Downtown Seattle Has a Gap in Family Housing

Downtown Seattle is envisioned to be a place for everyone. Following the current housing development trend though, one of the population groups and their families, may not show up in Downtown Seattle as residents for the most part. The reason is that very little larger family-size housing units have been built, which are apartments or condos with three or more bedrooms. Only 3% of Downtown Seattle’s housing has three or more bedrooms.

For developers, it is clear that the income stream per unit for large-size units will not match that of smaller-size housing units. It fact, the smallest units, micro-apartments, are commanding the highest income stream on a per square feet basis.

Currently, the popular thinking is that a lot of renters are belong to the young and creative class. They do not particularly care for larger-size family units. At certain point of their lives, some of them will have children.  And some of them may be able to afford to live in Downtown Seattle if housing options are available. Downtown is already rich in art, culture, and recreation attractions and amenities. It could be a choice place for families of children with the addition of family housing and quality schools.

I think that the market has a gap in family housing for families with two or more children. There is an opportunity for policy and regulatory work to help fill in this gap.

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