Commentary: Someone Opposes Everything When It Comes To Housing

Photo tweeted by Senator Toni Atkin

By David M. Greenwald
Executive Editor

Davis, CA – Reading the study out of Berkeley yesterday it seems to me that SB 9 will not lead to people’s worst fears with regards to the destruction of single family neighborhoods.  SB 9 also will not solve our housing crisis, but if the projections are correct, it will lead to additional units being built.

But reading the comments, it’s clear that any solution will be opposed.  And every change will be a battle – at least locally.

There is – as one commenter pointed out – a history that single family zoning has been used as exclusionary zoning.  One of the big problems today – and this gets to the point about structural racism – at this point I don’t believe that most people are opposed to zoning changes because of fear of others coming into their neighborhood – although we do see that attitude with respect to concerns about putting affordable housing into existing neighborhoods, even though in places like Davis, affordable housing could mean people making $25 to $60 thousand per year.

The problem with single family zoning is that it de facto keeps low income people out of neighborhoods which in fact and not by law, excludes many low income people and by extension people of color.

That’s systemic or structural racism and not necessarily based on individual level bias.

A few things really struck me though.  One person rejecting the notion that “that in and of itself is racism,” wrote, “I see it as densism.  We don’t want it more dense, not any direct exclusion of a group that has a lower percentage of people who are able to afford homes.”

Again – that view has a disparate effect on housing.

But there is an even bigger problem.  This particular person does not want additional density.  That is one mechanism to reduce costs of housing.  You simply have small units which makes the housing less expensive.  You add to supply which at the very least will slow the growth of housing costs.

How do you then address affordability?  Well this particular person is also against subsidized big “A” affordable housing.  So now you have cut out two possible remedies to affordability – affordability by design and affordability by subsidy.

Now this person is opposed to Measure J.  But while Measure J is constraining supply, without increasing density you are not going to produce affordability through the market alone.

Bottom line there is I don’t see how we can address the concerns about affordability and without addressing affordability, you have exclusionary housing de facto if not technically de jure.

That is not the only problem here.

A lot of people in Davis are generally opposed to peripheral housing, but believe we can solve our housing shortfalls through density and infill.  There are some who are opposed to solving through density and infill and instead would like to remove Measure J and allow more peripheral development.

But there is at least one commenter – maybe more – who is opposed to both infill/ densification and Measure J.  It appears that they argue that California is not growing anymore and therefore, we don’t need to add housing.  Or if we do add housing, add it in communities that want to grow.

The problem here – (A) housing in not affordable and you cannot address affordability without new housing.  (B) Most experts believe that the population decline was a one-off.  And that population will rebound after last year’s decline, even though the overall growth rate is slow.  (C) Growth is uneven with people moving out of the expensive areas like the Bay Area and towards less expensive areas like the valley and the foothills.

If you look at point (C) one of the key problems is that housing unaffordability is driving the population movement and declines in some areas.

Bottom line: growth is a function of affordability and affordability cannot be solved without additional housing supplies.

Finally one commenter appears to oppose SB 9 because of concerns about near-neighbor effects of densification.

The analysis in the Berkeley study would seem to preclude much of that concern.  It is not very cost-effective to redevelop on a large scale and their model finds that very few existing single-family homes will be redeveloped in this way.

Moreover, while you can under the terms of SB 9 create split lots and duplexes by-right, there will still be existing zoning protections on size and scale that should be sufficient along with simple economics to protect existing homeowners.

There is a clear tension here between the need to allow less economically advantaged people to have access to housing they can support and protection for those who already own housing in their neighborhoods.

This sets up a battle between those who having housing and those who don’t.

It seems to me that we can offer some forms of protection while still allowing for us to begin to break down the exclusive zoning policies that have created dramatic disparities in wealth and acted as de facto barriers for people of color and lower and middle income people to have access to reasonably affordable housing.

In short it is not clear to me what the near-neighbor impact actually is assuming you can reasonably control size and scale of the new housing.

What is clear to me is that we are now stuck in a place – at least in Davis and probably elsewhere in the state – where no matter what we do, someone is going to oppose it.

So then what?

About The Author

David Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

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56 Comments

    1. Keith Olsen

      Yup, someone opposes everything about just about everything.  From street names, to police, to vaccines and so on and son on…

      I think one could just as easily say why are people opposing those who want to keep the zoning in their neighborhood the same as when they purchased their home?  Is that because “someone opposes everything”, or does that only work one way?

        1. Keith Olsen

          Yup, the same gymnastics you used when you wrote the article. I just turned it back on you.  So are you going to answer my question, does that only work one way?  Why are you opposing those who want to keep the zoning the same as when they purchased their home?

          1. David Greenwald

            My point in this piece is that there is no path to housing that is affordable without breaking some eggs so to speak.

