Mayor Ed Murray continued the conversation around his housing affordability and livability agenda (HALA) at a packed Seattle City Hall meeting in January. Amidst the shouting from opponents of the plan, a beacon of hope took the mic: single-mom, single-family homeowner, and Ballard neighborhood resident Sara Maxana.
Maxana shared a story about why she’s okay with her block being upzoned for multifamily housing under the HALA recommendations. While describing that her house has increased in value nearly 20 percent in just 15 months, she said:
“Its value has skyrocketed because we have a housing shortage in this city that is driving up the value of all existing homes. And while that’s benefiting me as a homeowner, it’s hurting others. It’s pushing up rents across the city and pricing people out of ownership. And I don’t see why one class of people, homeowners, should be getting a windfall from the same phenomenon that is causing other people in Seattle to struggle.”
Maxana’s message is a strong one that Seattle residents should hear: home values are rising, not due to sweat equity but rather to the housing crisis and at a cost of other people struggling to find a place to live.