Meeting the Next Two Decades of Housing Needs in Burien

The cost of housing in the Puget Sound region continues to rise faster than incomes. This why the City of Burien is creating a housing action plan that will identify how to create and keep affordable, safe, and livable housing now and in the future. Because this issue affects everyone in the community, the City is asking for input from all voices. There will be several opportunities in 2020 for the community to weigh in on the final plan.

What is the Burien Housing Action Plan?

The Burien Housing Action Plan details actions to increase and diversify housing options in Burien. Supported by a grant from the Washington State Department of Commerce, City staff is working with consultants, community stakeholders, housing experts, members of the public, the Burien City Council, Burien Planning Commission and Burien Human Services Commission to assess Burien’s current housing inventory and develop a draft plan by June 2021 that:

  • Looks at our housing needs now and twenty years into the future.
  • Provides information to inform decisions about housing policies and actions.
  • Reports on feedback received from outreach efforts.
  • Recommends steps the city can take to meet the needs of current and future residents of Burien.

What does the plan tell us about what Burien needs? 

Housing costs are outpacing incomes. Like communities throughout Puget Sound, the cost of housing in Burien is growing faster than household incomes. Because our region’s rents and mortgages are out of step with wages, we need policies and actions to make sure good places to live are within the reach for everyone who calls Burien home.

Between 2013 and 2020, average 2-bedroom rents increased 45 percent, and median sales prices for single-family homes increased 101 percent.  Between 2020 and 2019, median household income increased 20 percent.

Burien has the second highest home prices in south King County, just below Renton.

Demand is exceeding supply. Between 2010–2019, Burien produced only 9.3 housing units for every 10 new households in the city. When demand for new housing exceeds the supply of new housing, prices increase.

A large number of households in Burien are considered low income. In the 2012-2016 time period, about 40 percent of Burien households earned less than half of King County’s median income. Burien also has the highest share of households in the lowest-income categories compared to King County and south King County communities. At the same time, 44 percent of households earn 80 percent and above of King County’s median income. The area median income (AMI) is the household income for the median (or middle) household in a region.

Many of our residents are cost-burdened. During the 2012-2016 period, 75 percent of renters and 70 percent homeowners earning less than 50 percent of AMI were cost burdened.  In Burien, Hispanic and African American households account for a disproportionate share of households experiencing cost burdening. 

The city’s demographics have changed since 2010. Burien’s population of Asian households increased 146 percent from 2010 to 2018, while the number of Black households increased 132 percent, and the number of households identifying as Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander increased more than 96 percent.

Our housing stock is similar to other suburban communities. Burien has an even split between renters and owners. The majority (60 percent) of Burien’s housing stock is single family detached houses. About two-thirds of Burien’s housing stock was built in 1969 or before. 

Key recommendations

The Burien Housing Action Plan recommends the following goals: 

  • Preserve affordable housing and prevent displacement.
  • Increase both market-rate and affordable housing production in downtown Burien.
  • Increase housing options and housing choice.
  • Support investments in transit corridors and in the Downtown Urban Center.

Get Involved

We need your feedback on the draft plan. You can provide public comment at one of several upcoming public meetings, or email us your feedback and questions to

Or, send your comments to: 

Burien Housing Action Plan
Burien City Hall
400 SW 152nd Street
Burien, WA  98166

Susan McLain
Former Community Development Director at | More posts
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