Economics/Class Relations

Will Up-Zoning Make Housing More Affordable?

Advance the class struggle: Abolish zoning. Is anti-zoning the perfect wedge issue for anarchists?

By J. Brian Charles


Seattle’s housing market has been red-hot for almost a decade. Across the Northwest’s largest metropolitan area, real estate is not only expensive, upward of a million dollars for homes in some of the nicest enclaves, but often sells in a matter of days.

A complex of forces — the growth of Amazon, the technological might of Microsoft, the jobs those companies bring and a dearth of available real estate — has made Seattle one of the costliest housing markets in the country. Only San Francisco and Las Vegas have outpaced Seattle in rising home prices in the last six years, according to the Case-Shiller Home Price Indices report. It’s not just home-buying that has been expensive, but also renting. The rental market may have cooled some in the last year, but that’s after years of increases that outpaced inflation. From 2015 to 2016 alone, Seattle saw an almost 10 percent jump in rental prices. The tight market is part of the reason for the city’s surging homeless population.


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