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SEATTLE-The 2002 Benchmark Report, which provides statistical data on the greater King County area, reveals that creating affordable housing continues to be one of the region’s toughest challenges.

The report, which was first published in 1983 and serves to provide population, economic and housing information about King County, has found that there is an adequate supply of rental housing for those above 40% of median income. But below that level, there are insufficient affordable units to meet the growing demand.

Rental vacancies also are up, which the report says indicates the supply of rental housing is easing and that rents are likely to stabilize. However, the vacancy rates remain below the normal market level, around 5%, which existed prior to 1996.

Despite the shortfall, the report states that housing growth did continue to focus on the urban areas. Roughly 94% of the new apartments and condo units that came on line last year were in King County’s cities.

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