Seattle a city in King County, Washington

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About Affordable Housing In Seattle

There are 366 low income housing apartment complexes which contain 33,024 subsidized apartments for rent in Seattle, Washington. Many of these rental apartments are income based housing with about 4,144 apartments that set rent based on your income. Often referred to as "HUD apartments", there are 2,685 Project-Based Section 8 subsidized apartments in Seattle. There are 22,748 other low income apartments that don't have rental assistance but are still considered to be affordable housing for low income families.

Fair Market Rents are used to establish the payment standards for the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program. In Seattle, the fair market rents range from $1,093 to $2,654. To learn more about rents for low income apartments in Seattle read the Fair Market Rents section of the Understanding Affordable Housing in Seattle guide.

To qualify for low income housing in Seattle a family of four would generally have to earn less than $45,150. For more detailed income qualification information for affordable apartments in Seattle read the Income section of the Understanding Affordable Housing in Seattle guide.

The HUD funded Public Housing Agency that serves Seattle is the Seattle Housing Authority.

  • The Seattle Housing Authority Housing Choice Voucher Waiting List is Closed.
  • The Seattle Housing Authority Public Housing Waiting List is Open Now.

The Seattle Housing Authority offers 40 Public Housing complexes containing 7,164 HUD apartments. The rent at these subsidized apartments are always income based. To find a public housing unit, look for the tag in the apartment list below.

Affordable Apartments in Seattle

6940 37th Avenue South
Esperanza Apartments is a 84 unit low income housing apartment community that provides 1 bedroom apartments for rent in Seattle.
Apartments in this community are not rent subsidized. However, this apartment community has rents considered affordable for low income families in Seattle.
Low Income Housing Tax Credit
1323 Minor Avenue
Copperfield Apartments is a low income housing apartment community that provides 1-3 bedroom apartments for rent in Seattle.
6559 35th Ave NE
The Theodora - Volunteers of America is a low income housing apartment community that provides 1 bedroom apartments for rent in Seattle.
936 Broadway East
Broadway East Apartments is a low income housing apartment community that provides 1-3 bedroom apartments for rent in Seattle.
934 N 98th St
Heather Apartments is a 16 unit low income housing apartment community in Seattle.
Some or all apartments in this community are rent subsidized, which means rent is income based.
Section 811 Supportive Housing for Persons with Disabilities Project Based Rental Assistance Accessible Units Persons With Disabilities

Housing Authorities that serve Seattle

Understanding Affordable Housing in Seattle, Washington

Seattle, WA Affordable Housing Snapshot

Total Affordable Apartment Properties 366
Total Low Income Apartments 33,024
Total Rent Assisted Apartments 4,144
Percentage of Housing Units Occupied By Renters 51.9%
Average Renter Household Size 1.70
Total Population 608,660
Housing Units 283,510
Average Household Size 1.97
Median Household Income $67,365 ±$1,101
Median Rent $1,131 ±$9
Percentage Of Renters Overburdened 44.62% ± 1.2pp

Population and Household Demographics

Seattle is a City in King County, Washington with a population of 608,660. There are 283,510 households in the city with an average household size of 1.97 persons. 51.9% of households in Seattle are renters.

Income and Rent Overburden in Seattle

The median gross income for households in Seattle is $67,365 a year, or $5,614 a month. The median rent for the city is $1,131 a month.

Households who pay more than thirty percent of their gross income are considered to be Rent Overburdened. In Seattle, a household making less than $3,770 a month would be considered overburdened when renting an apartment at or above the median rent. 44.62% of households who rent are overburdened in Seattle.1

Data derived from 2010 Census and 2014 5-Year American Community Survey. Learn More.
1 Margin of Error: ± 1.2 percentage points.

Fair Market Rents in Seattle

Fair Market Rents, often abbreviated as FMR, can be used to better understand the average housing costs of an area. Notably, Fair Market Rents are used to establish the payment standards for the Housing Choice Voucher Program, maximum rents in HOME financed rental projects and initial rents for Section 8 project based assistance.

2017 Fair Market Rents
Studio One BR Two BR Three BR Four BR
$1,093 $1,249 $1,544 $2,240 $2,654
Area Median Income In Seattle

Affordable housing program eligibility is always determined by one's income. Each household's income is compared to the incomes of all other households in the area. This is accomplished through a statistic established by the government called the Area Median Income, most often referred to as AMI. The AMI is calculated and published each year by HUD.

