In my mortgage business, I worked with many first time homebuyers in South King County. In fact, 42% of my business is working with first time homebuyers. That is much higher than the industry average.
It is because I believe that home ownership is one of the key factors that lifts many people out of the cycle of poverty. It provides stability so someone can start building a family and becoming part of the community.
For a long time, South King County has been a refuge from the skyrocketing home prices in Seattle and on the Eastside.
Unfortunately, South King County is seeing that pressure head this way. Some of my friends are seeing 20 to 30 percent appreciation in their home values in just the last six months!
I believe we can avoid the pitfalls of skyrocketing home prices that have plagued Seattle and the Eastside but we have to get in front of it.
Here are the steps we need to take:
1) Stop overrelying on property taxes for state income generation
The Supreme Court demanded that the State Legislature make our public schools a higher priority in the state budget. Our constitution demands it. So, what did the legislature do? It raised property taxes in many parts of the state including South King County. They had other options (for example, a carbon tax or a capital gains tax) that would have been less burdensome to home owners and to prospective new home buyers. Unfortunately, my opponent was part of this scheme to unnecessarily burden working and middle class home owners with more taxes.
2) Fight for more affordable housing
Too many of the affordable housing projects are centered in Seattle. Seattle has such a scarcity problem with affordable housing that it's legislatures fight hard for state money to get these projects started in Seattle. We need to fight back. We are losing out on millions of dollars of affordable housing projects because we are not being tenacious enough about getting our fair share.
3) Better planning and more transit.
We need to work with local municipalities to create hubs for mixed use and density throughout South King County. This rapidly increases supply and lowers overall housing costs in our region. At the same time, we need to fight harder to get our fair share of regional transit projects to ensure that as we increase density people have a way to get around that doesn't require being stuck in traffic.
4) Allow local municipalities more flexibility with their rental laws.
I haven't forgot the renters. We are a state that has a ban on local jurisdictions creating rent laws that could do a better job of protecting tenants, rooting out slumlords and eliminating potential tenant discrimination. I don't believe one size fits all. Local jurisdictions should be able to set their own tenant and rental standards.
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