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California’s housing crisis was decades in the making

 

David Ragland of Anthem United home builders oversees construction in North Natomas, where desperately needed new housing is going up.

Millennials are finally starting to get active in the real estate market. After the 2008 financial crisis, many millennials returned home to live with their parents or shared expenses with roommates. Now, millennials 36 and younger represent the nation’s largest share of home buyers at 34 percent, according to the National Association of Realtors.

We know the problem well. We live it. Other than Hawaii, California has the ignominious distinction of leading the nation in housing costs, and not by a little.

A San Francisco apartment costs more than one in New York City. A Silicon Valley home is beyond reach of all but the wealthy. A 2015 Legislative Analyst’s Office report said homes here cost two and a half times more than the average national price. It gets worse by the day.Companies expand elsewhere because workers can’t afford to live here. For workers who stay, commutes are interminable because they live far from their jobs.

No fewer than 15 housing-related bills await legislators upon their return Monday. Some would provide tax incentives so the working poor can afford decent housing, and homeless people can find shelter. Others would streamline approval for new homes so millennials can own a piece of the American Dream, or at least share it with a bank.

 

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