California’s Housing Shortage Is Somewhere Between 2.5 Million … And Zero

California’s housing shortage is nowhere as big as you think.

In an age where statistics can be weaponized, pro-development types will toss out the biggest shortfall guestimate they can find to make their point: Only more construction will prune California’s high cost-of-living.

Conversely, those who prefer slower growth will quote more modest shortage estimates — or even deny there’s any shortfall — to suggest reasons why we shouldn’t rush to boost new homebuilding.

Of course, there’s an alternative universe: Reality.

These shortfall guestimates are very much “it depends on who you ask.” And this mathematical debate is largely a question of which benchmark is used to measure against the state’s home supply, its homebuilding history, its population and economic growth.

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