"Stick framing" is much cheaper than high rise construction, which is built from more expensive materials like concrete and steel.
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"Stick framing" is much cheaper than high rise construction, which is built from more expensive materials like concrete and steel.
Credit: KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

Seattle gifts land for affordable housing

Housing prices in Seattle have made it nearly impossible for people like nurses and first responders to buy property, according to Kathleen Hosfeld of Homestead Land Community Trust.

That may be starting to change.

The city says it is giving two housing agencies land it no longer needs in order to build homes. These properties are former Seattle City Light land in Loyal Heights and Phinney Ridge.

The homes will be available to households that earn less than 80 percent of the area's median income.

Hosfeld said there's more land out there, too.

"If we got drones and flew around some of these neighborhoods, you'd be surprised at how much underutilized land there is," she said.

Homestead will build 19 condos in Phinney. Habitat for Humanity will build eight townhomes in Loyal Heights.

It doesn't sound like much, but Hosfeld said planners are scouring King County, looking for more unused land that could be turned into housing.

And she said private landowners have contacted Homestead to ask whether they can add affordable housing to their development plans.