PRESS-ENTERPRISE EDITORIAL- Published: June 23, 2016 Updated: 6:18 p.m.
Anyone not living under a rock knows that housing is too expensive in California.
Builders and elected officials grappled with the affordability crisis last week in Ontario at a policy conference put on annually by the Building Industry Association’s Baldy View Chapter.
Urban planner and consultant Wendell Cox, co-author of the Demographia International Housing Affordability Survey, was there to put the problem into numeric terms.
Mr. Cox, a former Los Angeles County transportation commissioner, holds that before states, counties and cities put so many restrictions on home building – what he calls “urban containment” politics – most places had “median multiples” less than three, meaning that a median house cost three times the area’s median household income.
But that has changed. Mr. Cox’s Demographia survey found that the Riverside-San Bernardino metropolitan market’s median multiple stands at an unaffordable 5.2 – with median household income of $56,500 and median home price of $292,500.
That exacerbates the region’s high poverty rate, removing money from pockets – for rent or mortgage payments – that might be better spent improving standards of living.
According to the Mt. Baldy BIA, San Bernardino County’s housing shortage will reach 31,000 residential units this year and 65,000 by 2019. Only 5,700 new units will be built this year, with estimated direct economic impact of $670 million. If two-thirds of the projected shortfall were built this year, the impact would be $2.15 billion, the BIA says.
Builders emphasize that local electeds can smooth the way for faster housing development. Cities, for example, can streamline their permitting and approval processes, and engage builders in the decision-making process, so that they don’t inadvertently slow things down by adding requirements in a vacuum.
And they’re pleading with school districts to hold off on raising development fees.
Meanwhile, a new $9 billion state school bond measure has qualified for the November ballot; if it passes, matching state funds would be available again.
We’re not endorsing the state bond measure – we’ll consider November ballot measures later – but we support holding off on hiking development fees, which would only further raise the price of homes for new buyers.
The next generation is being priced out of our region, and we have to stop making it worse.
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