housing | KUOW News and Information


Stackhouse Apartments, South Lake Union
KUOW Photo/Ross Reynolds

Ross Reynolds speaks with Richard Hagar, a local real estate investor and pundit, to get one view of what Mayor Ed Murray's new affordable housing proposals would mean for Seattle renters. 

Mayor Ed Murray speaks at an announcement of the city's proposals to build more affordable housing.
KUOW Photo/Deborah Wang

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray unveiled a package of proposals Monday aimed at dramatically increasing the supply of affordable housing in a city that would be taller and denser.

The goal is to build 20,000 more affordable housing units over the next decade. 

Apartment buildings in the University District, Seattle.
KUOW Photo/Kara McDermott

Ross Reynolds talks with Faith Li Pettis, co-chair of Seattle's Housing Affordability and Livability Committee, about new recommendations for solving the city's affordable housing crisis.

Apartment buildings in the University District, Seattle.
KUOW Photo/Kara McDermott

Bill Radke talks with KUOW reporter Deborah Wang about a plan to solve Seattle's housing problems. A task force appointed by Seattle mayor Ed Murray releases its recommendations on Monday.

home, house, housing: An aerial shot of the Greenwood neighborhood in Seattle, 1969.
Flickr Photo/Seattle Municipal Archives (CC-BY-NC-ND)

A draft city report pokes at Seattle’s single-family character. Also: Why don’t we rope off the dangerous Big Four Ice Caves in the Cascades? Would a Seattle gun tax infringe on your right to bear arms? And in a super-dry Seattle summer, should you be conserving water, or not?

Bill Radke debates the week’s news with Crosscut's Knute Berger, journalist Tonya Mosley and former state GOP chair Chris Vance.

Dear Seattle: It's Time To Desegregate

Jul 9, 2015

Ross Reynolds talks with Ron Sims, former King County executive and former deputy secretary for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, about new rules aimed to address persistent housing segregation in cities. Explore an interactive map of race based on the 2010 census. 

Apartments in downtown Seattle.
Flickr Photo/Dan Reed (CC BY NC 2.0)

David Hyde talks to University of Washington philosopher Michael Blake, who says Seattle's rent control debate is about more than economics. 

Robert Street with John L. Scott Foreclosures shows an auctioneer his money at the foreclosure auction that takes place outside the King County courthouse in downtown Seattle every Friday.
KUOW Photo/Carolyn Adolph

The Seattle-area housing market could use an injection of inventory. It’s on a tear right now, fueled by high demand and low supply, and hooked on low-interest rates.

And there is a potential supply of lower-priced homes in the region. Those are the 4,300 foreclosed homes from Everett to Tacoma that are now owned by banks, according to RealtyTrac.

Single-family homes such as this one in Greenwood could be rezoned to become a multi-family dwelling should draft proposals by Seattle's affordable housing task force come to fruition.
Courtesy of Hana Sevcikova

Ross Reynolds speaks with Erica C. Barnett about leaked draft recommendations from Seattle Mayor Ed Murray's Housing Affordability and Livability Committee. Some of the recommendations would require a dramatic rethinking of the way Seattleites see home.

Allison Dunmire, a stay-at-home mom in Kirkland, is having a tough time finding a house to buy -- even one they don't like all that much.
KUOW Photo/Carolyn Adolph

It’s tough to buy a house in Seattle at the moment.

The shortage of houses on the market has widened the gap between those who can plunk down far more than the asking price – often in cash – and those without such means.

Jennifer Nugent and her three kids are throwing a big, blue ball around in the small living room of their rental home.

The kids are happy, but Nugent isn't. She planned to raise them in a place with much more room to play.

And she was. That is, until she learned that home was uninhabitable.

Two years ago, she and her husband bought a country home in the small central Indiana town of Mooresville.

"It was blue and it had a lot of potential for us to add on," she says. "We really, really wanted that house."

Edith Macefield's Ballard home was surrounded by development .
flickr photo/Payton Chung (CC BY 2.0)

The story of Edith Macefield’s famous “UP!” House has taken another turn.

Paul Thomas, with Realty Brokers of Seattle, says the winners of an auction for the house this spring have backed out after it became apparent the building's age and condition would make it too expensive to fix. And that means the house will be donated and moved or demolished, and the land under it sold, Thomas said.

Bill Radke and Joni Balter prep for a live broadcast of Week In Review at the Northgate Community Center on Friday, June 26, 2015.
KUOW Photo/Kara McDermott

The city plans to make its neighborhoods denser AND keep them lovable. How? And: Is it wrong to expose a Seattle police ticket trap? How can our state government come unstuck? 

Bill Radke debates the week's news with former mayor Mike McGinn, former state GOP chair Chris Vance and Seattle Channel's Joni Balter.

Kathy Nyland, director of Seattle's Department of Neighborhoods.
Courtesy of Seattle.gov

Marcie Sillman talks to Kathy Nyland, the new director of the Seattle Department of Neighborhoods, about how she went from advocating for the Georgetown neighborhood to a job with the city. 

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.)

What Does A Northwest Building Look Like?

May 18, 2015
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.’” 

The Summit Inn on Seattle's Capitol Hill still hums with artists, even after losing many tenants in the wake of the building's sale last December. The remaining tenants expect to be kicked out this fall for renovations.
KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

On the top floor of the Summit Inn, a run-down building on Capitol Hill where artists live, Philomel Swango, 64, shows off bolts of colorful cloth and talks about the costumes she sews for a living.

"I just did a pirate wedding," she says. "I made the bride’s dress. I made it look like she mugged Marie Antoinette."