Housing is a problem in much of California. Prices are high and rising fast in most areas close to the coast. To find affordable housing, millions of people make long commutes with some people spending three or four hours per day driving to and from work. In many cities, long-time residents complain about gentrification forcing them out of rental apartments, leaving them unable to find new, affordable housing, and changing the character of neighborhoods. Everyone knows a problem exists. Unfortunately, most California politicians and activists are relying on exactly the wrong policies to fix the situation.
Sacramento is largely drawing residents from the California coast, especially Los Angeles and the Bay Area, according to separate U.S. Census Bureau figures for the 2016 calendar year. The three counties sending the most residents to the Sacramento region in 2016 were Los Angeles, Alameda and Santa Clara. Housing costs are likely behind a lot of the moves. It is much cheaper to live in Sacramento than it is to live in Los Angeles or the Bay Area.
In fact, expect to hear more political chatter of all kinds as Californians gear up to select a governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general and other statewide constitutional officers; new Assembly members (all of them) and state senators (just half); members of Congress including a U.S. senator; and a yet-to-be-determined number of ballot propositions that may claim to remedy the housing crisis, fix healthcare policy and repeal the new gas tax, for starters.
A majority of Californians say affordability is a problem in the state’s public colleges and universities, according to the PPIC Statewide Survey. In addition, three-quarters of residents in the survey agree that the price of college prevents students who are qualified and motivated from going to college. Not surprisingly, state leaders are exploring new strategies to help students and families better cope with college costs. Most current approaches, such as state and institutional financial aid, focus primarily on tuition relief. This makes sense, as tuition more than doubled at California universities from 2006 to 2012—and is on the rise again.
U.S. housing starts rose last month to the highest level in more than a year, driven by gains in single-family home building in the South and West.