With the Washington state Legislature scheduled to start its 2019 session on January 14 and Realtor Hill Day slated for January 24, Realtors and other real estate-related organizations will be coalescing around the housing crisis and strategies for improving supply and affordability.
Among legislative priorities are:
- Condominium liability reform, specifically, language that would 1) prohibit individual HOA officers/board members from being sued; 2) modify statutory “implied warranties” that condo buyers receive from builders; and 3) require purchasers who sue to establish a “performance” defect.
- GMA reform, including a requirement for cities to enact minimum densities in urban areas, thereby making more efficient use of available urban lands designated for jobs and housing.
- Housing Trust Fund legislation that may be proposed to allow use of a portion of the monies for building owner-occupied housing in addition to publicly-owned housing.
- Other budget and financial issues affecting tax collections; education funding subsequent to the 2017 “McCleary Fix;” expenses resulting from compliance with the “Culverts case” that required the state to improve fish passage on almost all culverts under state roadways; B&O and REET related proposals to increase those taxes; and a new capital gains tax (depending on the final number of Democrats in the State Senate).
To help focus attention on the housing crisis and its “real world impacts,” a coalition of nonprofit organizations, builders, Realtors and others joined forces to launch a multi-media campaign.
Using the theme “Unlock the Door,” the campaign invites members of the public and Realtor members to share stories on how the housing affordability crisis has affected them, and their family, friends, and clients.
The effort, now underway, is in response to the struggle families across the state and in all income groups are facing in their search for homeownership opportunities. Organizers cite research from the Rundstad Department of Real Estate at the University of Washington which indicates first-time buyers in King, Kittitas, Pierce and Snohomish counties face home prices that area nearly double what they can afford.
The campaign’s primary focus is on affordable home ownership opportunities, but it will also contain elements related to homelessness and low income housing.
Questions? Contact Jennifer Gilbert-Smith, volunteer member of Seattle King County REALTORS and Tacoma-Pierce County Association of REALTORS Government and Public Affairs Committees