Housing costs have been on my mind lately. A Seattle P-I story today said Seattle house values at lowest since ’06 and the Seattle Times reports Home sales dive in King County, but prices don’t, showing that housing costs are still a stretch or completely out of reach for many people in our region.
I was pleased that on Monday the council adopted my expansion of the King County Credit Enhancement Program. We added $100 million in additional credit to create more workforce and low-income housing by leveraging King County’s credit rating to reduce financing costs for housing developments. In exchange for lower financing costs, developers or project owners agree to include affordable housing units in their project. This is the first major milestone of my Equity and Social Justice Initiative and I appreciate the council’s support.
Over the next five years, this will help develop or preserve about 500 to 800 affordable units in several different housing developments countywide. It helps, but I’m working with the county council and community housing partners to do more.
It may seem counter-intuitive with the grim economic news we read each day, but the low interest rates and high housing inventory actually make this a good time to buy a home for many people. Over the coming months, King County is going to be partnering with builders, realtors and others to educate people about the home buying process and its many benefits.
We want on-going efforts to make sure people at all income levels can afford to live in our beautiful region.