“We don’t have a choice. Our housing crisis is not going to get any better.”

Can't you say the same thing about New York City for past century or more? What's the difference between a crisis and more demand than supply? I suggest better messaging.


let's say they did pass; do you really see many people jumping at the chance to put in a costly addition to their home, or convert an existing area into an adu, given the lengthy rent moratorium other landlords just went through?
and, even if people were willing to take on the cost and risk, how many units do you anticipate would be generated?
you say 24k people per year experience housing insecurity, you would need many, many property owners to become mean-ol' landlords to make an impact.


“Gentle density”

“Neighborhood residential”

Spin is in!

Residents want more than words. Assurance that more housing will alleviate homelessness, drive down housing prices, bring in families, be accessible to the underserved. But density driven by capitalism does none of those things. We need public housing.


I thought all landlords were bad.


30 years ago my starting salary was $20K -and 1 bedroom rent was $450/month (on Capitol Hill).
Now rents are at least 5x as much- which pegs similar starting salaries at over $100K. It’s gonna take more than a few converted garages to fix that!


@5, this article isn't talking about converted garages -- that's not what "missing middle" is. As far as your 30-years-ago salary/rent (can't we stop doing this? It doesn't mean shit.), King County's median income is now $119K/yr. That's not what the article is talking about either. Try to focus: we can't keep tying up 60% of Seattle's residential land in SF zoning. If missing-middle housing, anything from duplexes to courts, were legal, market-rate developers could add those when houses sell, and non-profits could buy land which is now being sold to market-rate developers.


Is there anything in WA State law the prevents Seattle from addressing the housing affordability problem right here? ADUs/DADUs/Duplexes in SF zones will never be more than a drop in the bucket. The city needs to focus on the ridiculously restrictive zoning in the LR an MR multifamily and mixed use zones. We need to figure out how to build a shitload of wood-frame midrise transit-adjacent apartment buildings, ASAP. High-rise construction is too expensive to ever supply mid-market housing. Stop looking to the state to solve Seattle's zoning problems. Look to the City Council. The problem is that it is really hard work, and does not make for great woker-than-thou daily media soundbites.


The Stranger…. All landlords are bad we should enact legislation that makes them all want to sell which usually means the building is torn down if they are a small time landlord. Also The Stranger… We need more landlords and can’t understand why the current ones would rather sell than deal with the new laws.


There is nothing like incrementalism, unless it is groups in opposition talking past each other. Then again there is that war on landlords (or for tenants) mated with the insistence that Seattle needs 20,000 more affordable rental units last week. Talk about an incentive!! I am sure the bankers won't realize the colossal risk, which is why there are virtually NO PERMITS for such construction.
Living in denial is the cirrent state of politics.
I'd suggest seeking solutions elsewhere, in another state if you need to. If not,prepare to sacrifice your privacy and learn to sleep with noise neighbors above, below, and on 2 sides.


It's not like, let's say, doubling density will halve existing property values either. People aren't going to rush to raze single family neighborhoods to put up duplexes-quads, those are 90% going to go into open spaces wherever they are.


@6: "...this article isn't talking about converted garages..."

The article mentions "legalizing backyard cottages." Many of these are indeed converted garages.

"As far as your 30-years-ago salary/rent (can't we stop doing this? It doesn't mean shit.), King County's median income is now $119K/yr."

The article begins by recounting housing costs from long ago.

"... we can't keep tying up 60% of Seattle's residential land in SF zoning."

Of all the possible methods for addressing the high cost of housing in Seattle, trying to change SF zoning is one of the most difficult ones -- if not the most difficult, period. SF homeowner demographics heavily skew older, whiter, and wealthier than the rest of the city, and as our Dear Divine Mrs. Catalina Vel-DuRay hath reminded us, this demographic votes more heavily than just about any other. Furthermore, much of SF-zoned land is not transit-adjacent, so even if you win (and you won't), the result would be more single-occupancy vehicle traffic to remote parts of Seattle. Yay.

@5: "30 years ago my starting salary was $20K -and 1 bedroom rent was $450/month (on Capitol Hill)."

Ah, yes, the good old days -- and $450/month was a tad high for Capitol Hill in 1992. Back then, Seattle had not yet fully recovered from the Boeing Slump (Seattle's population would not return to its 1960 level until the 2000 census!) and so housing stock was abundant. That Seattle disappeared forever in the population increase of 2015-2018, and no amount of legislation will ever restore it.

