Coastal California is notorious for its high housing costs. And to residents of beach communities like Encinitas, it’s not all that confounding. People like to live by the coast, after all.
But that doesn’t explain it all.
“There is a particular sense that a particular community can plead that it’s not our fault that housing is so expensive here,” said William Fischel, an economics and legal studies professor at Dartmouth College. “On one hand, they’re right. You can’t have an expensive place if people don’t want to live there, but you also make the problem worse, by limiting supply through environmental regulations or NIMBY land use policies.”
Among those so-called NIMBY (shorthand for “not in my backyard”) land use policies are zoning decisions that restrict how many homes can be built on a given piece of property.
In a March study he co-wrote on statewide housing costs for the California Legislative Analyst’s Office, Brian Uhler found home prices in the state are 150 percent more than the national average – $440,000 versus $180,000.
Uhler found policies that restrict building new housing are a big reason why.
Support Independent Journalism Today
I own/live in that denser subdivision by Santa Fe and Lake [the 10/110 graphic], and it is called Park Place. It is about 420+ homes, a mix of primarily twinhomes, and a small percentage of townhomes. I am also on the board of the HOA.
The 10 new homes built there START at $2.2 million dollars. The model home they show is listed at $3.3 million. The developer built them with the stated purpose of building luxury homes with larger than normal yards, because that's what the rich people "wanted." Funny how that gets done here, but yet Encinitas City Hall still 'struggles' to comply with the low-income housing laws.
NIMBY is right. Nothing will get done, because virtually everyone who lives here does not want their own property value to go down, which would invariably happen were any high-density development to actually occur. Sadly, the only way change will actually occur is if the state MAKES coastal towns change.
@Gregory Hay "virtually everyone who lives here does not want their own property value to go down, which would invariably happen were any high-density development to actually occur."
Can you provide a modern day example of property values going down when a high density (preferably under 5 stories) development was built?
@Derek Hofmann If I had access to such data, sure.
All of the examples in the article apply to owner occupied, upper middle class housing. For the 60% of the population that are low and moderate income, the "increase supply" approach is not a solution by itself. People making $10 to $12 an hr. cannot afford to buy a home, even if there are 2 wage earners. These people need affordable rental housing, not market rate rentals that go for $2,000+ per month, and certainly not condos. These needed rental units, which are never the highest and best use, can only be built through government mandated inclusionary zoning or heavy government subsidies
The Real issue is income inequality…. Business is Pay less because this is a nice place to live... Developers think they need to make a lot of money
And do we want to be LA???
If Encinitas were to allow 4-story multifamily housing with fewer required parking spaces per dwelling unit on narrower streets with shallower setbacks and narrower street frontages, would that finally allow the market to build affordable housing?
@Derek Hofmann It would be horrific to allow housing/apartments to build anything with fewer required parking spaces. IMO, that is the #1 for any development, to make sure the space is actually usable and livable. If you are constantly fighting to find parking spots (see most SD neighborhoods south of the 8), then it becomes stressful to live or even visit.
@Gregory Hay Which of those neighborhoods do NOT have price ceilings on parking? Are you aware that shortages, such as the shortages of parking you describe, are caused by price ceilings?
@Derek Hofmann: "Are you aware that shortages, such as the shortages of parking you describe, are caused by price ceilings?"
I'm honestly not even sure if I understand what that means. Are you saying that making developers including sufficient parking in their buildings would cause housing price increases? If so, are you also saying that that permanent parking hassles for the entire surrounding areas would be worth it, in order to make the initial purchase price fractionally lower? That seems like a logical and worthwhile trade-off to you?
@Gregory Hay "Are you saying that making developers including sufficient parking in their buildings would cause housing price increases?"
No, developers don't need to be forced to build sufficient parking. In the absence of parking maximums, they already build as much as the market wants and is willing to pay for--in other words, they already build sufficient parking. But forcing them to build more parking than that is what artificially raises the price of housing.
@Derek Hofmann… ah, you're a classic libertarian. Which means you don't believe what actually happens in the real world. You just think that 'what the market will bear' is a realistic benchmark, no matter human nature, or (more importantly) what the long-term effects are on things/people.
I actually believe in a majority of the libertarian *principles*. HOWEVER, principles almost never play out in the real world. THIS IS TRUE OF ANY PURE POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY. And this is true here as well.
To be clear… virtually ANY developer will NOT CARE what the market wants in terms of parking. They want to build as little as possible and sell at the most possible. Bad parking planning, for example, will not be apparent to a property buyer. Plus, if not enough parking is required by regulations, it will not be apparent to any buyer. (Or neighbors, who wouldn't even have a single voice in the sale or building of property.) It would only become apparent AFTER the sale was complete, and people moved in, and streets were flooded with cars.
And guess what. The developer wouldn't care, because he/she already made their money, and are LONG GONE.
And that my friends, is what is wrong with blindly instituting Libertarian policies. They just don't take human nature into account.
@Gregory Hay "virtually ANY developer will NOT CARE what the market wants in terms of parking."
Of course they care. They're greedy, so they will build as much parking as what makes sense financially. If it costs $10,000 to build a parking space and they estimate that it will raise the value of the property by at least $10,001, then they will build it. So you can be certain that they will satisfy market demand for parking, because they're greedy.
Of course the neighbors will want the developer to build even more parking than that, but only because they (those neighbors) won't have to pay for it. It's human nature for them to be just as greedy as the developers.
"It would only become apparent AFTER the sale was complete, and people moved in, and streets were flooded with cars."
Then the only thing the neighbors would have to do is make it parking by permit only, and set the fee just high enough to eliminate the shortage. Ideally, they should be allowed to keep and evenly split all the parking revenue collected on their street so that the fees don't become an economic burden to them. Grandma with just one car that she parks in her driveway wouldn't have to pay anything but would still get a share of the revenue. And as a bonus, this would disincentivize mini-dorms who would have to pay their neighbors extra for street parking. So it all works out nicely.
@Derek Hofmann… wait, fees? Permits? Are you sure you're libertarian?