With the cost of renting or owning housing in Bellevue rising faster than income for many in the region, housing is not affordable to many people. The City Council recognizes that it is critically important to provide a safe, healthy and affordable place to live for people of all income levels to sustain Bellevue's livability and economic vitality. Finding affordable housing can be a confusing process. On this page we help break down the steps and provide links to more information and resources.
Step One: Determine What Type of Housing You're Looking For
If you are looking to purchase a home: In partnership with ARCH, Bellevue participates in local programs that result in some new homes in market-rate developments being sold at restricted prices, including condominiums, duplexes, and single-family homes. You may find more information at ARCH's website, including a listing of ARCH homes for sale, a mailing list application for priority notification of homes for sale, information about long term affordability restrictions, and other resources for people looking to buy a home. If you have further questions about the homeownership program, please visit http://www.archhousing.org/homebuyers/index.html or contact ARCH at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you are looking to rent a home: Continue on to step 2.
Step Two: Income Qualifications
The type of housing you may be eligible for and the amount of rent you would be required to pay is determined by the number of people in your household and your combined income. You can find a chart with details below. There are two different types of programs with slightly different approaches.
Affordable housing that is funded through various Land Use and Tax Incentive Programs helps create affordable units within private developments.
Affordable housing that is funded through the state's Housing Trust Fund is run by our regional housing partner ARCH.
You can learn more about the exact guidelines and rent limits by clicking on one of the links below:
Income Qualification Details
Regulated affordable housing in the United States is generally reserved for households at or below a specific area median income (AMI) level. Depending on the size of your household and your households combined income, you may qualify for regulated affordable housing. Below you will find a chart that identifies the maximum income by household size that allows that household to qualify for various AMI levels.
2021 Income Qualifications
|Household Size||45% AMI||55% AMI||65% AMI||70% AMI||80% AMI|
|1 person||$ 36,446||$ 44,545||$ 52,644||$ 56,693||$ 64,792|
|2 persons||$ 41,652||$ 50,908||$ 60,164||$ 64,792||$ 74,048|
|3 persons||$ 46,859||$ 57,272||$ 67,685||$ 72,891||$ 83,304|
|4 persons||$ 52,065||$ 63,635||$ 75,205||$ 80,990||$ 92,560|
|5 persons||$ 56,230||$ 68,726||$ 81,221||$ 87,469||$ 99,965|
Step Three: Explore Housing Options & Resources
Once you know what kind of housing you are eligible for, you can look for available units. There are a variety of programs and providers as well as community partners and services that help assist you in finding affordable housing.
A Regional Coalition for Housing (ARCH) maintains a list of apartment complexes located in East King County that have units with below-market rents.
To get one of these units, you will need to get on a waitlist. If you have questions or need assistance, you can contact ARCH at email@example.com.
King County Housing Authority (KCHA) also manages a host of properties across the County. You can access their list of properties below.
Private buildings with some affordable units also exist across Bellevue. The City has has several programs to incentivize developers to include affordable housing within larger buildings. The MFTE Program provides a tax exemption in exchange for including affordable units. This program ends after twelve years in use on a particular project and is only used by rental projects. The city offers several additional incentives that allow developers to build taller or bigger buildings in exchange for including affordable housing within these projects. These units remain affordable for the life of the project and could be either rental or ownership units.
Tenants hoping to rent a unit within one of these projects should reach out to the management companies, who handle applications directly.
- Regulated Affordable Housing Map: These types of projects are listed under "Rental Housing: Bellevue Development Incentives for Affordability" at the lower right
Additional Housing Resources: If you are looking for an affordable apartment in Bellevue, there are a number of other resources and programs you can look into including:
If you need immediate help: The City of Bellevue's Parks & Community Services Department maintains a list of community organizations that may provide assistance to individuals and families who are experiencing housing instability.
Definitions of Affordable Housing Terms
Area Median Income (AMI): National measure of average income in a region, adjusted for household size. The 2021 area median family income for a one-person household in Bellevue was $80,990 and for a four-person household was $115,700.
Housing Trust Fund: The ARCH (A Regional Coalition for Housing) Housing Trust Fund was created by ARCH member cities in 1993 to directly assist the development and preservation of affordable housing in East King County. The trust fund is capitalized by both local general funds and locally controlled, federal Community Development Block Grant funds.
Multifamily Tax Exemption: A program that allows private multifamily building owners to gain a property tax exemption in exchange for providing affordable housing within their project for 12 years. This is a form of inclusionary affordable housing.
Inclusionary Zoning: A regulatory tool that requires affordable housing in an area or project or encourages a developer to provide it in exchange for additional residential development capacity, generally height, floor area ratio or other benefits.