And, in keeping with Stranger policy, any article about housing must imply that homelessness is entirely economic: "Of course, you could always live on the street, in a tent, or in your car." As always, reality -- which is obviously visible in almost any encampment -- does not agree. In JustCARE's survey of homeless clients, 88% of respondents requested help with substance abuse, against just over one-quarter who requested help with employment. (Slide 11 at


"We need to figure out how to build a shitload of wood-frame midrise transit-adjacent apartment buildings, ASAP."

Wouldn't a widespread shift from SFH to MFH would have a severe impact on the $$$ counties collect in property taxes? Taxes that fund.... (fill in blank). I am no expert, just wondering.


Why not build a bunch of houses circa 1940. One bathroom, one outlet per room, no insulation, no earthquake proofing, single pane windows, etc. ....

First Matt wants to compare housing in 1940 to today, then do it at the same level.

Second, low interest rates are driving the uptick in housing prices, along with really, really poor urban planning by the half wits downtown.

Watch what happens when interest rates go up.... you'll see a drop in housing prices.

My advice keep the government out of the housing market and let the free market do the job.


In the past few years at least one single-family home on every block in my neighborhood has been sold, torn down, and replaced with townhomes and condos - none of it affordable, with the most recent being $750k for an 885sq/ft 1-bed/1.5 bath according to RedFin. Nothing currently on the market that would house a family beyond a couple with a single child.

Density does not equal affordability, trickle-down economics does not work, and no new law passed by the Legislature is ever going to change that. Developers are going to build whatever provides the greatest profit for their investment - period - and that means buidng for upwardly mobile singles/couples with mid-six-figure incomes.

Meanwhile, the government is never going to effectively compete with the private market in developing residential real estate; public housing (i.e. 'projects') on any meaningful scale is doomed to failure.

The only practical solution is to put cash in the pockets of the neediest familes to help them subsidize their rent. Not vouchers - cash. It's quick and easy to impliment, empowers those it's meant to help, and more cost-effective than the government becoming a real-estate developer and landlord.


@14 Ah, yes... the old "solve the problem with other people's money" approach.

Its called socialism and the only problem with it ........ is that eventually you run out of other people's money.


@manlytoes -- Capitalism
means (eventually) ONE
person owning EVERY-
Thing. will You be that
sole Proprietor?

good Luck!


@12: Since property taxes are based on property value (land plus building), it would be reasonable to assume that property taxes revenue will increase for any given piece of property that is redeveloped with a larger building. When the old tire shop is replaced with a mixed-use building with retail at the ground level and four or five stories of apartments above, the property value and the property taxes levied on that property will increase dramatically.


This article is just sour grapes that the activists' attempts to do an end run around city decisionmaking failed. If you want to upzone places, the cities have all the tools they need to do that. You were just trying to jam them with it, and you failed. Concince your Council to upzone and you can have the same result.


@16 Really.. Point to one example where everything is owned by one person. Go ahead. I'm waiting.


@6 - I doubt that land prices would ever fall to the point where non-profits could afford them. The benefit from allowing the "missing middle" housing is that the overall supply would increase considerably, which would take at least some of the upward pressure off rents.

@10- Actually it would make total economic sense for developers to buy older SF houses and raze them for townhomes, duplexes, triplexes. etc. They are desperate to find any land at all that they can build on. The fact is that in Seattle, there just isn't any open land of any kind unless you want to stat building in the parks.

Buying a SF house for, say, $800k and putting up a four-plex would likely still pencil out for them. While there would be some effect on what are now SF neighborhoods, you are correct that property values would not be cut in half. They would likely take some hit, but not nearly that much.


relax Toes
it may take one
of them Awhile but
with ZERO Controls
over a Finite Amount
of Monies ONE person
can Acquire it WILL come
down to one. the 'bottom' niney-
nine point 999% (us) will be Begging
for table-scraps or in Glorious Trillion-
aire's* generously WELL-armed Militia.

please tell me:
are you also
a Big Fan of

*say it with


@ 21 Oh, its just your musing on the matter.... I thought you were serious. I also see you think Monopoly (a board game) is real life... This may be the basic problem... you are imagining things that aren't' real.

In point of fact, in the entire history of mankind you can't point to one instance wherein one person owned everything.

Not even the Soviet Union (where the state owned all means of production) could they assert they owned everything.... and look how well that turned out.

USSR went bankrupt and now we have a dictator running the place.

No, I think we should stay away from your vision of the world... it simply doesn't work that way.


today's Technology
is Tomorrow's

oh -- it
HERE -- it
Never HAS
before! proves it

Putin's just
in The Wrong place

but Bezos
and Murdoch
et the Few aren't.

Please wait...

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