          2. David Greenwald

            I wrote: ” it’s clear that any solution will be opposed” and I will point out, status quo is not a solution, it is a perpetuation of the problem.

            So let’s have you put some substance down – what is YOUR solution to the problem of affordability?

        2. Matt Williams

          My point in this piece is that there is no path to housing that is affordable without breaking some eggs so to speak.

          David, be honest, there is no path to housing that is affordable … no path at all.  That ship has already sailed here in California.

          The only way to accomplish your goal is through massive State of California housing subsidies.

        3. Bill Marshall

          Matt… there is a path towards affordable housing… but it would be rental, smaller size, less ‘amenities’… but it could be basic shelter, basic needs, no ‘bells and whistles’… but not sure folk are willing to go down that path.

          Seems everyone wants everything, at a price that is below cut-rate prices…

        4. Keith Olsen

          Seems everyone wants everything, at a price that is below cut-rate prices…

          And they demand to live where they want, regardless if they can afford it or not.

        5. Bill Marshall

          And they demand to live where they want, regardless if they can afford it or not.

          Duh, that’s part of “everything”, as I already said… already covered that…

          Perhaps a better headline for the topic would be, “Someone opposes everything, and someone wants/demands everything…”

        6. Richard_McCann

          Matt

          Housing in California became much more affordable after the 2008 market crash. The best affordability metric is the % of households that can afford a new house. In 2007, it was down to 16% (I used the number in a utility rate case.) I could dig up the post 2008 index and it reached 56% in 2o12 because the effective housing supply increased due to foreclosures. Currently, the affordability index is at 27% (https://car.sharefile.com/share/view/s9aad8a3f14e49db9)

        7. Keith Olsen

          Duh, that’s part of “everything”, as I already said… already covered that…

          LOL, so hey everyone, when BM says “everything” anything you might add has already been covered with his “everything”.  Remember that…

    2. Richard_McCann

      The question is about how should democracy be applied? Who should be allowed into the universe of decision makers? Should a locality or a state be able to implement exclusionary or discriminatory policies? Should a larger group be able to impose policies on smaller groups or localities? Simply resorting to the answer “locals should be able to completely control local decisions” doesn’t address the bigger questions. That leads down the logical path that we shouldn’t even have a nation or a state–but that ignores the reality that localities rely on the benefits and revenues that come from the federal and state governments.

  1. Bill Marshall

    You miss an important point, David… it appears some equate affordable housing with affordable “ownership” housing… and although it might be ok to have it be smaller in sq ft-age, it needs to have all the amenities including great internet, solar self-sufficiency, etc., etc.

    Both sides of the issue put so many “boundary conditions” on their visions, there can be no ‘solution’, unless folk are willing to lower expectations and compromise… that appears not to be a ‘happening thing’…

  2. Ron Oertel

    So let’s have you put some substance down – what is YOUR solution to the problem of affordability?

    I’ve recently heard it said that the solution to higher prices is higher prices.  In other words, folks start weighing their options as prices rise beyond the point that they’re willing or able to pay. In fact, that’s exactly what’s occurring in the broader housing market right now – leading to a slowdown in sales (and ultimately – prices).

    And that includes moving to cheaper areas, as one of the options.  Again, a reason that so many moved to Davis from more expensive areas in the first place.

    That is how supply-and-demand works.

    Of course, you can also look at the reasons for “increased demand” in a particular area, which is consistently ignored by those pushing for more growth.

    This sets up a battle between those who having housing and those who don’t.

    It sets up a battle between those who want to house more (undefined) non-residents (both in terms of actual numbers and reason), vs. those who don’t necessarily see that as a city responsibility.

    The analysis in the Berkeley study would seem to preclude much of that concern.  It is not very cost-effective to redevelop on a large scale and their model finds that very few existing single-family homes will be redeveloped in this way.
    The problem here – (A) housing in not affordable and you cannot address affordability without new housing. 

    So, which is it?  Pick a lane.

    (C) Growth is uneven with people moving out of the expensive areas like the Bay Area and towards less expensive areas like the valley and the foothills.

    And, some seem to want to go out of their way to purposefully accommodate that.  The opposite of what the state claims to be pursuing. And yet, no one seems to be asking state officials about this.

     

     

     

    1. Richard_McCann

      And that includes moving to cheaper areas, as one of the options.  Again, a reason that so many moved to Davis from more expensive areas in the first place. That is how supply-and-demand works.

      This statement ignores two important dimensions. First, the strongest economic regions are driven by local agglomeration around specific industries and technology centers. It’s simply not possible to earn the same income in Ripon as in Davis because Ripon doesn’t have a university that its funded by state tax revenues. The determination of housing location isn’t based on simplistic pricing, but also by the economic opportunities located near the housing.

