Ross Reynolds speaks with Tim Burgess, president of the Seattle City Council, about one piece of legislation which could help preserve existing affordable housing in the city.

Stackhouse Apartments, South Lake Union
KUOW Photo/Ross Reynolds

Rents across Seattle have risen dramatically in the past 16 years, according to a KUOW analysis of housing data.

Since 1998, the average cost of a one-bedroom apartment has risen 38 percent, measured in 2014 dollars. That’s pushed the average cost to $1,412 per month. 

A new report from the National Low Income Housing Coalition finds that rent is not affordable for a growing number of Americans.

Linda Couch, senior vice president for policy at the coalition, joined Here & Now’s Jeremy Hobson to explain what people in a variety of places across the U.S. have to earn in order to pay for an affordable apartment.

Hawaii, not surprisingly, is the most expensive place to rent. In Atlanta, renters need to make almost $16 per hour to afford a two-bedroom.

Mack has lived on a houseboat in Seattle's Portage Bay since 1968.
KUOW Photo / Aubrey Gelpieryn

Around Mack's home, tulips are blooming and seagulls are flying. People kayak past his window.

Mack lives on a houseboat. Now 83, he has been floating on Seattle's Portage Bay since the Beatles released "Yellow Submarine."

The revamped entrance to The Parker Apartments on Queen Anne Hill.
Bellwether Housing

Money is a big problem for nonprofits trying to build affordable housing. It’s expensive to redevelop old buildings or build new ones.

There are tax credits and grants, and in Seattle there’s money from the city housing levy.

But one group is tapping a new source: private investors, who get a return on the money they put into affordable housing.

Vancouver Struggles With Affordable Housing

May 27, 2015

Kim Malcolm speaks with Vaughn Palmer, columnist for the Vancouver Sun, about affordable housing issues in Vancouver and one solution proposed by Mayor Gregor Robertson.

Rainier Vista townhomes near Martin Luther King Jr Way S.
Flickr Photo/Oran Viriyincy (CC-BY-NC-ND)

David Hyde speaks with Erica C. Barnett about the pros and cons of a new idea for Seattle: neighborhood conservation districts.

Robert Darden, left, and Anthony Fox moved to Seattle from Nashville. They say they are adamant about living within Seattle city limits, although escalating rents have made that increasingly tough.
KUOW Photo/Isolde Raftery

About half the renters in the Seattle region pay too much for their place.

Too much means they’re spending more than a third of their household income before taxes. SeaTac and Rainer Valley neighborhoods are particularly rough on renters, although this trend affects the entire city, regardless of median income. (Check your neighborhood in the interactive graphic below.)

Studhorse is the name of this Methow Valley home in Central Washington state. Here, compact living pavilions surround outdoor living spaces.
Courtesy Benjamin Benschneider/Olson Kundig Architects / Olson Kundig Architects

Marcie Sillman speaks with Tom Kundig, owner and principal of Olson Kundig Architects, about how the landscape and culture of the Northwest influenced his newest award-winning building, and how Northwest architecture reflects our changing culture.

Housing in the Yesler Terrace area.
KUOW Photo/Dominic Black

Ross Reynolds speaks with Rachel Garshick Kleit, affiliate professor of public affairs at the University of Washington, about the Seattle Housing Authority's stated commitment to one-for-one replacement of all affordable housing units lost to revitalization.

housing apartment
Flickr Photo/Andrew Smith (CC-BY-NC-ND)

Ross Reynolds talks to Stephen O'Connor, the director of the Runstad Center for Real Estate Studies at the University of Washington, about a new report that finds Washington state's housing market is doing well but affordability is still a problem in the Puget Sound area. 

File photo. apartment housing apt door
Flickr Photo/Matthew Piatt (CC-BY-NC-ND)

Jeannie Yandel speaks with Sahra Muhumed, who made it onto the wait list for King County Housing Authority's Section 8 Program. When the wait list opened earlier this year 22,5000 people applied for only 2,500 spots. Sahra made the cut but she'll have to wait for years before she gets assistance. 

William Shatner.
Flickr Photo/Brian Wilkins (CC-BY-NC-ND)

Why is William Shatner coming for our water? Does Seattle need rent control? Can a new policing plan tackle drug dealing downtown? Is tipping on the way out?

David Hyde sits in for Bill Radke to review the week’s news along with Crosscut’s Knute Berger, 'The C is For Crank' blogger Erica C. Barnett and former Washington state Attorney General Rob McKenna.

KUOW / John Ryan photo

Hundreds of people crowded into Seattle City Hall Thursday night to air their concerns about the city's rising cost of housing.

Many have wondered what Kshama Sawant's next fight will be, now that Seattle has a $15 minimum wage (to be phased in over several years). At City Hall on Thursday night, she'll make the case for legalizing rent control.
KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

Seattle’s rents are rising fast – San Francisco, San Jose and Denver are the only cities outpacing us, according to real estate research firm Reis.

Seattle City Council member Kshama Sawant says there's a way to stop that trend.

“Everywhere I go, and I’m sure I’m not alone in this, I hear people talking about the skyrocketing rent," Sawant said. "And when I ask them, 'What do you think we should do about it,' invariably they tell me: ‘We need some sort of rent control.’”