New Guidance for Housing Planning

Guidance for Updating Your Housing Element (March 2021)
Watch the MRSC webinar
Download the webinar slides here

Guidance for Developing a Housing Action Plan (June 2020)
Watch the MRSC webinar
Download the webinar slides here

Guidance for Developing a Housing Needs Assessment (March 2020)  
Watch the MRSC webinar
Download the webinar slides here

New Housing Data

RCW 36.70A.610 directs the Washington Center for Real Estate Research to provide easy access to housing data for local
governments in Washington.  
The Housing Market Data Toolkit, published in October 2020, provides data for all cities over 10,000 population, and for all counties in the state.  This data can be used as a source of information during the preparation of housing needs assessments, developed as part of local comprehensive plans. As directed in RCW 36.70A.610, new data sets covering aspects of the rental market, land availability and construction activity will be added over time. 

A Peninsula Planners’ Forum on February 22, 2021 shared more information about the housing data and how to use it to understand your community’s housing market. The webinar recording can be accessed here, with information on the Housing Market Data Toolkit starting at 1:16:00 and information on how to use this and other data to determine your community’s housing needs starting at 2:27:10. The PowerPoint presentations for the webinar can be found on the Regional Planners’ Forum webpage, under the “Past Regional Planning Forums” heading.


HB 1923 Building Urban Residential Capacity Grants

This program is no longer accepting applications. An overview of the program with an amended list of activities is available here. Awards have been made to 66 cities for code changes, housing action plans and sub-area plans. Get the list here.

Resources for those currently under contract with HB 1923 grants or those looking to adopt a Housing Action Plan or pursue actions specified under RCW 36.70A.600 are available on our Housing EZView website.  See the tabs titled “Housing Action Plans” and “HB 1923 Code Changes.”

Housing Memo Available

The Department of Commerce has released its Housing Memo: Issues Affecting Housing Availability and Affordability to the public. The memo addresses barriers to housing production and affordability in Washington, and provides tools aimed at assisting local governments in improving housing affordability. The memo was requested by the 2017 Legislature’s E2SSB 5254 as part of an update to the Buildable Lands program, and is relevant to cities and counties statewide.

GMA Requirements for Planning for Housing

Cities and counties planning under the Growth Management Act (GMA) must include a housing element in their comprehensive plans. The GMA housing goal calls for promoting a variety of residential densities and housing types, encouraging the availability of affordable housing for all economic segments of the population, and preservation of existing housing stock. Countywide planning policies are to consider the need for affordable housing – identified as a regional issue. Counties and cities develop a housing element that meets the requirements of RCW 36.70A.070(2).

The GMA also set standards such that certain classes of housing and residents are to be treated equally. This includes housing for the disabled (RCW 36.70A.410), family daycare providers RCW (36.70A.450) and manufactured housing (RCW 35.21.684).


Growth Management Act Housing Goal – RCW 36.70A.020
Growth Management Act Housing Element – RCW 36.70A.070(2) and WAC 365-196-410
Affordable Housing Incentive Programs – RCW 36.70A.540

EZ View Web Site on Housing Affordability
Housing Element Guidebook 2018 Update

Multi-Unit Housing Tax Exemption (MFTE)