Seattle’s 13.1% increase in home prices has led the nation for 20 months in a row, just ahead of Las Vegas and San Francisco. One of the unfortunate results of record price increases in booming metropolitan areas is the lack of affordable “workforce” housing for individuals.  Seattle and our region provide vivid examples of the affordability gap playing out across the county—while wages for workers in Washington State in 2017 grew at their fastest rate since 2007 (5%), statewide increase in home prices more than doubled that amount.

There are significant short and long-term social costs when people cannot afford to rent (or purchase) housing in the communities where they work. A recent report from a Harvard housing research group succinctly addressed the consequences of an inadequate supply of affordable housing: Good-quality, safe, and affordable housing is fundamental to personal well-being and security. But for millions of US families and individuals, paying today’s high housing costs means sacrificing on food, healthcare, savings, and other essential expenses. Worse still, these cost-burdened households are increasingly concentrated in high-poverty neighborhoods, which further undermine their health, safety, and access to economic opportunity.

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