During the 2019 legislative session, affordable housing and housing supply issues became a primary issue of concern. Inward population migration, economic growth and shortage of new housing supply had led to rapidly rising house prices and rents over the past few years. Alignment of market conditions with growth targets and housing strategies through data resources emerged as a key issue. Many local governments sought data resources so that housing needs could be objectively identified in a consistent manner.

These issues are important because issues arising from growth management frameworks generally revolve around the assessment of housing markets. For example, if a goal is to promote affordable housing of all types and across income ranges, then how does a planner get reliable access to detailed price information by house type? How can a planner create long term plans without guidance on how the economics of supply and demand? How do planners know if they have met their planning goals without information on what is built, what is in the pipeline, and what is likely to be built? These are important aspects to consider in any comprehensive planning framework.

Before any of those questions can be addressed, data is required to develop robust planning frameworks to promote housing affordability across the housing spectrum. Without adequate data, it is not possible to assess whether affordable housing goals contained in plans have been met and to provide guidance for further action.

As a result of these discussions, the Washington Center for Real Estate Research (WCRER) in RCW 36.70A.610 was directed to provide data resources to jurisdictions so they can address these issues. This has led to the development of the Housing Market Data toolkit. This toolkit seeks to provide a one stop shop for data tools where planners and local government officials develop planning frameworks and assess the need and demand for affordable housing by type. This is a multi-year project that will grow and improve over time.

Please refer to the side bar to access data that has been compiled. Where possible, information in these sets will be updated as new information arrives. Users are encouraged to refer to the Read Me section of the spreadsheets to check when data has been reviewed by the WCRER. As directed in RCW 36.70A.610, new data sets covering aspects of the rental market, land availability, and construction activity over time.

View the October 15, 2020 report to the Legislature here. Consistent with RCW 36.70A.610, the WCRER collaborates with the Forecasting Division of the Washington State Office of Financial Management, and the Washington State Housing Finance Commission on the Housing Market Data Toolkit.

An interagency agreement between the WCRER and the Washington State Department of Commerce facilitates funding for this project. The WCRER is solely responsible for the contents of the Housing Market Data Toolkit. Information on planning for housing at the Department of Commerce can be found here.

James Young, Director, WCRER can be contacted at jyoung4@uw.edu

NOTE: In using the Housing Market Data Toolkit, the user agrees that the Washington Center for Real Estate Research (WCRER) and the University of Washington (UW) shall not be held liable for any activity resulting from the use of this data for any purpose. This includes lost profits or savings or any other consequential damages; The WCRER and UW does not guarantee the fitness for use of the data for a particular purpose; or the installation of the data, its use, or the results obtained.