California needs an additional 1.8 million new homes by 2025 to meet expected population growth, which means 180,000 new units must be built annually compared to the paltry pace of 80,000 homes per year seen for the last decade. From 1955 to 1989 the state saw 200,000 units built annually so it definitely is possible. With California’s desirable climate, diverse economy, and many of the nation’s top colleges, the state continues to experience strong housing demand, according to a draft statewide housing assessment released recently by the California Department of Housing and Community Development. The report — California’s Housing Future: Challenges and Opportunities — notes, however, that housing construction is constrained by regulatory barriers, high costs, and fewer public resources. In addition to the 100,000-unit shortfall per year in new construction, some of the housing challenges facing the state include:
- Lack of supply and rising costs are compounding growing inequality and limiting advancement opportunities for younger Californians. Without intervention much of the housing growth is expected to overlap significantly with disadvantaged communities and areas with less job availability,
- Continued sprawl will decrease affordability and quality of life while increasing transportation costs.
- The majority of Californian renters — more than 3 million households — pay more than 30 percent of their income toward rent, and nearly one-third — more than 1.5 million households — pay more than 50% of their income toward rent.
- Overall homeownership rates are at their lowest since the 1940s.
- California is home to 12 percent of the nation’s population, but a disproportionate 22 percent of the nation’s homeless population.
- For California’s vulnerable populations, discrimination and inadequate accommodations for people with disabilities are worsening housing cost and affordability challenges.
- Reforming land use policies to advance affordability, sustainability, equity.
- Addressing housing and access needs for vulnerable populations through greater inter-agency coordination, program design, and evaluation.
- Investing in affordable home development and rehabilitation, rental and homeownership assistance, and community development.