A vibrant, diverse and thriving neighborhood can have a healthy tree canopy and housing options for people of varying income levels. However, tree codes that are not balanced can have the unintended effect of subtracting from our limited supply of buildable land and placing upward pressure on home prices. Ultimately this puts homeownership out of reach for more households, especially in communities of opportunity.
Housing options create opportunity
Across our region, single-family homes, townhomes, duplexes, triplexes, and other multi-family homes provide people with homeownership opportunities in walkable neighborhoods. Well planned communities have access to transit, parks, local businesses and other community gathering spaces—but supply is limited, and for many people these homes are out of reach. Increasing our supply of all housing types will help improve access to homeownership opportunities and make our communities more equitable and vibrant places to live.
Homeownership builds generational wealth
Homeownership is an important tool for building intergenerational wealth. Many factors affect how that wealth accumulates, but generally, homeownership creates a path toward breaking the cycle of poverty perpetuated by years of discriminatory housing policies.
Currently, only 31 percent of Black households across Washington state are homeowners—a lower percentage than when the Fair Housing Act passed. The effects of discrimination and redlining have contributed to this disparity among Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) in our region for decades. Fixing this inequity won’t be simple or happen overnight, but increasing supply of all housing types is one way to start making homeownership more attainable for historically excluded communities.
Everyone deserves to live in a vibrant, walkable neighborhood with a sense of community and access to amenities. Since housing supply and affordability are among the many factors impacting equitable homeownership opportunities in our region, having more and varying housing types can help make that a reality.
Housing needs to be the priority
It’s crucial for local leaders to consider the many benefits of homeownership when debating legislation that impacts where housing can be built. Increasing housing supply is one way to ensure homeownership is within reach for everyone in our community today and for generations to come.