The mortgage interest deduction, a sacred cow in the U.S. tax code, does nothing to promote homeownership, according to an academic paper released Monday, a finding that undermines one of the core justifications for the tax break. Letting taxpayers deduct mortgage interest encourages them to buy bigger homes and more expensive homes – but it doesn’t change that fundamental decision about whether to buy in the first place
Simple arithmetic reveals why permit streamlining is critical. The state says we need 180,000 new units of housing a year, but we’re building only 100,000 now. Closing that 80,000-unit gap would require more than $26 billion a year in additional investment at the average cost of $332,000 per unit for lower-end housing cited in Brown’s budget. Under even the best circumstances, therefore, the state could provide only a tiny fraction of the needed money, so making it easier for private and non-profit money to flow into actual construction is the most vital element of any package. The major pitfall is that faced with the difficult politics, Brown and legislators will settle for a token response – throwing a few billion dollars at the problem that won’t make even a small dent and failing to enact the regulatory reforms. That not only would ignore the most vital issue, but would allow politicians to claim a face-saving, undeserved victory, much as they did for a roadway improvement package that covers only a fraction of the unmet need.
Marin County will continue to limit home building beyond what other regions of California are allowed under affordable housing laws after Gov. Jerry Brown signed legislation Friday afternoon. The measure, Senate Bill 106, lets Marin's largest cities and incorporated areas maintain extra restrictions on how many homes developers can build. Assemblyman Marc Levine (D-San Rafael) inserted the provision into the bill, which was tied to the state budget and didn't have to go through the regular committee process.
Pollack found she could make enough extra income renting out a bedroom and her pool house so that she could keep paying the mortgage on her Sherman Oaks home. And she could still pursue acting and producing, even though work is harder to come by as a woman in her late 50s. “My greatest income of source is my home, and if I lose both of those – honestly, it’s not an option for me,” Pollack said. The unthinkable for home sharers has become a looming possibility as city officials move toward capping the number of days they can rent out a listing, part of a set of new rules proposed for a booming short-term rental industry. In Los Angeles, one of the world’s biggest tourist markets, Airbnb alone generates $670 million a year by the company’s count.
Anderson-Williams raised her kids in nearby Burlingame, but last year she had a falling out with her landlord and couldn’t find anyone willing to take a Section 8 voucher. So now she lives in an RV. Her adult son, Malik, lives in the one next door, and her two daughters are living with their godparents in Burlingame until they finish school. In San Francisco and Oakland, tents are a symbol of the homeless problem. But in the Peninsula and South Bay, from Palo Alto to Mountain View to Gilroy, RVs have become that symbol.