Vashon Islanders feeling the housing squeeze

KING 5

It appears the housing crisis in Seattle is having an impact on surrounding island life, too.

People on Vashon Island, west of Seattle, are feeling the effects of rising rent and home prices as weary home buyers search for more affordable alternatives to big city living.

The Windemere Real Estate Office on Vashon Island estimates home prices have increased around 25 percent over the past two years.

"All of a sudden people can't afford to buy a house, which is difficult for the local population," said Sophia Stendahl, broker, and owner of Windemere Vashon.

Stendahl says many rental property owners on this quiet island, are now selling off their investments to reap the rewards of the housing market. But that's forcing long time renters to look elsewhere for housing that they can't afford.

"I've had a personal friend rent, and the moment he signed his lease, they said 'by the way we are going to put this house on the market in six months'," she said. "This will be a different place, just as Seattle has turned into a different place."

The town center and businesses like Vashon Island Coffee Roasterie are built with employees who rent. Owner Eva, says she sees here baristas quit because they can't afford island life anymore.

"It's sad because they want to live here," she said. "Some of the people are kids that grew up on the island, and they can't find a place to come back."

© 2017 KING-TV


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