I haven’t made it through either the City Council meeting video for Friday nor Monday’s Planning Board meeting quite yet. But I did start watching the PB meeting and got as far as a public commenter on the Alameda Marina study session agenda item claim that no one he knows wants any new housing at all. In fact, everyone he knows hates all the new development. On top of that while everyone is talking about affordable housing, what about affordable industrial space?
My first thought was, maybe expand your social network and find some people who do want development because they’re on the cusp of losing the housing they’re currently in and any additional supply would help ease pressure off the demand. Maybe also read about how California is ranked lead last for new homeowners to currently buy homes. Even though some people would tell young people today that they just need to work harder, save more, and stop spending money on Starbucks the reality is that the attitude of “we have enough housing, stop developing” has a cost on future generations.
According to a recent analyst report from Bankrate.com, California is the hardest state in the nation for people to buy their first home.
Since first-time home buyers are overwhelmingly younger people, the long-term results will have an enormous impact on the economic prospects of the next generation — and possibly even the future demographics of the state.
“Would-be home buyers in expensive markets are caught in a bind,” wrote Bell. “The only way to get away from surging rents is to save up a down payment, but the rising rents keep them from saving.”
What will happen to California if the current generation of young people can’t afford to put down roots here?
The potential prospects are grim: an aging population, fewer workers, less economic growth, lower tax receipts, and less of the social dynamism that comes from having a variety of ages participating in the California dream.
What’s the solution you ask? Well it’s definitely not “don’t build here.” Chronicle continued:
[A] new UC Berkeley study pointed out that building the right kind of new housing — denser housing in urbanized areas near transit — would be one of the best ways for California to meet our 2030 climate goals without sacrificing economic growth.
“An infill-focused housing growth scenario provides the best outcomes for meting the state’s climate goals while also producing economic benefits,” wrote the authors of the study, who are scholars at UC Berkeley’s Terner Center for Housing Innovation and the Center for Law, Energy and the Environment.
The “target” California officials should aim for, according to the study’s authors, is a scenario by which all new development occurs in infill areas of California and far more of the development is multifamily housing. This strategy could avert at least 1.79 million metric tons of greenhouse gases annually compared to California’s development patterns of 2000-15.
As a bonus, the study notes that the average household would see lower overall monthly costs — and renters would see the most cost benefit.
Renters would be able to save money — for say, a down payment — and the development of more multifamily housing would create more market opportunities for first-time home buyers.
Or we can continue to claim that “Everyone belongs here” when what we means is that everyone with money or had the opportunity to purchase their home decades ago belongs here.