BIAW calls for real action to clear barriers to home building
December 14, 2022
OLYMPIA…Gov. Jay Inslee has released his 2023–25 budget proposals with investments in housing and homelessness as two of his top three priorities.
The Governor’s housing proposal relies on a referendum to fund $4 billion in housing construction over the next six years. If approved by legislators and voters, the referendum would allow Washington to issue bonds outside its state debt limit.
“It’s encouraging that the governor recognizes the state is woefully behind in building new homes, but what he offers is not a solution to the problem,” said BIAW Executive Vice President Greg Lane. “Just spending taxpayer money without addressing the systemic policy failures that have driven up the cost of housing the past two decades is senseless. To really make housing more affordable, we need fundamental changes to our state and local planning, land use, permitting and regulatory processes.”
“Home builders in Washington are ready to be part of the solution,” Lane said. “They need leadership from the Governor and the Legislature this session to clear the barriers preventing them from building homes Washington families can afford.”
Lack of supply driving home prices
At this point, only 15 percent of Washington households at the state’s median income level of $77,006 can afford the state’s median-priced home at $643,400.
According to the Governor’s budget proposal on housing and homelessness, Washington needs 1 million additional homes by 2044, which equates to 45,900 new homes each year.
The Governor reports that the “state’s overall housing construction deficit falls somewhere between 80,000-140,000 units, making Washington fifth in the nation for under-production of housing.”
“At the same time, Washington faces a Growth Management Act that limits the amount and location of new construction and an average permit delay of 6.5 months that adds $31,375 in holding costs to the price of every new home,” Lane said.
Real action to clear barriers
BIAW appreciates the Governor’s attention to planning and permitting, Lane said. The association will specifically be asking the Legislature and the Governor to also support:
- Permit timeline reform;
- State environmental policy act (SEPA) threshold exemptions;
- State Building Code Council reform; and
- Impact fee deferral program reform.
“It will take more than spending taxpayer money to solve the state’s long-term housing shortage,” Lane said. “These policy reforms are what’s really necessary to reduce the costs of housing. They will also reduce the costs of building the government-subsidized housing the governor proposes. We look forward to being part of the solution.”
The Building Industry Association of Washington is the voice of the housing industry as the state’s largest trade association with nearly 8,000 member companies. The association is dedicated to ensuring and enhancing the vitality of the building industry so more Washington families can enjoy the American Dream of owning a home. Learn more at: www.biaw.com