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Or u could move to seatac and take that train you all have such a hard on for. Why Cap Hill? Too many coloreds in seatac?
"What’s fueling rent increases most is development itself, said Jonathan Grant, the Tenant Union’s executive director."
What's fueling rent increases is demand for housing. Building expensive housing CANNOT create demand for expensive housing.
Every expensive housing unit that's built is absorbing demand from a high-income renter, who otherwise would be bidding up lower cost housing and outcompeting people with lower incomes. In other words, the construction of new expensive housing is actually preserving cheaper housing for lower income people.
Which is simply not an option for a lot of people who would never admit it.
This will take a few years, but developers will always overbuild until they run out of bank loans.
I'd make the same argument for retail and other business space. It is a blight to see a place go out of business because the landlord wanted to severely jack up the rent, only to see an empty shop where a cool bookstore or funky cafe used to be.
Good thing Washington State spent billions of dollars in the past two decades to build an advanced fast rail transit system that can take people quickly from all regions of the Puget Sound to centralized job locations like Redmond, Seattle and Everett. Now that there are no cars on the highways due to this advanced rail system, life is so much better and cheaper.
To say that this new supply is fueling rent increases is a profoundly stupid statement. Dom, if you want to help affordability in Seattle you need to not only advocate for smaller units but also call out idiots like Jonathan Grant when they make such nonsensical claims.
And the architect living in 196sf can go fuck herself. That is a stunt, not a replicable solution. A standard bathroom is 80sf alone.
I love the idea, but I can't imagine it works as well as the glowing articles about the process state.
Real estate is an industry where I think there needs to be serious public regulation pushback against pure libertarian capitalism -- bad landlord decisions can easily ruin neighborhoods in a way few other industries can. Landlords who can afford to let "luxury" real estate sit empty for long periods of time rather than bringing it down to true market rates are a huge part of why increased development can't keep average rents in check.
This is not a solvable problem in a free-reign capitalist marketplace. The additional expenses and amenities required in the construction of a luxury high-rise, better architecture, nicer materials, even a doorman, over the cost of building affordable apartments, are only a fraction of the cost of building anything in the city. So, if making that additional investment increases your projected return per square foot by far more than that, and the market exists to fill such a building, how can you stop an entrepreneur from doing that?
You need a municipal willingness to have something like a Housing Authority, that would construct projects of affordable apartments, with taxpayer funding, via eminent domain, that could hopefully be at least self-sustaining. Or something like the Mitchell-Lama co-ops in NYC. Trying to find inducements that would get entrepreneurs to forgo profits will probably cost the city more than just doing it themselves.
3726 S 180th St, Seatac, WA 98188
For Rent: $785/mo
Deposit & Fees: $0
Days on Zillow:13 days on Zillow
Multi Family:636 sq ft
Get a roommate and you're paying less than $400 a month. 15 minute walk from Seatac Light Rail.
Oh wait, no white hipsters and cool coffee shops, ergo, it's "unaffordable'.
Or if you want your own room, here's a two bedroom, less than $500/head, less than 20 minutes from Seatac train station by bus and foot:
19740 Military Rd SAPT A, Seatac, WA 98188
For Rent: $995/mo
Rent Zestimate®: $1,020/mo
Deposit & Fees: $700
Days on Zillow:2 days on Zillow
Multi Family:900 sq ft
Apartment, 104 units 3039 South 154th Street, Seatac WA 98188
One and two bedrooms from $740 - $1050
8 minute walk to Tukwila train station.
Apartment, 41 units 3469 South 152nd Street, Tukwila WA 98188
Startting at $595
7 minute walk to Tukwila train station.
I'm often bemused by how those new luxury developments *always* have empty units. Try walking around part of a neighborhood that still has old buildings, you'll see nothing but No Vacancy signs. Then take a turn by some of the new developments. Every last one of them has a Available to Lease sandwich board outside. I guess not maintaining 100 percent occupancy is working out for them somehow, but it still seems pretty crazy to me.
The landlord of the building (an old wealthy Seattle family, as I recall) kept rent low and turned down huge offers from developers seeking to tear it down and redevelop (see, for example, the new towering Four Seasons building next door).
@33 It doesn't have to be a closed system. People tend to change cities primarily based on employment. Decreasing the number of jobs in Seattle will drop demand, but decreasing the number of homes won't.
Ah, the old "false moral arguments" argument to make a weak argument argumentative.
