California is Building Less Than Half Of New Homes Needed

To accommodate its growing population, by 2025 California will have to build as many as 3.5 million new homes.  But based on the number of permits issued in recent years, fewer than half of the needed homes will be built.

Orange County Register and the Southern California News Group (SCNG) reported that nearly half of all California cities and counties are falling short in all of four income-level categories of new housing permits, while nearly all (97 percent!) are not meeting their goals for permits as laid out in the Regional Housing Needs Assessment (RHNA, pronounced reena).  And although 45 percent of jurisdictions are issuing enough upper-income housing permits, only 22 percent are issuing enough new permits for low-income housing.

Problems with low-income permits, in particular, arise from a “not in my backyard” (NIMBY) attitude.  Current residents often oppose the inevitable taller buildings and crowded parking that come with growing population density, so they elect officials who support keeping things the way they are.

Critics of RHNA note that state laws don’t leave much room for local residents to make decisions about housing needs in their own communities, and question whether goals are set based on actual needs or just politics.  RHNA, however, is mostly voluntary, with very little in the way of penalties for municipalities that don’t meet their goals.

Local officials of areas that fall short of their new permit goals argue that they are not the ones doing the actual building.  On the other hand, many may have difficult approval processes or restrictive zoning laws that discourage potential builders from applying for permits. 

To ward off a housing crisis of historic proportions, it’s clear that California state, county and city governments are going to have to work together to fund infrastructure, increase population density minimums, change zoning requirements, reduce fees, and otherwise encourage attainable housing for their residents.

Like this article?

Share on facebook
Share on Facebook
Share on twitter
Share on Twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on Linkdin
Share on pinterest
Share on Pinterest
Share on email
Share on reddit
Share on print
Share on google

Leave a comment

What’s Happening in the News: Late November, 2020

This week, we look at how consumers feel about buying a home, vs. how many homes are actually being sold, vs. the affordability of available homes. There’s also a surprising concession from the Fed on climate change, and an encouraging forecast on how we can get to net-zero, fast.

Read More »

Having an Attainable Home, at the end of the day, is an idea. An idea that everyone has the right and the chance to work hard, live comfortably, and have prosperity throughout their life, and we’re happy to say that it’s still possible.

Subscribe to our news & updates

Attainable Home's content is for educational and informational purposes only and should not be taken as professional legal or financial advice. If you feel you need advice, you must consult a professional licensed in the appropriate field. While we do our best to keep these updated, things can change sometimes. Our primary purpose is to help others by providing great content and resources, and we may also have relationships and sources listed on the website that may result in compensation to our company in some form, as our company needs to be financially sustainable by paying all authors well and supporting the online systems. All views and writing are also solely the opinions of the authors and may or may not fully represent the view of the company's.