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What Happened to Housing Supply?

Posted on Feb 18, 2022 in:
  • Builders

Washington state and the Puget Sound region are experiencing a significant housing supply shortage. The latest numbers from the Northwest Multiple Listing Service show that we have less than a two-week supply of homes for sale in King and Snohomish counties. For perspective, many industry analysts consider a four-to-six-month supply as an indicator of a healthy market.

The Puget Sound Regional Council has said in their Housing Needs Assessment that our four-county Puget Sound region needs 800,000 new homes by 2050 to meet the future need. For King County alone, the Regional Affordability Task Force has reported a total of 244,000 net new homes are needed by 2040 to meet demand. At this point we are already starting several hundreds of thousands of homes behind.

Why does this matter?
Limited housing supply increases the costs of homes, which makes becoming a homeowner out of reach for more community members.

According to the Northwest Multiple Listing Service January data, the median price for single-family homes in King County rose 9.46%, from $740,000 a year ago to $810,000. In Snohomish County, the median price rose 22.06%, from $573,495 to $700,000.

What created this housing supply shortage?
There are several factors that contribute to the housing supply shortage in our region and hinders our industry’s ability to add more affordable housing choices. These factors include:

  • Inflation driving up the costs of building materials 

  • Limited land supply on which to build

  • Local development regulations not aligned with meeting the urgent need for more housing

  • Permit delays

  • Persistent labor shortages making is challenging to keep projects on schedule

  • Supply chain disruptions

Additionally, King County is experiencing a shortage of concrete due to a nearly three-month long strike across numerous local concrete companies. Most American home foundations are concrete, along with other integral outdoor features such as pathways, stairs, and sidewalks. The inability to get concrete to builders’ jobsites is inhibiting their ability to meet the demand for additional housing.

Where does MBAKS fit into this?
Driven by our mission, MBAKS is committed to ensuring all people can attain housing. One way we do this is through our advocacy work. Our government affairs team is dedicated to making sure our members have a voice in policy and regulatory debates that directly impact the housing industry. Only through our direct participation in this dialogue can we hope to create a better climate for housing.

MBAKS Mission:
The Master Builders Association strives to keep the Puget Sound region among the best places in the world to live.

We commit to ensure that all people can attain housing. We pledge to make positive impacts through our advocacy, community, and philanthropic outreach efforts. We will remain the regional leader in residential and green building advancements. Our duty is to make certain everyone has access to a healthy and productive place to call home.


Help us build a sound future.