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Survey data suggests how the pandemic has changed attitudes toward housing in King County

More than half of King County survey participants say they will move in the next five years.

More than half of King County residents say they are likely to move in the next five years, according to results from a survey conducted by DHM Research and marketing agency Quinn Thomas.

The survey consisted of 501 adult residents of King County and was conducted Oct. 15 through Oct. 26, 2021. The margin of error for this survey is ±4.4%.

Results from the recent survey found that 55% of King County residents said they are likely to move in the next five years. Among those, 44% think it’s most likely that they will stay in the Seattle area compared to 36% who expect to move outside the area, and 21% who are unsure where they’ll end up.

Of the respondents who said they were likely to leave, 80% said the cost of housing would be a reason for them to leave, 57% said crime rates would be a reason for them to move, and 64% cited the local government response to homelessness as a reason.

Of those same respondents, 83% included outdoor recreation as a reason to stay, 78% included arts and entertainment as a reason to stay, and 74% included work opportunities as a reason to stay.

The top places for those who were unsatisfied with where they live and want to move to another area in the community include neighborhoods such as West Seattle at 9%, North Seattle at 6%, Bellevue at 6% and Downtown Seattle at 6%.

According to the survey results, over 50% of King County residents support increasing housing density. The survey also tried to gauge public support for some ideas for potential methods of achieving increased housing density.

Some of the ideas with the highest levels of support include allowing apartments and condominiums in Seattle neighborhoods that are currently zoned for single-family housing, which 55% of participants supported; allowing housing to be built on undeveloped land, which 64% of participants supported; and converting empty offices into apartments, which 77% of respondents supported this idea.

Some of the most opposed ideas include reducing parking requirements for new home construction, which 37% of participants opposed and only 47% supported; as well as allowing more houseboats on lakes, which 40% of participants opposed and only 37% supported.

The survey also intended to measure how factors that influence housing choice have changed over the course of the pandemic.

It found that some of the factors that have seen the largest changes towards being valued as “less important” included having a larger home with more rooms, with 47% of respondents saying they have found that to be less important; having a bigger yards, with 44% of respondents answering that way; and living in home that is farther apart from others, with 41% of participants saying this became less important to them during the pandemic.

Among the factors that have become more important to housing choice through the pandemic, a neighborhood with less crime, 72% of participants included this; a neighborhood with fewer homeless people, 65% responded this way; and being able to work from home, 61% included this factor as becoming more important to them during the pandemic.

According to the survey results, 24% of respondents said because of COVID, they pay their monthly rent or mortgage at least once, of those folks, 63% said they tried to access emergency rental assistance or mortgage forbearance programs, and of those, 38% said they received the help they needed from those programs.


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