The problem is that we stifled development for so long, that we no longer have an middle-aged stock of old luxury housing. It's all either obsolete, or brand new. We've had a nearly 40 year period of extremely restricted in-city housing growth, and the echo of that will be felt long-term, until the days when our recently-built luxury apartments feel dated and inconvenient.
Only then will the rent bubble begin to taper off.
More and more people want to live in the city. Problem is, only a few neighborhoods feel like a city. More than half of Seattle feels almost suburban.
Residential or commercial, vacant properties impose real costs on communities. Disincentivize keeping properties vacant by imposing escalating costs for mandatory inspections and hazard mitigation (weeds, vandalism, etc.). Hundreds of local governments across the country are doing this.
I think the incentivizing after the fact is just dumb, like infrastructure beautification projects where development has already occurred, and will continue to occur on its own, with or without throwing more public money at a neighborhood.
If the vote on the rest of the city paying $250 million dollars toward the "Waterfront for All" fails will the property that suddenly has a view of the water after the AWV comes down lie fallow?
no. That property will build up and price out at a feverish rate. (And does anybody actually think it's a Waterfront for All?)
Would the city be better off putting $250 million dollars toward improving neighborhoods that are little more than "streets with houses" be more attractive to developing the less expensive lands?
yes. But that's a choice, a zoning choice, a public investment choice.
Throwing more "amenity" money at the usual suspects is not going to encourage development of enough housing for Seattle to absorb all the people that will be coming here, into the city, over the coming decades.
Want more and lower priced apartments?
Invest modest amounts of money in infrastructure and transportation in less glamorous neighborhoods, allow/zone in more commercializations and higher building heights.
Want to make money, build in other neighborhoods on cheaper land, and make it up on volume.
@40, that's not true. Very few of the cheap rentals in this city were ever luxury. The cheap-rent house next door to me (five units) has been a cheap boarding house since 1909. The miles of crummy apartments in Ballard and Greenwood have always been cruddy apartments, whether they were built in the 50s, 60s, 70s, or 80s.
In fact, it's more common to go the other way -- run-of-the-mill old apartment buildings in Belltown or Capitol Hill being converted into expensive rentals or condominiums. The condominium movement from its beginning was about renovating old apartment houses into fancier owned digs.
FFS old man, do you ever even leave your house? Get out every once-in-a-while and open your eyes -- you might learn something.
All that means though is a redefinition of average. The effect on rent or purchase cost ends up being negligible. No real incentives exist to build below market rate except for size.
The population of Seattle dropped massively in the 1970s and picked up again in the 1990s. It's recent that we met our previous population. We're booming now. There's a massive unmet latency in housing from that bust period, and also a whole lot of lowered expectations of what housing should cost.
There's nothing now that's going to fix that now. When tech/bio hiring levels out again, when lower incomes have risen up, when a few stagnant buildings go bankrupt, and when expectations go up. Then things may stabilize. It was only four years ago my building was offering move-in incentives...
1. To some folks, the availability of expensive units is a signal that they can move to Seattle, when they otherwise couldn't. Presumably this isn't an inexhaustible number of people, but it could be a large one.
2. Expensive housing helps households with lower incomes if it "filters." Super-rich person moves into Unit A, freeing up Unit B for ordinary rich person, who frees up Unit C etc. But if extra households move into town and/or people rent units as city pied a terres or corporate apartments or whatever, the filtration chain stops.
If you can add cheap new units, the filtration chains can really reach down to poorer people. Some years back San Diego encouraged the construction of new residential hotels. One result was that the existing residential hotels, pretty much the bottom of the housing chain, lost tenants, and had to clean up their act.
3. There needs to be lots and lots of permanently affordable social housing (publicly or non-profit owned) built, a la Vancouver.
Take a look at the City Of Seattle's "Multi Family Tax Exempt Program" and you will find out that many of the new developments are taking advantage of this program. Under this program many new developments do not have to pay King County property tax for 12 years. In exchange for not having to pay property tax for 12 years there is a suppose to be "affordable apartments" for the lower wage earner. The problem is that the mathematical equation that was used to decide what is affordable for the lower wager earner does not fit into this equation. Anyone that is earning in the lower end of the pay scale still cannot afford to live in any new development.
So this means the new developments are not paying property tax and also NOT proving homes for the lower end wage earner! Mean while someone has to pick up the slack for King County and the State to receive the tax dollars that are needed and that burden is now being pushed on to the people who can least afford it.