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Petitioning Seattle City and King County Council and 9 others

Seattle & King County Council: Tax Foreign Real Estate Investors to Keep Homes Affordable

The median home price in Seattle has surged. First time home buyers, families, low income earners, and renters searching for a primary residence are quickly becoming priced out of the market. All cash offers, excessive escalation clauses, and waiving contingencies as a matter of course were rarely threats to home buyers a few years ago. They are now the norm.

The median household income in Seattle is no longer sufficient to support the purchase of a home. Homes within reach often times require significant investment prior to moving in. Would-be homes sit empty while foreign investors park money for financial gain. It’s leaving many disheartened and financially weary in a city they love.

Offshore investment is a major factor driving the increase in Seattle home prices. These investments artificially inflate the price of homes in Seattle to the detriment of its citizens.

It's time for a solution.

Ask Seattle City and King County Council to impose a meaningful offshore foreign real estate investment tax to normalize home prices and promote owner-occupied residency in King County. Such a tax could include:

  • A meaningful real estate investment tax that applies to non-U.S., non-resident buyers.
  • A meaningful "empty homes" tax on empty investment properties to keep rentals available and affordable.

We feel it is important to exempt those who are legally and permanently residing in our community from the purchase tax. 

Ask the council to use the funds collected to fund programs such as K-12 public education, parks, transportation, public safety, or affordable housing based on public feedback.

We have an opportunity to avoid the scourge that has troubled other markets and use foreign interest to promote our community in constructive ways. If we’re successful, we’ll see increased affordability for permanent residents and an end to speculative buying that only serves to hurt hard working citizens.

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Related Articles

2016/11/29 - Seattle becomes nation’s hottest housing market, driven by tech boom

2016/11/17 - “Gold Rush” of Chinese Buyers Enter Seattle Real Estate Market

2016/11/04 - KUOW Podcast: This week we can’t look away from the last days of the election - Discussion starts at 24:28 and continues through 32:47.

2016/11/04 - Not just mansions anymore: Record number of Seattle-area homes fetching $1 million -

2016/11/02 - Vancouver, B.C., home sales fall 39% as new rules chill market

2016/10/27 - Seattle bumps Boston as the most expensive U.S. housing market that’s not in California

2016/10/15 - Vancouver-like tax isn’t right way to slow our soaring house prices

2016/03/15 - Millennials, techies fleeing ‘insane’ housing market of Vancouver, B.C.

This petition was delivered to:
  • Seattle City and King County Council
  • Seattle City Council President
    Bruce Harrell
  • Seattle City Council Member
    Lisa Herbold
  • Seattle City Council Member
    Kshama Sawant
  • Seattle City Council Member
    Rob Johnson
  • Seattle City Council Member
    Debora Juarez
  • Seattle City Council Member
    Mike O'Brien
  • Seattle City Council Member
    Sally Bagshaw
  • King County Council Member
    Kathy Lambert
  • King County Council Member
    Joe McDermott

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