Like it or not subdivisions are a fact of urban life and the Seattle real estate market is desperate for more homes.
In a move to get more homes on the market faster, the Snohomish County Council voted 5-0 Wednesday to speed up the approval process for new subdivisions by handing all the power over to the county’s planning department. The idea being that if they take themselves out of the process it will save several weeks in the approval process.
The driver behind this is the nearly white-hot home buying frenzy that is going on in the greater Seattle area right now. I personally coach my buyers that we will likely need to make offers on multiple homes before we can score one, simply due to the competitive nature of the market right now. Where we should six month’s worth of homes available for buyers if no new ones hit the market, right now we have one.
There are concerns with this move however. By taking the county council out of the process, there is less oversight, and some worry that the planning department will start rubber stamping approvals. There will still be time for public review of all projects and a chance to raise objections however.
What the long term effect of decision by the Snohomish County Council will be, we will have to wait and see. In the mean time, buying a home will likely stay a competitive event for the near future in our area.