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Seattle's Microhousing Rules Aren't Making Anyone Happy

A year after new microhousing rules took affect, Seattle developers are still building SEDUs but they're charging more for them.

In October 2014, the Seattle City Council approved new microhousing size and location restrictions to make sure all developments were being built to a certain code and taking kitchen & bathroom requirements into consideation. The goal on the side of opponents was to end microhousing development by making it too expensive. The hope for microhousing defenders was that the affordable alternative to Seattle's rising home prices & rental rates would still be there.

A year after those rules went into place, it turns out that neither side is happy with the results.

The Urbanist dug into the data to see what kind of effect the rule changes had on microhousing development. What they found was that permit applications for small efficiency dwelling unit development only dipped slightly (1,285 units in 2013 to 1,025 units in 2015). However, applications to live in congregate residences, "the densest and most affordable form of microhousing, did drop due to the restrictions placed on where the buildings could be constructed

It's too soon to make a strong case about rent rises but based on the data that is avaiable, they were able to find that, because of the new requirements, the cheapest units were as much as $300 more than the cheapest units before regulations.

According to one developer, because of the restrictions, the focus has shifted from smaller affordable housing to larger, more expensive units. All of that helps to contribute to Seattle's ever-increasing affordable housing disparity. And for those who fought to limit microhousing, all they've done is make it harder for people to afford a place to live.
· A Year After New Microhousing Rules Went Into Effect, Neither Side Should Be Happy With The Outcome [TU]
· Seattle Approves New Microhousing Size & Location Restrictions [CS]