Webinar on "Housing Underproduction in California"

The "Housing Underproduction in California: Economic, Fiscal, and Environmental Impact of Enabling Transit-Oriented Smart Growth to Address California's Housing Affordability Challenge" Webinar was an informative presentation facilitated by Dr. Michael Wilkerson and Marley Buchman and hosted by ECONorthwest. 

The first topic broached in this presentation was why California housing is so unaffordable. According to those surveyed, the lack of rent control and too little funding for low-income housing are the top reasons, followed by environmental regulation and foreign buyers. When asked who was to blame for the housing crisis in the Bay Area, developers who are trying to maximize profits rather than build what people want or need were ranked first, followed by technology companies who add jobs to the region. A new paradigm for housing growth is much needed, as denoted by an exponential decay graph pitting San Francisco as the most expensive city and Raleigh, Austin, and Las Vegas as the most expansive cities.

Rent has increased 15% faster than the median income in San Francisco since 2010. A one bedroom apartment average rent in San Francisco is astronomically higher than that of Oakland and Sacramento. Rent is the strongest predictor of metropolitan homeless rate, and California has three of the five metropolitan areas with the highest rate of homelessness. 

Additionally, the housing starts have not kept pace with household formation. From 2010 to 2016 in California, 7.4 housing units were produced for every 10 households formed. Four jobs were added for every housing unit from 2010 to 2015. The statewide ratio of Primary Jobs to Housing Units in 2010 was one to one and from 2010 to 2015 it was 4.4.

The purpose of this webinar/study is to examine the impact of supply constraints on housing production, evaluate the impact of different models of growth, and model the economic, fiscal, and environmental impacts supported through additional housing production nationally. More comprehensive reports can be found at www.upforgrowth.org.

Blair Hassett