@3) Linking to new government studies on housing data = all heat. Yup, yup. I also think you're willfully ignoring the point of a crazed blog post on an arcane policy issue.
"If we had built out LINK instead of wasting $6 billion to dig a tube and stick a giant metal butt plug in it, people would be able to live in lower cost areas and glide in on a fast train."
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Much of the new construction involves tearing down older, cheaper housing units. There are just so many surface parking lots and 1 story commercial buildings out there that can be utilized for new construction.
@3) Linking to new government studies on housing data = all heat. Yup, yup. I also think you're willfully ignoring the point of a crazed blog post on an arcane policy issue.
What do think about getting much more creative with co-housing projects to create higher density spaces for single people and couples without children...or for artists...or for activists?
...what if we made property taxes progressive based on occupant density and income? ...and included quality of life in the equation?
(Note to self: yes, you commented. Now do something.)
As a Bay Area resident, I can only say: LOL. I'll take some $1.5K rent, please. At least you folks over there are smart enough to actually build something in response to population growth, unlike the idiots over here.
1. Make it hard for developers to build new housing
2. Prices go up due to supply not meeting demand
3. People complain that rents are going up
If you want lower rents you have to build more housing. This is really easy stuff. Height restrictions, restrictive zoning and parking requirements are responsible for most of the problem. Focusing on specific rents in downtown Seattle doesn't make sense because if all the upper middle class and rich people move there *other housing is freed up*.
It takes a bit of time out of my day and I get to live a lot nicer with fiber internet instead of Comcast.
In a decade or something maybe I'll make enough money to live in Seattle proper again. In the meantime living 20 minutes away is really not that big of a fucking deal.
I think that's what two of my friends pay for a craphole apartment in a huge, hideous apartment complex in Santa Clara. For all of those who aren't familiar with the area, that's like paying $1,500/month for an apartment in Federal Way.
The answer for NYC and San Francisco seems to be move to Brooklyn and Oakland, respectively.
Then this occurs:
Manhattan Rents Drop for Fifth Straight Month
The solution is simple. Density. You live in a city, don't whine about density. Cities are ABOUT density. Build smart high rises, but build them, live in them and your problem will be solved.
Or move, move, move....
If we had built out LINK instead of wasting $6 billion to dig a tube and stick a giant metal butt plug in it, people would be able to live in lower cost areas and glide in on a fast train.
This is what we were lead to believe would happen when we voted in light rail back in the 1990s.
If new construction rented for anything less than what it does today, it wouldn't get built because developers wouldn't get financing. Building costs are what they are, and if rents won't cover costs -- poof. Nothing.
The market is great at tearing down older affordable units, but it doesn't replace them. We leave that for government housing.
@19 Where do you get your free-range eggs for only $4? They're at least $7 at the farmer's market.
Wow. What witchcraft is this? For once I agree with you, Bailo!
Obviously, it doesn't reduce rent for those 12 renters. And that sucks, and it's a problem, and we should do something to help them. But preventing the development (and others like it) from occurring hurts a lot more people across the market.
Because it improves the ratio of renters to units across the market. You take those 48 people willing to pay 1800 out of the market for slightly less nice apartments, reducing the competition for them ,and so on. This isn't complicated. As my link below demonstrates, there's a strong correlation in Seattle between three things: new units built, vacancy rate increases, and stable or declining rents. When fewer units are coming on line, vacancy rate goes down and rates go up.
In a restrictive development environment where only a tiny fraction of demand is allowed to be met, of course the units that are built will target high end consumers. (If we only allowed a tiny fraction of cars to be made relative to demand, do you think anyone would bother to build a Ford Focus?). Than answer is to let all of demand be met, not just a fraction of it, but the more the better. The higher the vacancy rate is, the less landlords can get away with raising rents. The best way to move the vacancy rate is to improve the ratio of units to renters.
Just think about all of the new construction in the Pike/Pine. The Mercedes project, the BMW project, the never-ending project at 10th & Union, the project across the street from the Stranger (11th and Pine), the massive project stretching between 10th & 11th and Union, the project at 13th & Pine, the project at 15th and Pine, the 12th Ave Arts project. In total those projects represent probably close to 1,500 new units -- and not a single existing unit was destroyed to build them.
There are absolutely examples of 4:1 (or less) displacement (the Underarms and Pinevue spring to mind), but on balance there are dozens and dozens of people taken out of the rental market for every one person that loses their $800-900 apartment.
Oh, HELL NO.