      Second it ignores the environmental consequences of where the housing is located. When housing is located near employment, it reduces the total emissions from commuting. Housing employees working in the Davis area in a different community adds at least 4,000 miles per year in travel emissions.

      It sets up a battle between those who want to house more (undefined) non-residents (both in terms of actual numbers and reason), vs. those who don’t necessarily see that as a city responsibility.

      Since the vitality of Davis is almost entirely created by funding from other state residents, we have a responsibility to the rest of the state’s taxpayers to host and accommodate what’s needed for UCD to function. And UCD is a poor landlord so turning them for housing is a bad idea overall. There are those who believe that their personal rights come with no obligations, even though their lifestyles are subsidized from government funds. Such hypocrisy should not be tolerated.

      1. Ron Oertel

        This statement ignores two important dimensions. First, the strongest economic regions are driven by local agglomeration around specific industries and technology centers. It’s simply not possible to earn the same income in Ripon as in Davis because Ripon doesn’t have a university that its funded by state tax revenues. The determination of housing location isn’t based on simplistic pricing, but also by the economic opportunities located near the housing.

        There are cities other than Ripon and Davis, including many with a better-balance of wage income vs. housing prices than either of those places.

        Second it ignores the environmental consequences of where the housing is located. When housing is located near employment, it reduces the total emissions from commuting. Housing employees working in the Davis area in a different community adds at least 4,000 miles per year in travel emissions.

        Context?  Is this some kind of made-up figure? What employees?

        Since the vitality of Davis is almost entirely created by funding from other state residents, we have a responsibility to the rest of the state’s taxpayers to host and accommodate what’s needed for UCD to function.

        Uh huh, what about UCD’s duties?  How much money do they get, overall (from various sources – including government, tuition, etc.)?  How much do international students contribute, as well?  (Also, are they subsidized, as well?)

        And UCD is a poor landlord so turning them for housing is a bad idea overall.

        Says who?  And if so, what efforts have been made to “improve” that claimed situation?  And, “who” was actually behind a lot of those semi-successful efforts, while others sat on their collective arses and criticized the effort?

        There are those who believe that their personal rights come with no obligations, even though their lifestyles are subsidized from government funds. Such hypocrisy should not be tolerated.

        Are you referring to those who are receiving (delayed) rent bailouts from the government, for example?  While also being prevented from being evicted?

        Or, are you referring to those who earn a paycheck by working for UCD or government agencies?  Is that what you’re describing as a “subsidy”?

        Housing in California became much more affordable after the 2008 market crash. The best affordability metric is the % of households that can afford a new house. In 2007, it was down to 16% (I used the number in a utility rate case.) I could dig up the post 2008 index and it reached 56% in 2o12 because the effective housing supply increased due to foreclosures. Currently, the affordability index is at 27% (https://car.sharefile.com/share/view/s9aad8a3f14e49db9)

        Sounds like there’s quite a few disciples of the “buy high”, “sell low” strategy.  I’ve known folks like that, as well. The stock market is full of them.

         

      2. Richard_McCann

        There are cities other than Ripon and Davis, including many with a better-balance of wage income vs. housing prices than either of those places.

        I can give you a litany of Central Valley cities, I just picked Ripon to as a simple example. I’m not aware of any places in the Central Valley where there are strong job opportunities and low housing prices. You’re going to answer that they can move out of state, but that only moves them even further away from economic opportunity. Give us a list of those places in California that have a better balance or wage income and housing prices–it doubt they exist.

        Context?  Is this some kind of made-up figure? What employees?

        You’ve said that UCD employees can live in Woodland which is on average 10 miles away. They work 250 days a year (I made a mistake by assuming 200), so that’s 20 mile/day roundtrip times 250 which equals 5,000 miles a year.

        Uh huh, what about UCD’s duties?  How much money do they get, overall (from various sources – including government, tuition, etc.)?  How much do international students contribute, as well?  (Also, are they subsidized, as well?)

        The cumulative investment by state taxpayers in Davis is on the order of billions of dollars. International and out of state students are not subsidized at all–that’s why UC was pursuing them but is not capping them.  Over 40% of core funds come from the state: https://lao.ca.gov/Education/EdBudget/Details/338

        Says who?  And if so, what efforts have been made to “improve” that claimed situation?  And, “who” was actually behind a lot of those semi-successful efforts, while others sat on their collective arses and criticized the effort?

        Says me from watching UC mismanage its housing for 40+ years since I was an undergrad at Berkeley. I have worked in so many government institutional settings in my career that I’ve largely given up on supposed “reforms” being able to accomplish anything. Instead, we need to look at what works well in government (most education, roads, utility services, social services) and what doesn’t (housing).

        Are you referring to those who are receiving (delayed) rent bailouts from the government, for example?  While also being prevented from being evicted?

