Your Voice is Needed - Advocating for Housing in Your Community

Our voice is needed to help create more housing in our communities and throughout Washington State.

I don’t know about you, but I walked away from the 2023 Real Estate Success Summit charged up and ready to really ramp up my voice when it comes to creating more housing and especially affordable housing in my community and throughout Washington State!

Since housing starts began to decline after the Great Recession, and then plummeted, I have been warning everyone who would listen about the challenges our housing market would be facing if more homes could not be built. In fact, I predicted that the spring of 2021 would be the beginning of one of the most challenged housing markets anyone had ever seen. But little did I know that at the time of my prediction that COVID was around the corner about to make the situation worse.

As real estate professionals, we understand the mechanics at work, but there are many who don’t – including members of the media and government. It is up to us, folks, to explain why a drop in sales numbers doesn’t mean the market is crashing. It is up to us to explain why building a few apartment buildings in your town isn’t going to be enough to bring rental prices down if your area is experiencing growth like the rest of Washington State. And it is going to be up to us to help our local governments understand the rules, regulations, and processes that are holding builders back.

I have put together 8 facts from my State of the Market that sum up the issues we are facing that I hope you can put to use as talking points:


  1. The United States needs to build an average of 1.62 million housing units per year to keep up with population growth and to replace old structures.
  2. Since the Great Recession, our country has severely underbuilt and resulted in a national shortage of 4.16 million units as of the end of 2022.
  3. In Washington State, Governor Inslee shared in his State of the Union speech that we need to set out a goal of building one million units by 2040 to get back on track. That is only 17 years away.
  4. Builders are faced with a number of challenges including: rising permitting fees, rising stormwater fees, rising permitting timelines, more-stringent building and energy codes, labor shortages, product shortages, supply chain issues, a shortage of buildable land, and now, carrying fees due to interest rates.
  5. Some of the biggest barriers to building include government regulation, zoning, codes, and building permits. These must be eased up in a way that still has us focused on the future but allows us to correct course now and get people housed.
  6. One of the additional big challenges is NIMBY
  7. Building is a business and builders are being forced to choose to build product that is less risky. Therefore, most builders are focused on the higher-end market and to that end, we have a shortage of starter and affordable product.
  8. We need to focus on building in the right place, at the right price, and build the right product.


Our afternoon speakers provided perspectives on housing from their own positions. Thank you so much to our afternoon speakers, all of whom provided thoughtful information and had good solutions for how we can get involved!

All of them shared resources that will help you become a better-informed advocate and we have included those below for you.

greg lane

Building Industry Association of Washington
Executive Vice President

Greg Lane suggested talking with your legislators about the challenges your buyers and clients are having in the housing industry. Befriend builders and learn about the challenges they are facing. Be a partner and an advocate. Read up on the House and Senate bills and become informed and also learn about what is happening on the local level at your cities and counties.

Additional Resources:

BIAW reports & studies

BIAW Reports and Studies

BIAW agenda & facts

BIAW 2023 Legislative Agenda + Housing Facts

john wilson

King County Assessor

John Wilson shared great information on property tax exemption programs available in King County (see link above). If you live or work elsewhere, learn about the exemptions and get the word out to your clients. These exemptions can make a world of difference and keep those facing a large valuation change in their homes.

Additional Resources:

tax exemption

Tax Exemption Information

Dave Somers

Snohomish County Executive

In Dave’s interview with Denise, he addressed the massive growth that Snohomish County has experienced. South Snohomish County is working to accommodate transit and create urban villages around the transit corridor. Since Snohomish County is so affected by King County, making sure the cities and adjacent counties are working together is important. We have linked to the HART report he discussed. Again, city and county government officials need to hear from you!

Additional Resources:


Housing Affordability Regional Taskforce Report

denny heck

Washington State Lieutenant Governor

The Lieutenant Governor’s office has put together several reports that dive into the housing inventory issue and they are linked below. In addition, we have added his interview video below so you can watch it again, share it, and spread the word!

Additional Resources:

interview with Denise

Interview with Denise


Washington State’s Housing Affordability Crisis

housing gap

The Racial Wealth Gap Is the Housing Gap

And remember! Your local, state, and National Association of REALTORS® is also hard at work, advocating for homeownership. In Washington State, Washington REALTORS® is advocating for solutions for the affordable housing crisis through their Welcome Home campaign. Read more here.

The bottom line?



drew ebner

Drew Ebner, Senior Loan Officer, Guild Mortgage | NWMLS #114721
150 120th Ave NE, #300, Bellevue, WA 98005
M: 206.227.6015 | F: 425.296.7528
Company NWMLS #3274, Equal Housing Lender

drew ebner

Thank you so much to everyone who was instrumental to making the day a success with a special thank you to Drew Ebner of Guild Mortgage!

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By Denise Lones CSP, M.I.R.M., CDEI - The founding partner of The Lones Group, Denise Lones, brings nearly three decades of experience in the real estate industry. With agent/broker coaching, expertise in branding, lead generation, strategic marketing, business analysis, new home project planning, product development, Denise is nationally recognized as the source for all things real estate. With a passion for improvement, Denise has helped thousands of real estate agents, brokers, and managers build their business to unprecedented levels of success, while helping them maintain balance and quality of life.