08/04/2021

News

Housing Affordabiity Crisis Drives Bay Area Middle-Class Exodus

The region’s housing mismatch increasingly affects hiring and corporate location decisions. In early 2014, Charles Schwab Corp. told employees in San Francisco that it planned to move “a significant number of San Francisco-based jobs” to other locations around the country over the next three to five years. The move is expected to involve more than 1,000 of its Bay Area workforce of 2,700.

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Garcetti Pledges to Ease Building Permit Process to Boost Construction

Restaurants, charter schools and major projects costing $10 million or more would be eligible for a new case-management program, a single point of contact to guide such projects through the city’s sometimes-Byzantine process of applying for permits and approvals.

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Barely 1 in 5 LA Homes Affordable to Middle Class, Study Finds

. . . a new report out Tuesday from real estate website Trulia, which found that a household earning the median income of $54,000 can afford just 22% of homes in L.A. County on 31% of their income or less. Only in San Francisco, at 15%, can fewer middle-class families afford to buy. Six of the seven least-affordable markets in the nation are in California, including San Diego (25%), Orange County (26%) and Ventura County (33%).

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1 in 6 California Construction Workers Labors in Shadows, Study Finds

Construction in California is a $152-billion industry, one in which so-called gray employment has surged 400% since 1972. The upswing has been especially pronounced since the most recent recession because only two-thirds of the formal construction jobs that disappeared have since returned.

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LA Storeys; Why Homes Even in the Unfashionable Parts of LA Cost So Much

A new study by the University of California, Los Angeles concludes that LA has the least affordable rental homes in America, and other reports rate California as the worst state both for renters and mortgage-payers (see map). The UCLA study reports that tenants in LA spend on average 47% of their gross income on rent—a higher share than in any other city. (Academics typically deem rent “unaffordable” if it eats up more than 30% of a household’s income).

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Southern California Home Sales Plunge in July

Southern California home sales plunged in July and show little signs of rebounding. And that, economists say, could stunt the region’s economic growth..

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California’s Green Bantustans

One of the core barriers to economic prosperity in California is the price of housing. But it doesn’t have to be this way. Policies designed to stifle the ability to develop land are based on flawed premises. These policies prevail because they are backed by environmentalists, and, most importantly, because they have played into the agenda of crony capitalists, Wall Street financiers, and public sector unions. But while the elites have benefit, ordinary working families have been condemned to pay extreme prices in mortgages, property taxes, or rents, to live in confined, unhealthy, ultra high-density neighborhoods. . . Earlier this month an economist writing for the American Enterprise Institute, Mark J. Perry, published a chart proving that over the past four years, more new homes were built in one city, Houston Texas, than in the entire state of California.

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Housing Recovery’s Missing Link: First-Time Buyers

Economists, real-estate agents and many home builders expected first-time and entry-level buyers to begin returning to the market this year, jump-starting the sputtering housing recovery. So far, that hasn’t happened.

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Bringing a Knife to a Gunfight

There is little doubt that the bill’s sponsor, State Senator Mark DeSaulnier (D-Concord) is well meaning in his effort. But well meaning is not the same as effective—and this bill, unfortunately, will not be remotely successful in dealing with the state’s affordable housing problem. It’s a shame California lawmakers can’t or won’t support meaningful reforms—primarily altering the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA)—instead of offering more band-aids.

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SoCal Building Permits Bounce Back in 2013 but Still Below Past Highs

There were 25,198 units of housing permitted in Los Angeles and Orange Counties, according to figures out Thursday from the Census Bureau. That’s up from about 17,500 in 2012 and triple the amount seen at the bottom of the housing market in 2009. But it’s still behind the 30,000-plus pace seen in the housing heyday of the mid-2000s.

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California Second Least Affordable State for Renters, Study Says

California renters must earn more than triple the minimum wage to afford a two-bedroom apartment, underscoring a housing shortage throughout the state, a new report said.

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Land Crunch Hits Builders in “Brady Bunch” County

Faced with a dearth of developable land, home builders across Southern California are cramming more houses into less space. Many are dispensing with the single-family homes that have defined the region’s development for half a century (Exhibit A: “The Brady Bunch”). In their place they are building somewhat smaller structures in the form of townhouses or pairs of homes that share one wall.

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Southern California Home Prices Flat, Sales Fall in November

The median sales price for all homes in the six-county region inched up 0.3% from October to $385,000, research firm DataQuick said Monday. While prices are 19.9% higher than last year, they have been roughly flat for five straight months.

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Home Prices in Bay Area Return to Bubble Peaks

Driven by the roaring economic engine of Silicon Valley, home prices in some Bay Area cities have neared or exceeded the record highs reached in last decade’s housing bubble. San Francisco, Palo Alto and other cities flush with cash from Google, Facebook and Apple blew past their prior peaks in recent months and set new records.

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State’s Tenants Burdened More Heavily by Rent

Almost 56 percent of California renters paid more than 30 percent of their gross household income in rent in 2011, more than in any state except for Florida, according to a report issued Monday by Harvard University’s Joint Center for Housing Studies.

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