How a natural gas ban in Seattle could affect housing market
As Seattle City Council mulls a ban on natural gas in all new homes and buildings, it’s left many wondering how that would affect the city’s already-expensive housing market.
“I don’t think it’ll have a consequence on the availability [of housing], but it’ll have a consequence on the cost,” Windermere Real Estate Chief Economist Matthew Gardner told KIRO Radio’s Dave Ross.
According to Gardner, one of Seattle’s biggest issues with housing relates to the fact that the city isn’t building enough new homes to keep up with its expanding population. And when that’s already limited by a scarcity of land, skilled labor, and more, a ban on natural gas — it throws another wrench into the spokes.
“If you start changing these things, it’s essentially gonna make it even more expensive for the builder, and that’s going to be problematic,” he described.
That tracks with similar concerns shared recently by the Seattle-King County Building and Constructions Trade Council.
The council’s executive secretary Monty Anderson points out that while a natural gas ban seems like a good method for reducing emissions, it fails to take into account the people who would be affected most.
“There is not one mention [in the legislation] of the impact to the suppliers, the companies that (work in natural gas), or jobs,” he told KIRO Radio’s Candy, Mike and Todd Show. “And if it we’re looking at things through a lens where it doesn’t show any economic impacts to the people and businesses in Seattle, we’re using the wrong lamp. So, yeah, this is a little out of left field even for Seattle, to tell you the truth.”
This comes not long after San Francisco introduced it’s own legislation for a ban, and after Berkeley became the first U.S. city to actually pass one. San Francisco City Supervisor Vallie Brown estimates that natural gas in buildings generates 44 percent of the city’s emissions.
- Tune in to KIRO Radio weekdays at 5am for Dave Ross on Seattle's Morning News.