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Forum Will Tackle Livability In Seattle Amid Booming Tech Industry Growth

Ashley Gross
Older apartment buildings like the one on the left in the Ballard neighborhood are at risk of getting torn down to make way for higher-end development.

Home prices in the Seattle metro area jumped almost 10 percent in December compared with a year earlier. A forum hosted by the real estate brokerage and tech company Redfin Wednesday evening will examine how the city can remain livable for people of all incomes in coming years. 

This is a major task the city is trying to address right now. How can you create enough affordable housing when Seattle is adding lots of high-tech workers who are competing for homes and driving up prices?

Redfin Chief Economist Nela Richardson said that’s one topic the forum will tackle, and another is the need to invest in better transit options.

"Not everyone can live five minutes from work, but we should have a place where people can live near enough to work or near enough to affordable transit that everyone can share in the economic opportunity that’s being built in this city," Richardson said. 

Richardson said the effort to change the city’s zoning to allow more density should help alleviate the city’s undersupply of homes for sale. There are 34 percent fewer homes on the market in Seattle right now compared with a year ago, according to Redfin data.

"There's this growing risk because of all the success that Seattle may fall victim to it and start looking a lot like the Bay Area," Richardson said. 

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray and Redfin Chief Executive Glenn Kelman will also speak at the event on the topic of  livability in Seattle. 

In July 2017, Ashley Gross became KNKX's youth and education reporter after years of covering the business and labor beat. She joined the station in May 2012 and previously worked five years at WBEZ in Chicago, where she reported on business and the economy. Her work telling the human side of the mortgage crisis garnered awards from the Illinois Associated Press and the Chicago Headline Club. She's also reported for the Alaska Public Radio Network in Anchorage and for Bloomberg News in San Francisco.
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