Seattle mayor answers concerns from Q13 Facebook followers about high rents

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SEATTLE – It’s no secret living in Seattle is expensive and the high price tag has had a domino effect on many other cities across the region from Everett to Tacoma.

Seattle’s tech boom is bringing in a lot of new people and making a lot of money for the city while pricing people out who can’t afford it.

“Seattle grew where we wanted it to grow in certain urban areas, but we never planned for how we would grow affordably,” said Seattle Mayor Ed Murray.

At the Skye Belltown Apartments, a studio apartment will run you up to $3,016. On our Q13 Facebook Page, Cherry Keever wrote, “Rent is certainly out of control. When you work 60 to 70 hours per week (on salary) just to keep the job to pay your rent!!”

To qualify for low-income housing, a family of four can’t make more than $22,000 a year. The average tech worker makes about $135,000 a year. So what about everyone in between?

Krista York posted on Facebook, “Wow it’s like San Fran. No one can afford to live in their own home town.”

So Q13 News caught up with Seattle Mayor Ed Murray Wednesday night to ask him what he’s doing about it.

Nadia Romero question: “What do you tell those people, to wait? To just wait for this plan to work out? What’s your advice for them?

Mayor Murray: “Well those buildings are being built right now and they’re coming online today and obviously the demand is outweighing the supply.”

But there’s plenty of supply if you can afford thousands for rent. Some of our Facebook viewers blame Amazon, Microsoft, and Expedia for the mounting costs.

Time Bond wrote on Facebook, “Looks like everyone will be getting 100k a year jobs or moving out.”

Mayor Murray says the tech jobs are changing the face of Seattle for better and for worse.

“There were no jobs downtown and our schools were empty. So amazon and other companies are moving here so that’s a great problem to have. But it’s also made the city very unaffordable,” said Murray.

Kelly McNair questions the Mayor on Facebook by saying, “At what point does hyper growth reach an equilibrium with infrastructure and service deficits? Selling the area to corporate America on the backs of the working poor and middle class is benefiting who?”

The mayor says part of his affordable housing plan puts the burden on developers and not the people.

“To require developers to build affordable units when they build a building and they get an extra floor in those buildings in our urban villages or they have to pay into a pot of money where we build affordable housing,” said Murray.

Murray tells us he understands the anger and frustrations some people have about the housing market in Seattle, but he says his solutions to fix the problem are happening right now.  Click here to learn about the mayor’s plan.