Blogging Bayport Alameda

February 11, 2020

Not enough housing

Filed under: Alameda — Lauren Do @ 6:01 am

Because even when we have studies about the shortage in housing there will always be a chorus of folks who seem to think that we don’t need to add supply to help alleviate the burden.

Most recently the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard released a report which, surprisingly, concluded that the rental housing market is tight across all incomes.   But it’s not just people at the low end of the income spectrum having trouble, it’s also middle income folks as well.   From US News and World Report:

While low-income Americans have struggled for years with housing costs, the report finds the challenges of paying rent each month are creeping up the income ladder, causing middle-income Americans to feel the pinch.

The increase in renting among high-income, older and larger households, in particular – driven in part by the rising costs of homeownership – translates to shortages in affordable rental housing in both rural and urban areas across the country, the report said. With higher-income households contributing to much of the growth in rental demand since 2010, development has shifted toward meeting the upper end of the market, often in central city locations that then become unaffordable to middle- and low-income households.

And having tenant protections is not enough to keep rent burdened families from homelessness, from the report:

Despite these tenant protections, however, homelessness is again on the rise. After falling for six straight years, the number of people experiencing homelessness nationwide turned up in 2016–2018, to 552,830. Much of this reversal reflects an 18,110 jump in the number of homeless individuals living outside or in places not intended for human habitation, with particularly large increases in the high-cost states of California, Oregon, and Washington. Amid this growing need, the federal homeless support system declined by about 2,200 beds in 2017–2018, marking the first decrease in at least 10 years.

Also interestingly, from the report, is the higher income families have joined the renter market because it’s become increasingly difficult in some areas to buy a home.  If you look at Alameda right now there are only 31 homes on the market and only five homes are below $600K.

From the report:

Since then, however, high-income households have become the primary source of rental demand, driving more than three-quarters of growth in 2010–2018. Indeed, the number of high income renter households rose by 45 percent over this period while the number of low-income renter households actually declined by just over 5 percent.


And all those higher income renters come at a cost to lower income renters, from the report:

The long-term stagnation of real incomes, rising rents, and growing inequality make it difficult for low-income renters to compete for housing they can afford. These conditions may also be preventing low income individuals from forming and sustaining their own households. In fact, the number of renter households with incomes under $30,000 fell by nearly one million between 2010 and 2018.

If we don’t do more for all income levels we’re going to see low income folks get pushed out even farther as landlords peg their rents to the market rate knowing that there are more high income households ready to outbid their lower income counterparts.


  1. Economists state that rising housing prices, rents, and shortages are also directly correlated to our 2.2 million residents here without proper immigration papers. AG Barr just filed federal lawsuits seeking to stop sanctuary cities and states from defying federal immigration law. Maybe this will help better enforcement of our laws, and thus help alleviate the housing crisis.

    Comment by Nowyouknow — February 11, 2020 @ 9:08 am

    • I have an idea to help in a small way to ease the housing crisis in California, we could all get together and help nowyouknwnothing to move out of state, don’t know if it would make a huge impact, but you have to start somewhere.

      Comment by trumpisaracist — February 11, 2020 @ 11:05 am

    • It is not the 2.2 million residences here without proper immigration papers, it is we just don’t have enough housing. If people stopped having kids 20 years ago the problem would be stopped. Neither is the answer. Trump has deported many and the only difference it made is the prices in the grocery store. No one wants to pick fruit or vegetables for 10 hours a day for minimum wage. The population of California went from 35.1 million in the last census and is estimated to be at 39.5 as of July 2019. My old boss has 8 kids, my sister has 4, Trump has 5…

      Comment by joelsf — February 11, 2020 @ 11:06 am

      • I forgot to mention my grandparents had 16 kids and I have 80+ cousins who had kids who kids are now having kids. The last family reunion there were like 200 and 1/2 of us didn’t go.

        Comment by joelsf — February 11, 2020 @ 11:14 am

    • The facts are these, and widely published from multiple sources and in plain site for all…. For the past eight years, the Bay Area has produced, on average, about 100k jobs annually and produced about 15k housing units – a 7/1 ratio. The Bay Area is choking on our economic, jobs driven, success story. For those seeking to confirm their bias’, especially so the patently false and preposterous claims that immigration, not jobs, is driving the housing crisis, then no facts will matter. For those who care about real life……Now-you-know……

      Comment by Randy Rentschler — February 11, 2020 @ 11:48 am

    • If you had to cite AG Barr to support your statement, perhaps it is not credible.

      Something tells me that undocumented immigrants are not snapping up $1 million houses in Alameda.

      Comment by JRB — February 11, 2020 @ 1:08 pm

    • I asked you before to cite real economists and you couldn’t. Want to try again?

      Comment by BC — February 11, 2020 @ 3:01 pm

    • Link to source?

      Comment by Dj — February 12, 2020 @ 6:25 am

    • Link to source, please.

      Comment by Dj — February 12, 2020 @ 6:25 am

  2. We need to discuss two big issues. Empty properties and population growth. When we worship both the accumulation of wealth at any human cost and families who have 20 children we are not serious about affecting this. Immigration will continue to increase as global warming causes, for instance, the drought and deluge that has caused the plague of locusts across Africa. When it hits India, billions of people will be on the move.

    Comment by Dj — February 12, 2020 @ 6:23 am

    • Folks need to resist conflating two separate things. The Bay Area Housing crisis was decades in the making and the result of a booming job creating economy and reluctance/intensives (lots and lots of them) on the part of local government to build housing. Period. Full Stop.

      As well, absent immigration, and for sure, the children of immigrants, the US population would decline. This is math. The current birth rate in the US is less than 2.1 per woman and has been since about 1970. So, while economist/social scientists might argue about the consequences at a macro, or micro scale, for example, could Google/Apple/Facebook/all other employers, succeed without immigrants, etc.,…. and all is super important, but are completely SEPARATE issues in real life at the scale of the Bay Area housing market. On empty properties. This is silliness and not even close to a ‘big issue’. SF has about 1/4 of all empty properties and the Bay Area total is only 46k against a housing stock of 2.3 million. It matters enough so folks toss it on the wall to see if it might stick is all. Do people not have the internet? Oh they must in order to post here…..Geezzzz already….

      Comment by Randy Rentschler — February 12, 2020 @ 1:41 pm

      • Of the 46,000 vacant properties, a lot of them are on the market. People think just because they are empty someone should be living there, but if it is for sale you are better off without tenants. In Alameda, they are going to have hundreds of vacant apartments/condos soon but they are still building them and I sure they will go quickly. Where I grew up they would build new homes and those who could afford them moved into them leaving their old homes on the market which were affordable. That doesn’t work here because of the shortage of housing and prop 13. We are finally under the prop 13 vail so even though our house is worth 2 million we only pay taxes on 1.2 million. My friend’s parents in law died and the house is probably is worth a couple million (gold coast) but they pay taxes on $58,000 and rent it out. Even though I benefit now from prop 13 it should go and we should build more housing stock.

        Comment by joelsf — February 12, 2020 @ 7:50 pm

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