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News Release: BIAW releases new Housing Affordability Index

June 12, 2023

To help policymakers better understand the effects of their decisions on the state’s housing crisis, BIAW created the Washington Housing Affordability Index.

The report builds on the annual National Association of Home Builders’ 2023 “Priced Out” report

The 2023 Priced Out report examined the cost of new homes and found only 27% of the 132.5 million households in the US could afford a new median-priced home at the national average.  Homes in Washington average $635,131—more than $200,000 higher than the national average of $425, 786. Roughly 81% of Washington is priced out of buying a new home.

When public policy decisions add even more costs, you can imagine the result. Even more households get priced out.

Housing Affordability Index provides a more holistic approach

BIAW’s newest report looks at the median cost of ALL homes in Washington, new and existing supply.

Even when you factor in existing housing stock, median-priced homes in Washington remain out of reach for 76% of the households in our state at $430,000.

The average household earns $64,079 and the income required to qualify for a loan is $119,714.

Statewide results vary

Affordability varies depending on your location with more households able to afford homes in Eastern Washington counties like Columbia, Ferry, Lincoln and Pend Oreille.

The least affordable counties include Island, San Juan, Kittitas, Kitsap, Jefferson, Skamania, Wahkiakum and Whatcom. In these areas, median incomes simply don’t keep pace with median home prices.

What can be done?

While BIAW and the housing industry enjoyed a fruitful legislative session with permit reform, SEPA modifications and support for greater density and middle housing, policy makers have plenty of work to do to help us meet housing goals.

Recommendations include:

  • Expanding down payment assistance to households over 80% of the state’s average median income.
  • Continued work to reform the state’s Growth Management Act.
  • Review the state’s Building Codes to limit them to health and safety.
  • Provide more certainty to builders at the state and local levels.

We’ll update this report regularly to provide people with the latest information. You can read more about the Washington Housing Affordability Index online.


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