Housing & Transportation >> Affordability >> Rental Supply & Demand

For King County renters making median renter income and below, demand for affordable rentals exceeds the supply.

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.

When market-rate and subsidized rentals are combined, the shortage of affordable rental units for low-income households is reduced, but not eliminated.  Rental households typically respond to this shortage by moving into housing that is not affordable.

  • For households earning half of renter median income ($22,500) in 2014, the demand for affordable units exceeded supply by more than 47,000 units.  
  • For households earning renter median income ($44,900), demand exceeded supply by about 4,000 units.
  • At the highest income levels, the supply of affordable rentals exceeds demand. 
  • Many rental units that would be affordable to low- or median-income renters are not available because they’re occupied by households that could afford to pay more – and by low-income households that are spending more than 30% of income on housing because they can’t find units they can afford.