Tuesday, December 05, 2017

Special report: Can we build our way out of the housing crisis? - The San Diego Union-Tribune

Special report: Can we build our way out of the housing crisis? - The San Diego Union-Tribune: "San Diego County should be awash in new housing projects.

Unemployment is low and wages are rising. Many millennials are marrying, having children and aiming to buy. Their parents want to downsize.

But the market is not responding.

Last year only about 10,000 housing units were approved, and most were for rent, not for-sale homes and condos."

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The article suggests that anti-growth sentiments and lack of land zoned residential are the main problems, along with developers being afraid that if they build condos or HOA housing, the association will sue them for construction defects. I'm just spitballing here, but maybe they could try building them without defects, instead of cutting corners and lobbying for the legislature to take away the right of consumers to sue.

Thanks to Fred Pilot for the link.

1 comment:

Deborah Goonan said...

Evan, I agree with you on the construction quality issue. Developers need to stop building crap, just to guarantee a minimum 10% markup on their costs to build.

Local government has to seriously look for ways to cut the cots of land and permitting. Clearly, handing out permits and requiring inspections is not reducing or controlling the prevalence of defective or shoddy construction, as well as health and safety hazards.

Here’s a thought. I bet that if the local government had to be held accountable for the quality and longevity of construction standards, and also had to perform ongoing maintenance and repair, they’d be a heck of a lot more careful about what gets built and how well the job is done.

How about this - Instead of subsidizing developers and homebuilders of “affordable” housing, how about giving a financial subsidy directly to the buyer at closing? Or have non-profit organizations or (gasp!) the government build housing for the low end of the market. Take 10% right off the top of the sale price.

As for the market not supplying the type of housing that is needed — I agree. There are plenty of would-be homebuyers who do NOT want to give up private property rights and compromise their civil liberties and lifestyle choices just to own a home. Unfortunately, in a common interest community, property rights are limited and personal freedom is curtailed by CC&Rs. Build a LOT more homes without common interest of any kind. That can be done with detached homes on narrow lots or even townhomes, with a bit more effort. We know it can be done, because independently owned “row homes” have been around since at least the 19th century.

And then there’s the affordability issue. Who wants to pay HOA and condo assessments on top of already high property taxes? And that does not count all the unpredictable special assessments and annual increases in assessments from the CIC.