By Matt Levin / CALmatters, KPBS
Why are California housing costs so high? At its most basic level, it’s a story of supply and demand — lots of people want to live here, and there aren’t enough homes to go around.
But there are lots of uniquely California factors — from the shape of our coastline to Prop 13 — that have attached a painfully expensive price tag to the California dream. The median price of a home is now well over half a million dollars — that number is about $240,000 nationally. More than 20% of Californians pay more than half their income for housing.
Here are five reasons the state’s housing market got so out of whack.
By Kristen Shanahan, Fox 5
SAN DIEGO -- A number of residents in San Diego County are having a hard time finding a place to call home.
One family told FOX 5 they are looking to move from Valley Center to Vista, and even though it is a good ways outside the heart of San Diego it is still hard to find an affordable place to live.
At age of 18 the Navy brought Michale Turner to San Diego and it is where he chose to raise his family.
“I love San Diego for all of the right reasons, like anybody else. I believe it’s a great place to live,” Turner said.
Turner said he does not want to leave, but the cost of living has forced him to think about it.
For the past six months he, his wife and 15-year-old son have been searching for a home in the Vista area.
“We’re looking at rentals, but we’re looking at purchases also in Vista and neither is more rosy than the other,” Turner said.
Turner said the average rental price they have seen is about $2,400 dollars, but other places they have looked at are well over that price.
By Lisa Halverstadt, Voice of San Diego
SANDAG projects the county will be more than 150,000 homes short of what it will need by 2050, even if cities across the county build everything current plans allow.
Regional planners project the county will fall 152,000 homes short of what it will need by 2050 even if San Diego cities build all the housing they expect to allow over the next three decades.
SANDAG officials on Monday unveiled estimates they’ll use to update the region’s growth forecast. The forecast helps officials across the county with long-term transportation and infrastructure planning.
SANDAG staffers have in recent months met with planners countywide to learn where their local plans allow for housing – and how much. They concluded city and county plans permit 357,000 more units between now and 2050, short of the 509,000 additional homes SANDAG estimates the region will need. The projection is based on assumptions about population growth, the number of people per home, the number of second homes or vacation homes not available on the market and a desired 5 percent vacancy rate.
By Jeff Daniels, CNBC
Californians may still love the beautiful weather and beaches, but more and more they are fed up with the high housing costs and taxes and deciding to flee to lower-cost states such as Nevada, Arizona and Texas.
"There's nowhere in the United States that you can find better weather than here," said Dave Senser, who lives on a fixed income near San Luis Obispo, California, and now plans to move to Las Vegas. "Rents here are crazy, if you can find a place, and they're going to tax us to death. That's what it feels like. At least in Nevada they don't have a state income tax. And every little bit helps."
Senser, 65, who previously lived in the east San Francisco Bay region, said housing costs and gas prices are "significantly lower in Las Vegas. The government in the state of California isn't helping people like myself. That's why people are running out of this state now."
By Chris Nichols, PolitiFact California
"California is 49th out of 50 in the United States in per capita housing units. Only Utah can lay claim to being lowest in per capita production." - Gavin Newsom on Thursday, March 8th, 2018
Runaway rents and out-of-reach home prices typify California’s housing landscape.
To ease extreme costs, there are politicians who say they’re increasingly focused on boosting supply. Democratic Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom is one.
At a forum on March 8, 2018 in Sacramento, Newsom said California must break down barriers to building because it ranks "49th out of 50 in the United States in per capita housing units. Only Utah can lay claim to being lowest in per capita production."
We know building homes in California can be a long, expensive process. But does the state really have the second lowest per capita housing supply in the nation?
We opened the door on a fact check.
by Robert Weichelt, The Independent Voter Network
The new Lilac Hills Ranch is a transformational community that might just move the San Diego region to a new path that embraces growth.
Last year, at the peak of San Diego County’s housing emergency, housing production actually dropped, according to new data. Demand for new housing was at an all-time high and our homeless crisis was making national headlines, but builders were unable to pull permits.
Home prices and rental rates continue to rise and San Diego remains in the midst of a shameful homelessness epidemic. Working families, seniors, college graduates and others have been pushed out because they can’t afford a home. The causes are so well known that by now they’re cliché: It is too difficult, too expensive and too time-consuming to build homes here. For too long, we’ve let the perfect be the enemy of the great, and we’ve let NIMBYs stand in the way of progress.
By Phillip Molnar, The San Diego Union-Tribune
San Diego County communities approved slightly fewer homes last year despite increasing political pressure for more housing in California.
Cities and the county issued 4 percent fewer residential building permits in 2017 than the previous year, said the Real Estate Research Council of Southern California in a report released this week.
Overall building was down because of a reduction in apartment and condo construction, despite an increase in single-family home construction. The year started out with a major reduction in home building, but made up for it with an extremely busy fourth quarter.
Building permits for 9,580 new housing units were pulled in 2017. That’s down from 9,972 in 2016 and 9,975 in 2015. It’s up from a low during the Great Recession, when fewer than 3,000 homes were built in 2009.
By Sean Elo, Voice of San Diego
I know because I lived in the back of an SUV for one month during law school. From the Board of Supervisors to local school boards, every body of government must do what it can to increase the housing supply, boost wages and stabilize rents.
A little more than six years ago, my home was a 1994 Ford Explorer. I was a first-year student at California Western School of Law and life circumstances — and a lot of misguided pride — made the backseat of an SUV my best housing option.
My finals were particularly tough that semester. My scholarship, and my future as a law student, were in jeopardy. Fortunately, my student aid kicked in at the beginning of the next semester and I was able to get back on my feet. Two years later, I delivered the commencement address at my class graduation.
Compared to the challenges other San Diegans face right now, I was very, very lucky.
I had a car to climb into at the end of the day while so many others were forced to take shelter on the street. What I did not realize at the time was that my challenge of homelessness was not so unique. It was part of a sweeping crisis of student homelessness that has only gotten worse.
By Lisa Halverstadt, Voice of San Diego
State officials are poised to demand San Diego County build a lot more housing. Local leaders are already listing all the reasons it’ll be difficult.
State officials delivered San Diego leaders a tough message last week: You need to permit three times more housing countywide — or else.
Officials from cities across the county didn’t take it well.
At last week’s SANDAG board meeting, local officials got an update on the state’s latest estimate of how much housing production is needed in the coming years.
The early estimate says San Diego County cities will need to give the go-ahead to 171,685 new homes to meet state housing targets between 2021 and 2028. That would mean building more than 21,000 units countywide each year — nearly three times what the region has allowed over the past seven years.