of what is possible in Washington D.C. but is worth a read to see how Seattle’s policies stack up again other cities and what is being discussed around the country. In fact, the author of the article has conducted a study of a programs similar to the one in Washington D.C., including the ARCH program in east King County. In Seattle the Homestead Community Land Trust utilizes one of the strategies the author mentions, preserving affordability but not really allowing wealth creation.
Washington Tenant’s Union has released their 2013 annual report. The report makes it clear that they are doing interesting and important work in the state.
King 5 local news reports on more micro-housing. The article quotes two residents. One is a new resident of the micro-housing who considers herself fortunate to live in the neighborhood (with implication she wouldn’t without the low cost micro-housing). The other is a quote from a neighbor who complains she can’t always park directly in front of her house. I’m left asking, is the privilege to park for free, on a public street, directly in front of your house a complaint that should make us reconsider housing that gives more people options for where they can live? Additionally, if the local critic is a homeowner does her house have a garage?
Sanjay Bhatt at The Seattle Times suggests rent increases may slow next year. He even goes so far as to suggest rents might decrease. The prediction comes from a study that shows an increase in rental units with a corresponding increase in rental vacancy rates. I generally find the research connecting rental supply, vacancy rates and prices fairly convincing. I wonder if this will change the ongoing comments that Seattle has the fastest growing rents in the country.
Owen is a solutions engineer for a software company. He has an amateur interest in urban policy, focusing on housing. His primary mode is a bicycle but isn't ashamed of riding down the hill and taking the bus back up. Feel free to tweet at him: @pickovven.