“Housing Affordability” vs. “Affordable Housing”
It’s not about “affordable housing,’·
It’s about housing people can afford to buy.
There’s a big difference.
What brought on the French ‘revolution?
Today in Kitsap County, 1 in 15 families are struggling with poverty due to extreme property regulation.
Kitsap County Commissioners have advised us of our critical housing shortage (Click here)
- There is a current shortfall of 9500 units to house 4524 families.
- The housing shortage grows to 34,650 units in 16 years.
- 515 housing units are currently being built in Kitsap County.
- 1,480 new housing units per year are needed to satisfy current growth.
- Without correction, the problem grows worse each year into the future.
Discretionary income allows freedom of choice and liberty. Home ownership is the bedrock of personal dignity. High taxes and excessive regulation destroy and undermine both freedom of choice and personal dignity. Housing is typically a family’s largest discretionary income cost. As we learned in “Economics 101”, supply and demand determine prices. Reducing the cost of housing allows discretionary income to be spent elsewhere, creating jobs and tax revenue.
Kitsap County’s median home price is now $408,590, 77% above HUD’s affordability standard of $236,710 for a median income family. We see State and Local regulations now adding well over 50% to home prices.
Home construction has been impeded by Washington State’s Growth Management Act‘s restrictive regulations over the past twenty five years, resulting in our current housing shortage. For every 100 family units formed. only 42 homes are being constructed. Considering 1/3 of our residents are renters, 11,000 new rental units must be constructed by 2036. This lack of housing supply is the cause of our home and rental prices being out of sight.
County and State leadership have failed to create solutions. There is no apparent plan to increase the rate of housing construction. There appear to be no numerical goals and no measures of progress.
City of Bremerton & Kitsap County Affordable Housing Recommendations report, ECONorthwest, Final Report, March, 2020 (the “ECONorthwest paper”) rightly states adverse impacts of housing regulation can be alleviated by eliminating housing options through zoning. In Kitsap County, zoning has for years prohibited affordable “Missing Middle Housing”: duplexes, triplexes, townhouses, courtyard apartments cottage clustersand accessory dwelling units.
Kitsap County’s rate of housing construction must be increased by at least a factor of five or housing will become even more unaffordable. For construction to accelerate, the marketplace must be allowed to function. Local government must become an incentivized partner in construction of market-rate affordable housing, not an adversary.
The Rucklehouse Report showed the lack of affordable housing is a common complaint in all 39 Washington State counties. Only by rapidly expanding the quantity of buildable lots and unburdening developers from restrictive and expensive regulation will housing prices be reduced to affordable levels.
Washington State home prices are currently 86% above Housing and Urban Development’s definition of affordability.
Kitsap Alliance is well aware of the impacts of Washington State’s Growth Management Act (GMA) and environmental activism on housing availability. We are also aware of County and city long-term foot-dragging in creation of new and affordable building sites and zealously imposing zoning impediments and limitations. The usual bureaucratic response is “The State made us do it.”
Read the Full Housing Affordability vs Affordable Housing report.