Writing on his land-use-oriented blog, tireless density advocate Roger Valdez strikes back at naysayers---he singles out Seattle Times reporter Eric Pryne---who see bad news in Seattle's recent apartment-building boom. Their logic: If supply exceeds demand, Seattle will be "overbuilt," and prices will drop, hurting developers' bottom line. (Never mind that it was developers who decided to "overbuild" the city in the first place). Their blind spot: If prices drop, that's a boon for affordability, welcome news to the 51 percent of Seattle residents who rent, rather than own, their homes.

Calling Pryne's developer-oriented perspective "strange," Valdez writes,
even more strange that the headline and subtitle of Pryne’s story–”Building boom for Seattle apartments may be overdone”–is the subtitle for it:
A year into the Seattle area’s biggest apartment-construction boom in decades, some analysts say it’s in danger of getting too big.

Now if the Seattle Times was a trade journal for apartment developers one could see the reason for taking this angle. “Watch out folks, prices for apartments may be coming down. Be careful what you build!”

But the subtitle could just have easily been:
A year into the Seattle area’s biggest apartment-construction boom in decades, recent data points to possible fall in apartment prices, making Seattle more affordable.

The reason I am hassling Pryne here is that too often his story’s mindset is the one that informs the anti-growth sentiment. “Why grant these people a rezone to build more apartments, we already have too many!”

"Overbuilding," Valdez argues, just means that living in dense, mixed-use neighborhoods---the kind of neighborhoods we, as a city, say we want---gets easier. If anything, he says, we need to ease zoning restrictions for even more density, so that more people, including people who have kids and people who don't make six-digit incomes, can live here.
Show Comments