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How Seattle’s "Hot" Housing Market Impacts Built Green

By Talia Haller, Built Green™ Intern, University of Washington Student

It’s Hot in Seattle

No question about it: Seattle’s housing market is “hot” - and the media is paying lots of attention. A recent article in The Seattle Times questioned whether Seattle is becoming the next San Francisco, which is known for its multimillion-dollar homes and sky-high monthly rents. Seattleites can’t stop talking about the “out-of-control affordability crisis,” according to an article on The Stranger’s website.

Even national news agencies are cringing at Seattle’s housing market. In fact, Money Magazine selected Seattle as one of the “Hottest Housing Markets of 2016.” Seattle has seen its median home prices rise to the highest point ever at $594,600, according to Zillow in October 2016.

All Bad?

But this “hot” housing market isn’t all bad. For Built Green, it has had some positive aspects. The Seattle Department of Construction & Inspections has a program called Priority Green Expedited that shortens the time it takes for builders to get a new construction permit if they’re building green. To be eligible, the project must be enrolled with specific green building organizations, including Built Green, Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED), and Living Building Challenge. Plus, builders must achieve a basic set of Priority Green requirements for energy and water conservation, waste reduction, stormwater management, and indoor air quality.

In return, builders get priority in scheduling intake appointments, faster initial review of their plans, faster routing of their plans, and faster processing of their permit. All of this saves them time and money while delivering customer satisfaction and encouraging Seattle’s goal to make green building standard practice. It also helps Seattle meet its climate action goals to reduce building-related carbon emissions.

“The ‘hot housing market’ has helped to increase the total number of applicants who use Priority Green Expedited to get their permits faster,” said Jess Harris, the Priority Green Program Manager. “Over the last several years, SDCI has seen about 20% of the eligible project applications use Priority Green Expedited and a huge majority of those are choosing Built Green to reach their sustainability goals. This equates to about 200 projects a year reaching at least Built Green 4-Star.” In this hot housing market, green builders have even more of a leg up on the competition as they take advantage of these incentives.

Save time, save money, and help Seattle meet its climate action goals: register a project with Built Green today!


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