Take a close look at the past couple months of that Paul Dorpat feature in the Times, Then and Now. Almost every week you see evidence of a once gracious city being swallowed by brutalist modernism. The 'now' pictures will be in color whereas the 'then' pictures are in b&w, but if you reverse that in your mind, the contrast makes it appear as if we had all collectively decided to embrace our inner Soviet.
Those 'neighborhood busybodies' are the ones who actually have to live with the squalor and hideous soul-destroying monoliths that a serious push for cheap housing would produce.
Your plea for 'good development' is exactly what those idealistic activists have been wanting to see. Neighborhood community councils are not a villain- they have all pretty much accepted GMA and the need to accomodate increased density. But exactly where and with what design restrictions makes the difference between a liveable city and a shithole.
Nobody is saying it's magic, but it happens. We actually have empirical records of this: After a supply increased from a minor building boom 1999-2003, rents were stable to down down slightly for several years. After demand dropped dramatically in 08-09, due to fewer people looking for their own place because of the shitty economy, rents dropped sharply. The periods that coincide with steep rent increases coincide with fewer markets added to our housing stock. The rental spike of the last couple years followed a period of little new housing (due to relatively few starts during the depth of the recession). By the end of 2013, we've got a healthy number of new units coming on line, and lo and behold, rents have stopped going up! (See link below)
I don't have much sympathy for the kind of argument kallipugos is making--essentially, "the needs and interests of poor people, renters and the environment are less important than my desire to be surrounded by buildings I think are pretty." But at least that position doesn't entail denying reality. Your comment is just false, directly refuted by observational data about the Seattle rental market over the last 15 years.
I would agree to that- you have your values ($$$), I have mine.
Because if you are a developer and you are identifying your interests as being the same as those of poor people, renters and the environment, I am calling you a liar.
Your interests may overlap, and when they do, fine, but save us the sanctimonious b.s. about serving the interests of the poor, the renters and the environment when you are as absorbed with self-interest as anyone.
Are you stoned?
I said it in another thread on here and I'll say it again: I lived in so-called "low income" housing (aka a 400sqft studio) mis-managed by Capitol Hill Housing for nine years. Before the Recession (aka Depression), our rent increased $10-$25 annually. In Dec. 2008 we received our first $50 increase. Again in spring 2009 -- while the Tully's next to my building and the restaurant on the corner closed -- they jacked the rent AGAIN. By Jan 2010 everyone in my building, including retirees on social security, two people in wheelchairs on permanent disability, saw their rent jump another $100. Everyone that could afford to get out of CHH started to. I left last year. When I bailed my studio apt had jumped from $425 to $795, nearly double. I'm sure it's over $800 now.
Why should anyone care about one "non-profit" rental group? Because they are, aside from SHA, the only "low-income" rental provider in all of Seattle. And last year they got the green light to manage the nightmare that Yesler Terrace will be when Paul Allen's Vulcan gets done bulldozing all the current affordable housing (a lot of it Section 8) and high-rise "luxury" CONDOS and apartments replace the old buildings.
I looked into a "low-income" unit in an ugly, new apartment building over near Minor and Yale Ave just north of Denny Way in early 2009. (This is the South Lake Union area that Allen and Vulcan are so proud of.) The conversation went like this: I asked if they had any designated "low-income" units and the manager said 'yes', that they were required to have 1 or 11% or whatever designated as "low-income". I said "Great, how much is the unit?" She said "$995 a month." I said "No, I mean how much are the "low-income" units?" and she said "That is the low income unit." I'm positive it's even more now.
"Low-income" as defined by the WA statutes is a joke. And someone else on Slog mentioned that there is no rent control.
No 38: "the phenomenon you identify in Miami is a product of a spike in speculative investment in condos, not high-end units being built. This happens in a very small fraction of rental markets (Miami and Vegas, mostly) during particularly fast-inflating bubbles."
Again, ARE YOU HIGH?
It wasn't a speculative bubble, it was predatory lending which has now put millions of people INTO crappy, over-priced rentals. It happened NATION WIDE, not just to Florida. Hello, ever heard of California, one of the most populous states? The Central Valley is STILL having massive foreclosures.
Most of the people I know who bought homes (or if in cities like Seattle, condos) in the 1990s did so because THEY COULDN'T AFFORD RENTAL RATES. It was cheaper to buy, if you magically had good credit. Thanks to predatory lending, a lot of people had good credit. Since the home loan scandal and the Recession started, most of the people I know who owned homes (or condos or co-op apartments) lost them when their loan rates skyrocketed.
Real estate developers are NOT your friend. They do not have your best interests at heart. They're not interested in setting aside a certain percentage of their new apartment, condo or housing developments so the "poor" (aka anyone who is not on a trust fund or making $150,000/yr) can move in. Their only interest is profit.
