It’s time for affordable homes in Washington State

Newly constructed or nice family homes in Washington state can cost anywhere from 600,000 to 1 million. How can it be addressed that this is just too expensive?

When looking for homes, apartments or townhouses to rent or buy in Washington state, especially near the coast, the prices are exorbitant. 

If you want a nice or newly built family home near the Bellevue, Issaquah or Kirkland area, it will be very hard to find anything below $600,000.

As we look at the beautiful cities of Bellevue and Seattle, they are convenient places to live due to their close proximity to companies such as Microsoft and various business buildings along with the locality of  restaurants and shopping centers. Because of this, many homes are built in the area. 

Comparing housing prices in Bellevue versus Tacoma, there is a noticeable gap. For instance, a three-bedroom house in Bellevue is over $1 million, while a three-bedroom home in Tacoma is over $500,000. 

I can understand why it’s more expensive, because of the amount of businesses and places built in Bellevue. But why must it be higher to the point that only wealthy people are able to purchase? 

There are programs varying from state to state that help assist payment for homes or rent especially if you’re in a certain profession — such as a healthcare worker, full time teacher or firefighter. Home prices in Washington state are very high, and for first-time homebuyers this is too much money for the average worker. 

In “Why is housing so expensive in the Puget sound?” from the Young Women’s Christian Association written in 2018, Eric Bronson shared this insight: “Today, King County has 68,600 units of housing affordable to families making under 50 percent of the area median income, but the number of families needing that affordable housing is 116,200. That latter number includes the families who are currently homeless.”

Then in Marc Stiles’ article, “Home prices up all over, but especially in ‘Zoom towns’ like Chelan,” on Puget Sound Business Journal from Dec. 2020, Stiles shares, “In the metro, prices rose about 17% in Pierce to $445,000, 16% in Kitsap to $329,000, 14% in Snohomish to $566,000 and 10.4% in King to $730,500.”

Housing affordability needs to expand. Every family deserves to live in a nice area in a family home with a good school district.

On the Census American Community Survey (ACS) 1-year survey, it showed that the median household income for Washington state was $78,687 in 2019. However, there are many families making lower than this, and with the ongoing pandemic, this adds more difficulty paying for numerous necessities. 

Prices are going up but incomes are not. Families, students, newlyweds and all people deserve to be able to buy their first home without having to worry about the price. More direct options and resources need to be accessible to Washingtonians. 

In addition to this, Seattle’s homeless population is on the rise. Especially with our harsh winters here, the homeless population deserves to have access to shelter. 

The Northlake Tiny Home Village project located in Seattle was disputed in 2020. As stated on March 19, 2020, the city of Seattle’s website posted that they have allowed Nickelsville residents from this Tiny House Village project to only stay until June 1. 

Projects such as these need to be normalized and ought to be implemented in more cities that have a high homeless population. By doing so, the homeless population will have more safety from risks such as diseases, COVID, harsh weather conditions and more. Knowing you have a safe place to go to with a roof over your head is something everyone should be able to experience. 

Due to the increasing cost of housing, there are human beings out in the streets of Seattle, and many other major cities without a home to go to in 30 degree, or below, weather. Lobbying, taking action and bringing awareness to individual stories and testimonies surrounding the hardships of being able to find homes in Washington state is a step to changing this reality.

Going to leg.wa.gov and searching bills related to housing, as well as sending your own letter to your senator as to why you think projects such as Tiny House Village or student aid to housing is important is a step to changing the issues our state faces with high priced homes and homelessness.