HUD often uses an area larger than a city to determine the AMI because HUD anticipates those searching for housing will look beyond individual cities during their housing search. For Seattle, the AMI is calculated from all households within King County.

In Seattle, HUD calculates the Area Median Income for a family of four as $90,300.

Most affordable housing programs determine eligibility based on the percent of AMI a given household's income is. Among the programs that determine eligibility based on the AMI are Section 8, HOME, LIHTC, Section 515, 202 and 811.

Low Income Housing Tax Credits in Seattle

The Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) program aims to create affordable rental housing for low and very low income families.

From 1987 to 2009, 237 low income apartment communities containing 18,539 rental apartments have been constructed and made affordable to low income persons in Seattle by the Low Income Housing Tax Credit Program.

You can identify apartment communities that participate in the program in Seattle by looking for the tag in the apartment list above. View Apartments.

Low Income Housing Tax Credit Income Limits

For affordable apartment communities in Seattle that received funding in part through the Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) program, monthly rent cannot exceed the Tax Credit maximum rent for the community.

If your income does not exceed 60% of the Area Median Income (AMI), you may qualify to rent a unit that is subject to the rent limits established by the Low Income Housing Tax Credit program.

% of AMI 1 Person 2 Persons 3 Persons 4 Persons 5 Persons 6 Persons 7 Persons 8 Persons
50% $31,650 $36,150 $40,650 $45,150 $48,800 $52,400 $56,000 $59,600
60% $37,980 $43,380 $48,780 $54,180 $58,560 $62,880 $67,200 $71,520
Low Income Housing Tax Credit Rent Limits

If your income is less than 60% of the Area Median Income (AMI), you should not expect to pay more than the rent value for a unit in the table below. However, Affordable apartment communities that receive funding through the Low Income Housing Tax Credit program may have rental units that are not subject to income and rent limits.

Rent limits for the LIHTC Program are determined so that a household making the maximum income for the expected household size of the unit would only pay 30% of their income for rent.

For example, the expected household size for a two bedroom apartment is 3 people. Using the table above, the maximum income for a 3 person household at 60% of the AMI in Seattle is $48,780 a year, or $4,065 a month. To determine the maximum rent in the table below we multiply the monthly maximum income, $4,065 by 30% to get a maximum rent of $1,220 a month.

Rent for units in the LIHTC Program include a utility allowance which is determined by the average monthly cost of utilities paid directly by residents. This allowance has not been subtracted from the rents in the table below. These utility allowances are set on a property by property basis.

% of AMI Studio 1 Bed 2 Bed 3 Bed 4 Bed 5 Bed
50% $791 $848 $1,016 $1,174 $1,310 $1,445
60% $950 $1,017 $1,220 $1,409 $1,572 $1,734
Rental Assistance in Seattle

Rental assistance is a type of housing subsidy that pays for a portion of a renter’s monthly housing costs, including rent and tenant paid utilities. This housing assistance can come in the form of Section 8 Housing Choice Vouchers, project-based Section 8 contracts, public housing, USDA Rental Assistance (in Section 515 properties) as well as HUD Section 202 and 811 properties for elderly and disabled households.

You can identify apartment communities that participate in a program that provides rental assistance by looking for the tags in the apartment list above. View Apartments.

HUD Rental Assistance Income Limits

To qualify for most rental assistance programs a renter must earn no more than 50% of the Area Median Income (AMI). In some cases, rental assistance is reserved for renters earning 30% or less of the AMI. In Seattle, to qualify for Section 8 assistance, a renter household containing four persons must earn $45,150 or less. For some targeted rental assistance programs, a renter household of four can’t earn more than $27,100.

It’s important to remember that in many rental assistance programs there are minimum rent regulations requiring assistance recipients to make a minimum payment of between $25 and $50 per month no matter how low their income.

% of AMI 1 Person 2 Persons 3 Persons 4 Persons 5 Persons 6 Persons 7 Persons 8 Persons
30% $19,000 $21,700 $24,400 $27,100 $29,300 $32,580 $36,730 $40,890
50% $31,650 $36,150 $40,650 $45,150 $48,800 $52,400 $56,000 $59,600
80% $48,550 $55,450 $62,400 $69,300 $74,850 $80,400 $85,950 $91,500