The foundation of this whole "free market", "greed is good" batshit economy is your investments must always see a higher return, no matter what. Why would any millionaire buy stock in or a certain percentage of a new housing development if he did NOT expect his annual dividends to increase over time???
Beyond Growth or Beyond Capitalism.
The Macroecology of Sustainability.
Energy, EROI and the Quality of Life.
If you don't think these higher level resource issues are relevant to Seattle's growth arguments, you're not paying attention. Or you're paid not to.
Seattlegrrl, 1) you're right in your characterization of the general causes of the bubble. The phenomenon of speculative empty-condo buying made the bubble worse in a few places, including Miami, but was not a phenomenon found here and elsewhere and it irrelevant to evaluating developments in Seattle. Regarding your rental experience I'm looking at data on rents across the city over time, and you're generalizing from the experience of rent increases in one apartment building. I trust it's obvious why my data gathering strategy produces more useful information than yours.
What the article does is confirm that increasing supply (almost all at the higher end) does little more than moderate increases ("rents will basically have to flatten out"), and does nothing to make housing more affordable for those not in the upper quantiles of income.
The Capitol Hill Housing building I lived in had about 50 units. 95% of those were studios (500sqft or smaller). If the average (and I'm being conservative) rent was $750/month per unit --
50x750.= $37,500/month gross
Yes, this is before they pay for their whopping office staff of five people. And, no, they don't pay their onsite mgrs, IF they even have one in every building, which they do not. I knew three onsite mgrs, they all had 2nd jobs. None of CHH's buildings have any sort of security/doorman, what-have-you and it was a SERIOUS problem. The cleaning/maintenance in the buildings is all done by either a) an asst mgr (again, if there is one) or b)private contractors who CHH was forever "forgetting" to pay.
$37,500 x 12 = $450,000/year
This is off ONE rental property!!! It's a 100+ year old building.
CHH lists on their site as having 44 properties. Yes, some would be only 10 units, others might be 80 units.
But even using my average of 50 units --
44 properties x $450,000 = $19,800,000. gross annually
And yet this outfit is listed as "non-profit"?
The alternative to the CHH building I lived in is what my friend S. lived in off Aloha in CapHill. A nice privately-owned fourplex. It was well maintained, the owners were nice. She paid $850 in 2008 for a two bdrm/1bath. Then it was 950. Then in 2010, it was $1150, then she moved.
Again, when the Yessler Terrace project is finished, Capitol Hill Housing will be managing thousands of rental units throughout metro Seattle.
There will be no competition, no "free market".
1. housing is in some respects a market; tens of thousands of providers. to some extent then, high rents call forth building producing more supply, etc., mitigating rent. not lowering! mitigating. iow the $1400 would be $2400 without the new 40 to 1 replacement buildings.
2. high rents aren't ridiculous -- you have them in every single ultra desirable urban location. rents are low in Asotin county, Detroit, outer Greenland, and other less desirable places. all the things you and I LOOOOVVVVE about seattle, make the rent high.
3. add in ultra high costs of building with policies like mandatory underground parking, and the host of fees and incentives and taxes and utility and whatnot. every time we turn around we add more housing cost. of course it's high.
4. requiring incentives to help a small band or number of renters or buyers is counterproductive as this just adds cost to the ones not directly benfitting. like most things we do to regulate housing, it adds cost.
5. the nonmarket aspect of housing via regulation is a sharp limit on supply of land via SFH zoning, and other zoning. Yes, this makes supply limited. Also limiting supply big time is another government policy which is to NOT BUILD OUT a vast multline nine lines or twelve lines subway or rail system like other cities have bringing you from renton or shoreline or Edmonds or burien or eastgage whatever to downtown in 20 or 40 minutes. fast enough to live 20 miles away yet come in for a show at night. yes we are building like 1.5 lines in the light rail program. or call it three lines whatever. it leaves out half of seattle city and most of the region, though. we need like 9 or twelve, going all around the lake, making huegeass loops for our region. we also lack real commuter rail from mt. Vernon and Tacoma.
6. you simply can't subsidize your way to affordability for masses of people. you end up with incentive programs building some low income housing but not enough.
people winning it are like lottery winners; hundreds of thousands other people don't benefit and have to live 1.2 hour drive time away.
