Seattle, Spokane residents support building more apartments, survey finds

Photo of Seattle and Spokane's skylines. (Roman Slavik; SounderBruce / CC BY-SA 4.0)

Most people living in Washington’s largest metro areas say they are worried about rising housing costs, and support more apartments being built near them, according to a survey from Zillow.

The survey was conducted in the Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue area and the Spokane-Spokane Valley area, the two largest metropolitan areas in Washington. More than 850 people were surveyed in both metros between Jan. and Feb. 2022.

Survey results showed Spokane and Seattle-area residents have similar opinions on the housing market – namely, that it is getting too tight and too expensive.

Zillow says 73% of Seattle-area residents said they ‘are worried about the cost of housing in their neighborhoods,’ along with 74% of Spokane-area residents.

Respondents in both areas generally support densifying areas with more housing units, including: 

  • Accessory dwelling units; 72% support in Seattle and 81% in Spokane
  • Duplexes, triplexes; 66% support in Seattle and 69% in Spokane
  • Apartment buildings; 53% support in Seattle and 50% in Spokane

On this particular issue, Zillow notes the opinions are strongly held. Of the 38% who do not approve of new apartment buildings in Seattle, 60% said they ‘strongly disagree’ with them; likewise, of the 53% who support them, 46% said they ‘strongly agree’ with building them.

In suburban areas, responses generally aligned with metropolitan areas, although residents were lukewarm on building apartment buildings or complexes, specifically – 45% support in Seattle, 43% in Spokane. Suburban respondents favored more modest densification measures like accessory dwelling units, duplexes and triplexes.

However, suburbanites showed they would support small- or medium-size apartments – 71% in Seattle, 70% in Spokane.

Half of respondents indicated these new homes would have a positive impact on existing home values, but a majority in both areas (62% Seattle, 54% Spokane) noted they would negatively impact parking and traffic. But, 60% of Seattleites and 61% of Spokanites agreed that more affordable housing in their community is more important than free parking for themselves.

You can dive into the findings on the Zillow website.

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