It’s not a secret that housing prices are steep in Los Angeles, but a new report from the United Ways of California shows that those costs make it exceedingly difficult for many locals to afford other basic needs like food and healthcare.
According to the report, released last week, nearly 1 million households in Los Angeles County—or 38 percent of the population—bring in less than what’s needed to meet a simple budget of essential items.
Not coincidentally, the residents of nearly half of LA County’s households spend more than 30 percent of their income on housing.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, just over 16 percent of LA County residents live in poverty, but Peter Manzo, president of the United Ways of California, says that statistic doesn’t reflect the true number of families struggling to make ends meet.
“We’re asking, ‘what does it look like if a family is doing well?’” Manzo tells Curbed.
Granny flats and renters’ tax credits: The California housing bills that will live to see another day
Source: The Mercury News
An array of bills aimed at easing California’s housing crisis, from banning fees on “granny flats” to pushing housing development on BART property, cleared a key hurdle last week, while others died quietly in fiscal committees.
One such fatality was a proposal to help teachers and other middle-income tenants live closer to their jobs , one of many bills aiming to shore up the supply of badly needed affordable housing for low- and middle-income families. California housing officials estimate that shortfall has ballooned to a staggering 3.5 million homes.
Also stopped in its tracks was a bipartisan bill by Assemblyman Rob Bonta, D-Alameda, and Marc Steinorth, R-Rancho Cucamonga, that would have helped aspiring homeowners save up for a down payment through a special savings plan with tax benefits, similar to a 529 college savings account.
A break for granny flats: It would be illegal for cities or counties to charge certain fees for backyard or garage units — or to require off-street parking — under Senate Bill 831, by Sen. Bob Wieckowski, D-Fremont, a champion of the backyard “accessory dwelling” revolution. For too long, the senator says, some cities have limited the addition of these units with cumbersome requirements and high fees.
BART housing: Chiu and Assemblyman Tim Grayson, D-Concord, see the BART system’s expansive parking lots as fertile ground for housing construction, and their Assembly Bill 2923 aims to nudge the transit system and local governments into allowing it.
Garage conversions, Housing availability, Real Estate
A monthly index of builder sentiment rose 2 points in May, 1 point higher than analysts expected. The National Association of Home Builders sentiment index now stands at 70. Anything above 50 is considered positive. April’s reading was revised down 1 point to 68. The index stood at 69 in May 2017.
Prices for newly built homes continue to rise, as builders focus more on the move-up market as opposed to the entry level, where so much of the demand currently exists from millennial homebuyers. Builders point to higher costs for land, labor and materials, as making it too difficult to profit on low-priced homes.
Of the NAHB index’s three components, current sales conditions increased 2 points to 76 in May. Buyer traffic and sales expectations in the next six months remained unchanged at 51 and 77, respectively.
New Homes, Real Estate
Source: The Economist
“We need tools to prevent price gouging,” says Elena Popp, executive director of the Eviction Defence Network, one of three groups leading the charge to repeal Costa Hawkins. “It’s insane that a developer can go in and buy a building where the median rent is $1,100 and bump it up to $2,700 from one day to another.”
Such stories are troubling, but rent control is likely to make California’s housing problems even worse. A team of economists at Stanford University recently studied a 1994 ballot initiative in San Francisco that brought in rent protections for small multi-family housing built before 1980.
The policy inspired landlords affected by it to convert their units into condos or redevelop their buildings, reducing their supply of rental housing by 15 percent and pushing up rents by 5 percent across the city.
Paul Habibi, a professor at the Anderson School of Management at the University of California, Los Angeles, who invests in a mix of rent-controlled and non-rent-controlled property in the city, also points out that rent control does not necessarily benefit those most in need.
“It seems sort of perverse that you can end up with a banker making $400,000 in a rent-controlled unit, while a plumber is forced to pay market rates.”
Economy, Real Estate, Rentals, Renters