7. rent control works for those who get it. they win a jackpot for life. in nyc I'd say 40% of the rent controlled apartments in the building I lived in were (a) owned by couples in their 60's with a house in Westchester they can the unit in manhattan for a pied a terre! or (b) they put their rich ass kids in it, or (c) it was a three bedroom occupied by an elderly lady only, whose two or three kids were gone 20 years ago, wasting space (d) about 10% were illegally sublet, as mine was, the tenant enjoying rent control actually lived in Jamaica and I paid market rent to her, about $1500 in fucking 1981, nice one bedroom at 92d and WEA, she paid $500 and she lived off the $1000 a month difference. wow, glad I could help provide for that Jamaican family in Ocho Rios. the landlorid eventually found out and hired a lawyer to evict my ass. (e) other rent controlled apartments in the building were chock full of people making more than median income, there's no income or needs test for it so it's a wasteful clumsy policy that ensures no availability of apartmentns to newcomers.
rather than artificial programs raising costs for all nonsubsidized renters and owners, we need (A) overall stimulus policies, education, trains, CCC, etc. for poor people and all people in general, and (B) a real train system. you don't have a "right" to live in SLU when it transforms from a low rent to a high rent place in thirty years. To be expected! you may as our policy could do, get help moving to a place in .....oh lake city or rainier beach....and if we had a train system that could take you to the job at mcdonald's downtown AND to your community college class in shoreline CC ANd to your girlfriend's place in burien then you get to live in a near world class city and enjoy its benefits. this is how great cities work. if you don't build it you make even more of a premium for location downtown in your region jacking up rents even more.
Easiest ways to make more "land" available:
1. deregulate to some extent, basement dwelling units in SF zones, garage units, etc. don't require parking. Just have a code. Don't require complex license process or permits. Let people put more people in the SF home garage and land they already have! this would (a) help employment as a thousand small contractors are hired to build out units, (b) provide far more affordable housing than all incentive programs and SHA combined.
2. Stop requiring parking in multifamily. it requires costly carbon loading concrete foundations. Do let developers build above ground parking garages so the owners and renters who want a car in the city park it in a garage a few blocks away. untie the parking space from the dwelling unit. the requirement of underground parking in all our small lots REALLY JACKS UP THE COST of building and limits actual building. we have all these 3000 SF and 5000 SF lots and they could have 10 or 20 units, but with the required parking, my god, you can only build out if you sell condos for $450K or $600K.
3. instead of building costly stadiums, let's see, we're paying for SIX of them (king dome, its replacement, new husky stadium, mariners stadium, we pay costs of Key, and the city is paying costs today to keep that mou going for Hansen) and each one of the tax streams or subsidy streams could have built an elevated rail line like sky train. imagine lines out to NW Seattle, from there to northgate; into W Seattle and across from there to Beacon hill, with lines going downtown, then to renton, to Bellevue around the lake, to bothell, and two lines not just one going north of Seattle both to Edmonds and shoreline and to east of the freeway, and two lines or three radiating down to kent from renton, to southcenter, to burien, and a hugeass commuter line to Tacoma. Instead of building this we waste money on several billion dollar road projects, stadia, and ineffective transit like the silly rapid ride with a large capitol cost, a silly sounder with like a billion dollar capital cost, you can't share frequent use commuter rail with freight, duh, and silly ineffective plans to spend $800 million! on a city streetcar system that's really no faster than the busses we already have but convince the transit loving crowd mcginn and now murray is "really doing something" for transit. That 800 million is another whole rail line spur. we're just not building a system folks and until we do the real estate we have downtown gets higher and higher andhigher same for cap hill, same even for ballard or anywhere you can get downtown without a hour long car drive or a 1.3 hour long car drive.
stop demonizing landlords and builders. start looking at what we CAN do and have chosen to do and not do that could increase supply and make this partially free, partially constrained "market" work better by putting more "land" (ie space in which to create units) into use for housing. WE are the ones limiting its supply, and there are many ways to radically bump up supply without destroying the SF character of SF zones. all those cottages or basement units or garage units on a SF zone add to its stability and character and whatnot every one of those houses used to have a 5 person or 4 person ozzie and harreit type family with kids but today they have a two person couple regularly sending donations to sierra club and voting for mcginn because he's for density! not realizing they dedensified their own land! the infill we could do would add housing for the 22 year old son in community college, that pal from Minneapolis who just moved here and needs a place to pay rent on for three months before moving out, the housesitter when you're gone, even the maid, yes, or the nanny, yes, or the proverbial mother in law. it helps rebuild extended natural and made families. the known tenant paying rent to a SF owner is our easiest cheapest way to add lots of units. half of those garages aren't even used for parking they just are loadedwith junk anyway. oh also don't require ovens, let people have tiny kitchenettes like on a sailboat.