Washington’s Housing Attainability Crisis

How the Housing Shortage Impacts a Family’s Ability to Purchase a Home in Major Markets and Submarkets

Executive Summary

BIAW’s national counterpart, the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), produces an annual priced-out report for new homes. NAHB’s report focuses primarily on major markets and submarkets. Nationally home prices jumped 20 percent from 2021 to 2022.

In Washington state, the median price of a new home has increased 8.4 percent from $522,023 in 2021 to $565,613 in 2022. At that price, the BIAW calculates that households need $130,409 in income just to qualify for a mortgage. At a time when Washington’s median household income is $73,775, 76 percent of households are unable to afford new homes.

Every $1,000 increase in the cost of building a new home now prices more than 2,182 people out of the market in Washington.

NAHB reports homeownership is the primary driver of household wealth. Across all racial and ethnic demographics, people’s homes were their largest asset. Yet NAHB reports the homeownership rate in Washington is only 63 percent.

People across the state and nation agree housing affordability is a problem—79 percent of Americans and 85 percent of Washington residents—according to the NAHB poll.

This report details the effects of the state’s housing shortage on families’ ability to find new homes they can afford across the major metropolitan markets in Washington.



  1. Zhao, Na. “NAHB Priced-Out Estimates for 2022.” Special Study for Housing Economics: National Association of Home
    Builders, February 2022. https://www.nahb.org/-/media/05E9E223D0514B56B56F798CAA9EBB34.ashx