Cities that don’t meet their goals will need to approve projects more quickly
The vast majority of urban areas in the California—including Los Angeles—are failing to approve enough housing, a report released this week by the state Department of Housing and Community Development shows.
As a result, the state will now require those cities to make it a little easier for developers to construct projects that include affordable units.
For a more than four decades, cities and municipalities across the state have been required to set housing goals every five to eight years in order to ensure that construction of new homes keeps up with population growth.
As the HCD’s report shows, almost none of them are actually meeting those goals.
In all, only 13 cities made “sufficient progress” toward hitting their targets last year. A few of them—including West Hollywood, San Fernando, and Beverly Hills—are in Southern California (though Beverly Hills had to permit just three homes to meet its goals).
The 526 cities that came up short will be required to speed up approval of certain new developments, thanks to a new state law that went into effect January 1.
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Real Estate, Uncategorized
Source: The Sacramento Bee
A costly and potentially bruising campaign is taking shape over rent control in California, with deep-pocketed Los Angeles activist Michael Weinstein bankrolling a proposed November ballot initiative to repeal a state law that sets tight limits on the type of housing covered under local rent control laws.
As California confronts a historic housing crisis, low- and middle-income renters are being pushed out, even in cities with some form of rent control.
Proponents say they have been met with enthusiasm this year while gathering signatures for a proposed November ballot initiative that would repeal the 1995 Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act, which says rent control cannot apply to large amounts of housing, including all housing built after 1995, single-family homes, condos and duplexes.
Critics, including the California Apartment Association, believe repeal would lead to “extreme versions” of rent control throughout the state, bringing new housing construction to a standstill.
In Los Angeles, where a very hot housing market shows no signs of slowing, nearly 40 percent of homes now sell above asking price, according to a report from Zillow.
How much above? Around $14,100—more than twice the national median, as measured by the real estate website.
Making sense of the story
- Across the country, nearly one-quarter, or 24 percent, of homes sold above the price that the owners were asking in 2017; in the Los Angeles metro area, the figure was 38 percent. That’s the highest share since 2013, when home values were just beginning to recover from the mortgage crisis of 2008.
- LA’s share of homes selling above sticker price has also risen in each of the last three years, suggesting that competition among homebuyers is heating up. “You’ve got to move quickly if you’re a homebuyer,” says Jordan Levine, senior economist for the California Association of REALTORS®.
- A strong economy and low interest rates on home loans are bringing plenty of buyers to the market. By Zillow’s reckoning, the typical LA home now takes 66 days to sell (including an escrow period); that’s well under the 91 days that homes last on the market nationwide
- High demand and low supply is driving up prices to the point that sellers may often undervalue their homes when putting them on the market, explains Zillow senior economist Aaron Terrazas. He says that sellers are often “pleasantly surprised” when homes fetch prices significantly higher than their asking price.
- Levine says that rising home values may actually be causing some homeowners not to sell, out of fear they may not be able to afford something better. It’s a seller’s market, he says, “unless you want to turn around and buy again.”
- This trend further limits the number of homes available for purchase—meaning that high costs and competition among buyers may be here to stay.
Real Estate, Selling your Home
Rent control, property taxes and taller apartment buildings: California considers major housing bills in 2018
Source: The Mercury News
The state’s housing crisis is back on the agenda as California lawmakers return to work after a months-long recess. Proposals floated on the first week of the year would bring major changes to laws governing property taxes, rent control, and local zoning rules. Senate Democrats are also proposing a work-around for the recent GOP tax overhaul, which set a $10,000 cap on state and local tax deductions.
Making sense of the story
- Deduction cap: A bill introduced Thursday would allow Californians to instead donate to the state, receiving a dollar-for-dollar tax credit, so they can — in theory — deduct the full amount from their federal taxes. There is no cap on deductions for charitable contributions.
- Rent control fight: Should California repeal a landmark 1995 law that keeps local rent control ordinances in check? The law, known as Costa Hawkins, blocks cities from applying rent-control policies to homes built after 1995 or to single-family homes. It is hugely popular among landlords, but some advocacy groups for renters are demanding that the state lift those restrictions, allowing cities to address runaway rents as they see fit.
- New tax breaks for homeowners? Proposition 13, passed in 1978, keeps annual property tax increases to a minimum, even if a house quadruples in value, until a property changes hands. The California Association of Realtors is gathering signatures to qualify an initiative that would let those over 55 take their low property tax base with them anywhere in the state, as many times as they move.
- Down payment help: Assemblyman Marc Steinorth is bringing back a revised version of a proposal he introduced last year: to help aspiring first-time home buyers save up for a down payment with a special savings plan. The money would be withdrawn, tax-free, as with a Roth IRA or 529 college savings plan.
- Homeowner Bill of Rights: Portions of this 5-year-old state law expired Jan. 1, and Senator Jim Beall has introduced legislation — Senate Bill 818 — to renew mortgage and foreclosure protections, such as the right to appeal when a loan modification application is denied.
- More apartment buildings: Senator Scott Wiener is set to introduce Senate Bill 827, which would require cities to allow denser housing developments to be built within a half mile of transit hubs.