High Demand, not enough Houses: Bay Area

Source:(2040.planbayarea.org)

High Demand, not enough Houses: Bay Area

Consequences of Housing Crisis

The housing crisis in California has affected many individuals and families across the state. With the average cost of a house rising to a whopping $500,000 California and in particular the Bay Area have become one of the most expensive places to live in the entire country. With house prices doubling the national average cost, more and more Californians have found it very difficult to afford living in the Golden State.

California in the past years has seen its homelessness levels rise and this in large part is due to the housing crisis the state finds itself in. While the middle class is fighting to hold on, those in the lower class have run out of time and options. The Real Estate Market has pushed them out of their houses and into the streets. Those who are lucky enough find themselves moving into trailer parks where living prices are a little more reasonable.

Other Bay Area residents have found themselves relocating to more affordable areas and accepting longer commutes to work because they are just unable to afford living in the Bay. In many cases people are having to drive a couple hours to get to work and this has become a big issue for the state as longer commutes mean more damage to the environment.

To put in perspective how bad the housing crisis is in the Bay Area, nurses like Heather Lile from Manteca, CA for example who makes six figures a year are forced to move out of the Bay Area because she was unable to afford housing. If people making what is considered to be very good money aren’t able to afford to live in the Bay Area how do we expect the middle and lower class to do so.

The Problem

Every year the population of the Bay Area is in constant growth and there are many things that can be attributed for such growth. But probably none bigger than Silicon Valley and the numerous job opportunities that it offers to tech enthusiasts. Many people from all around California and the world move to the Bay Area looking to take advantage of the fact that the Bay is home to many start up and global tech companies.

These tech companies offer some of the best paying jobs across the nation and are always looking to hire. In a recent project done by the Silicon Valley Community Foundation and the Silicon Valley Leadership group it was found that between 2010 and 2015 they helped create roughly 367,000 jobs.

The problem with this is that in between these same years only about 57,000 homes were built in the Bay Area. It is completely reasonable to assume that a person with a job in the Bay Area would want to live close to work. So, when you have a vast amount of people demanding to buy or rent homes in an established market like the Bay Area and there is no building nor initiative to build new homes to allocate these individuals the Real Estate Market is bound to take advantage of such demand and housing prices will skyrocket.

In order to control the growth disparity, the state is responsible for the construction of new houses with accordance to the estimated population growth within the next few years. But many studies have indicated that they haven’t been doing a very good job of implementing this in places like the Bay Area. More studies have also brought up a big problem that exists in the Bay Area and that over the years has been a key contributor to the housing crisis. Cities that house some of the wealthiest people in the Bay Area and that tend to be white dominant are trying to minimize the building of housing for middle and lower income Californians.

Getting out of this Crisis

Bay Area residents are tired of the housing crisis and are demanding that the state take action to help change things around and make housing accessible for all groups of people. The first solution to this would be the construction of new houses across the Bay to help catch up to the population growth. It is said that around 200,000 homes would have to be built yearly to keep up with such growth.

The senate and Governor Jerry Brown must pass bills that can help the current crisis. Bills like Senate Bill 2,3 and 35 that would help construct houses faster and more affordably but also make it much more difficult for cities like those in the Bay Area to negate the construction of affordable houses. If passed Senate Bill 2 would raise roughly $250 million a year by asserting fees on all sorts of real estate documentation and home refinancing. That money would go toward the construction of new and affordable houses. On the other hand, Senate Bill 3 is meant to place a fund bond of $3 billion in the 2018 ballot that would help construct affordable housing. While Senate Bill 35 would help make the building process much easier. Also require counties and its cities to forget about plans of using free land that don’t solely focus on building affordable houses.

Implementing certain sanctions, laws and fees to the Real Estate Market would also help prevent another housing crisis. The market would be unable to take advantage of its citizens at a time of crisis. The construction of taller buildings to allocate individuals is also a possibility but only if they are made affordable for everyone. In the last couple of years, the Bay Area has directed its efforts to improve transportation to help commuters. Although it’s a good first step it will take more funds and time to reach the ultimate goal. With better transportation, the Bay Area hopes people will be more willing to relocate to developing areas instead of being jammed up in the Bay.

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