Wage gains have fallen far behind skyrocketing costs for housing, a gap that’s emerged despite a robust job market in recent years, according to an unsettling report released Monday. The housing-wage gap highlighted by the report from the Silicon Valley Institute for Regional Studies suggests that it is becoming increasingly difficult for residents in the Bay Area to keep up with the cost of owning or renting a home. Over the five years that ended in 2016, wages in the Santa Clara County, San Mateo County and San Francisco areas have risen by an average of 2.8 percent a year. Over the same stretch, the cost of rental housing has jumped by an average of roughly 9 percent annually, the report by the Silicon Valley Institute stated. In aggregate, from 2011 to 2016, the median wage in the three counties rose 14 percent, while the median apartment rent rose by a cumulative 45.2 percent, reported the regional institute, a unit of Joint Venture Silicon Valley.
Giving its employees a better chance at owning a home was a key consideration in Lighthouse Worldwide Solutions' decision to relocate its headquarters.
In a report last month, the analysts noted while 16% of properties statewide were sold in 1977-78, just 5% were sold in 2014-15. Less turnover means tax rates don’t get recalibrated, resulting in less revenue for government services. But the report concluded that’s likely to change, as more than half of California’s homeowners are 55 or older. The homes of baby boomers, as their lives come to an end or when they seek alternatives like assisted living, will end up on the market. The property tax rates for new owners will be set by higher purchase prices. The impact could be substantial. The report pointed out that the typical homeowner over the age of 65 has been in that house for at least 20 years. Many of those are in Southern California.
A review of federal data by The New York Times found that in the United States’ biggest metropolitan areas, low-income housing projects that use federal tax credits — the nation’s biggest source of funding for affordable housing — are disproportionately built in majority nonwhite communities. What this means, fair-housing advocates say, is that the government is essentially helping to maintain entrenched racial divides, even though federal law requires government agencies to promote integration.
In 1978, California adopted building codes designed to reduce the energy used for heating and cooling. Using a rich dataset of hourly electricity consumption for 158,112 California houses, we estimate that the average house built just after 1978 uses 13% less electricity for cooling than a similar house built just before 1978. Comparing the estimated savings to the policy’s projected cost, we conclude that the policy comfortably passes a cost-benefit test.