In East and North King County, most rental housing is unaffordable even for those in the middle income range for renters.
Households that pay a high percentage of their income for housing have little left for other necessities. The quest for affordable housing (costing less than 30% of income) can mean moving far from family, friends, work, school, and childcare arrangements. People who live in unaffordable housing may scrimp on food and forego necessary healthcare and medications.
Finding affordable rental housing depends on both household income and the supply of rental units at affordable prices. Based on actual rents paid in King County between 2009 and 2013 (including both market-rate and subsidized units) …
- The percentage of rentals affordable to households earning median renter income ($44,924 a year, with affordable monthly rent no more than $1,125) ranged from 12% in Sammamish to 71% in Enumclaw. Affordable rentals for households with median renter income include those affordable for households earning less than median renter income. By definition, half of all renter households in King County earn less than $44,924 a year.
- The percentage of rentals affordable to households earning ½ of median renter income ($22,462 a year, with affordable monthly rent no more than $550) ranged from 0% in Duvall to 13% in Enumclaw. About 1 in 4 renter households in King County were living on $22,462 or less in 2009-2013. For those making less than $22,462, affordable rents were lower than $550.
- For some cities with a high proportion of affordable rentals, the number of affordable rentals is low. Enumclaw’s 71% of rentals affordable to those with median renter income translates to only 1,142 rental units, while Bellevue’s 27% includes 6,058 affordable units.
- With few exceptions, South Region cities have the highest proportions of affordable units in King County, and South Region has the second highest number of affordable units. For both income groups, more than half of all affordable units are located in Seattle.
- See Notes and Sources for data table with numbers and percentages for all King County cities.