Snapshots

Barriers to homeownership in Seattle have risen significantly over the past six years

February 11, 2019
  • As of 2018 Q3, housing affordability in the Seattle metropolitan division was just 36 percent. This means that just 36 percent of homes sold in the Seattle metro would have been affordable to a family earning the local median income based on standard mortgage criteria.
  • Although the Housing Affordability Index (HOI) saw a slight uptick from Q2 to Q3, affordability in the Seattle metropolitan division has dwindled by 21 percent since the start of this cycle in 2009. Moreover affordability has seriously declined in the last six years after the HOI decreased from a cyclical peak of 71 percent in 2011 to the alarmingly low current figure of 36 percent.
  • Add to this, the median home price in the City of Seattle has soared. In the same six year period, median home prices in the City of Seattle have increased 83 percent even when adjusting for inflation.
  • The implication of decreasing single-family affordability, is that Seattle residents are forced to remain renters for longer. This is on top of shifting housing preferences among millennials, who are delaying marriage and having children at a later age. This coupled with decreased housing affordability is resulting in younger demographics renting for much longer than they have historically.

Source: JLL Research, National Association of Home Builders

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