Matt the Engineer
SWASHBUCKLING HERO 2012
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in the past hour Matt the Engineer commented on Why Does This House Cost $1,000,000?.
I like to go about things from the other side of history, to make sure we're doing things right. Pretend we already had dense zoning throughout Seattle. Would everyone here be advocating that we remove this dense zoning and only allow people that can afford 5,000sf of land to buy homes?
1:20 PM Matt the Engineer commented on Why Does This House Cost $1,000,000?.
@14 Oh, and Yes! to more schools, transit, etc. This is within our power to do, and will make our city better. Hell, we just opened light rail on Capitol Hill.
1:18 PM Matt the Engineer commented on Why Does This House Cost $1,000,000?.
@14 Street parking is already at capacity at Capitol Hill. No matter how many more housing units you add you won't see more cars unless you also add parking under the new buildings. I recommend against requiring that.

Re: rent control. Rent control has never added a roof over anyone's head. You're just pushing the cost and the displacement to whoever wasn't lucky enough to get rent control. The best way to make housing affordable is to make it abundant.
12:49 PM Matt the Engineer commented on Why Does This House Cost $1,000,000?.
@4 We can fit at least 10x the number of units in the city if we go with condos rather than SF homes. Home prices (and rents) are set by the marginal household - the household that would live here if only prices were a little bit cheaper. The more units you add the further down that demand curve you can drop, as marginal household after marginal household gets a place to live.

It just isn't true that the choice is between $1M houses and $500k condos. That's a snapshot of the market right now based on current zoning. Changing zoning changes everything.
12:27 PM Matt the Engineer commented on Why Does This House Cost $100,000,000?.
Haven't read the article yet, but that sure looks like too many zeros.
Apr 20 Matt the Engineer commented on Fremont Brewing Owner Sara Nelson Launches Bid for City Council On a Platform That Doesn't Stand For Anything.
Quick, she doesn't agree with the Stranger's list of goofy ideas to break Seattle. Run a hit piece!
Apr 19 Matt the Engineer commented on Row House Cafe Owner Erin Maher Wants to Set the Record Straight.
I think this could be a good solution here.
Apr 7 Matt the Engineer commented on The Poor In Seattle Are Taxed Like Hell.
@15 unfortunately a local income tax wouldn't work. We'd just drive businesses out across the city line, and drive sprawl. Income or wealth tax should really be at the state level.
Apr 6 Matt the Engineer commented on Guest Editorial: City Hall Wants 2 Percent Affordable Housing from Developers. That's Not Nearly Enough..
@20 After* the NIMBYs kept complaining about the city's zoning numbers, they separated out parks and community services from zoning areas and produced this chart. Here are the original numbers, which are pure number of acres (with right-of-ways subtracted out) for each zoning type (0.2% of our land area saved for high-rise residential, 11% for all multifamily. plus a bit from our mixed use zones).

* Complete speculation on my part. But I've heard many times how unfair it is that using "65% of Seattle's land is zoned single family" is. And they did have a point, but it was the best data we had. Now that it's separated out they can say that less than half of Seattle's land area is reserved for those rich enough to afford 5,000+ square feet of land. But that's still 49% compared to 8% for those that can't (roughly half of our population).
Apr 6 Matt the Engineer commented on Guest Editorial: City Hall Wants 2 Percent Affordable Housing from Developers. That's Not Nearly Enough..
@17 Every "luxury" home that's built keeps someone from being evicted from a non-luxury home. If you think someone with a new well paying job in Seattle will just not move here because nobody built them a new home, you're wrong. They'll just bid up your home.

The reason we're seeing higher-priced new homes is because of land prices, which comes from scarcity. That's the same scarcity that's making $1000/mo shitholes.

Let's find common ground. I'm a strong supporter of subsidized housing - let's build more of that. But can we at least agree that reserving our single family zones for only households that can afford 5,000sf, while we cram everyone that can't into 8% of our city is harmful to our renters?