Seattle housing costs outweigh incomes

Real estate in Seattle was recently rated as one of the top 10 markets in the country, as recovery in the area has accelerated and housing prices are higher than much of the nation. As housing prices have continued to increase post-housing recession, a new report “Losing Ground: The Struggle of Moderate-Income Households to Afford the Rising Costs of Housing and Transportation” found that incomes are not rising in the same fashion.

Costs and incomes don’t align
According to the report, housing and transportation costs in Seattle rose 33 percent between 2000 and 2010, which proves why many people are interested in looking for properties that are within walking distance of public transportation.

During the same time that housing and transportation costs rose, family income only rose 28 percent. However, Seattle is better off than most of the country. In comparison, combined housing and transportation costs and household incomes rose 44 percent and 25 percent, respectively. The small gap in Seattle is partially due to transportation costs, which rose a mere 18 percent over the 10 year span.

"Increased demand for rental housing combined with insufficient new production has raised rents, while households with blemished credit and existing homeowners with underwater mortgages have been unable to take advantage of lower home prices," Jeffrey Lubell, executive director of the Center for Housing Policy, said in a news release. "Add in the higher transportation costs associated with higher gas prices, stagnant or slowly growing wages and the loss of income associated with layoffs and it's easy to see how Americans have lost ground."

New developments offer convenience
Experts that contributed to the study believe it is important for builders to follow the trends and develop new properties near transportation options. There are several new developments across the Emerald City that will be a one-stop-shop for residents by including office, residential and retail space.

For example, a new building that will double as a sky-high art sculpture is expected to be a new addition to Capitol Hill in the near future. The project is a residential building from Chris Pardo’s Elemental Architecture, and  is expected to undergo construction later this year near the light rail station at Broadway and John. This new building complex is currently in the design review phase, but the largest tower is expected to look similar to a "Rubix's Cube shaking its booty," according to Curbed. The project is being sponsored by Seattle LGBT Community Development.

This upcoming project will also include an LGBT community center, office spaces for neighborhood organizations and nonprofits, and street level retail space.