        Or, are you referring to those who earn a paycheck by working for UCD or government agencies?  Is that what you’re describing as a “subsidy”?

        I’m referring to those who live in a community funded by state taxpayers who then want to deny the concomitant responsibilities that come with that subsidy. (I’m also referring those in the Sage Brush Rebellion, and those who have received billions in subsidies for fossil fuel production or in crop price supports who deny that they have been receiving government supports of their lifestyles and refuse to either pay higher taxes or change their practices to be less environmentally damaging.)

        As to your examples. I don’t see either of these groups trying to claim that they don’t have any concomitant obligations. Tenants generally are willing to pay back rents on reasonable terms. (Just the balance of negotiating power changed.) And government employees are paying their taxes and fulfilling their obligations. What obligations are you claiming they are shirking in return for their paychecks?

         

         

        1. Ron Oertel

          I’m not aware of any places in the Central Valley where there are strong job opportunities and low housing prices.

          Probably every community in the Sacramento region except Davis has a somewhat better income vs. housing cost balance.  But no two communities are exactly the same regarding that.

          Sacramento is an “employment hub” for the bedroom communities which surround it.

          You’re going to answer that they can move out of state, but that only moves them even further away from economic opportunity. Give us a list of those places in California that have a better balance or wage income and housing prices–it doubt they exist.

          Austin.  Though housing prices are now rising there as well – as a result of the pursuit of the “usual suspect” (the technology industry).

          You’ve said that UCD employees can live in Woodland which is on average 10 miles away. They work 250 days a year (I made a mistake by assuming 200), so that’s 20 mile/day roundtrip times 250 which equals 5,000 miles a year.

          They do live there.  Again, Davis has no influence whatsoever, regarding what Woodland does.  UCD is not in Davis.  Davis has relatively few jobs.

          How many miles would they travel to UCD from a peripheral development that’s not currently in Davis (e.g., on the far east side of town)?  Also, are there inefficiencies of travel through town, vs. highway travel?

          How much more would the housing prices be in Davis (vs. Woodland), even if Davis approved another peripheral development?  Do you think that newcomers to the area consider that, based upon the income that they receive from employment at UCD or Sacramento, for example?

          The cumulative investment by state taxpayers in Davis is on the order of billions of dollars. International and out of state students are not subsidized at all–that’s why UC was pursuing them but is not capping them.  Over 40% of core funds come from the state: https://lao.ca.gov/Education/EdBudget/Details/338

          Yeah – probably should ask UCD what they’re doing with their money, and how they could use it to improve the situation for their “customers”.

          Says me from watching UC mismanage its housing for 40+ years since I was an undergrad at Berkeley.

          Sounds like you’re quite the authority.

          Are you not a fan of the agreement between the city and UCD, or do you think that UCD will ignore it?  (I understand that they’re actually abiding by it, so far.)

          I have worked in so many government institutional settings in my career that I’ve largely given up on supposed “reforms” being able to accomplish anything. Instead, we need to look at what works well in government (most education, roads, utility services, social services) and what doesn’t (housing).

          Sounds like you’re not a fan of Affordable housing, while simultaneously being a fan of government-provided “social services”.

          I’m referring to those who live in a community funded by state taxpayers who then want to deny the concomitant responsibilities that come with that subsidy.

          Again, those folks work for the money they receive.  It is not a “subsidy”.

          (I’m also referring those in the Sage Brush Rebellion, and those who have received billions in subsidies for fossil fuel production or in crop price supports who deny that they have been receiving government supports of their lifestyles and refuse to either pay higher taxes or change their practices to be less environmentally damaging.)

          I agree – there’s all kinds of government subsidies that are disgraceful.

          As to your examples. I don’t see either of these groups trying to claim that they don’t have any concomitant obligations. Tenants generally are willing to pay back rents on reasonable terms. (Just the balance of negotiating power changed.) And government employees are paying their taxes and fulfilling their obligations.

          Tenants do not have to “pay back” that subsidy.  I brought it up as an example of a subsidy, and (unlike those who work for UCD or government agencies), no services are expected in return. The only “obligation” they have is to fill out a form, and some apparently won’t even do that.

           

  3. Alan Miller

    But there is at least one commenter – maybe more – who is opposed to both infill/ densification and Measure J.

    There is at least one blogger here who is in favor of Measure J.

  4. Don Shor

    Manufactured homes are affordable. They cost substantially less than homes built on site, anywhere from 20 – 50% less per square foot.

    If there is a desire to provide a range of housing for a range of prices, then annexation and peripheral development is going to the be the only way to achieve that. It won’t happen with infill. If you oppose peripheral annexation, then you oppose increasing the diversity and affordability of housing types for Davis. The result will be steady change in demographics toward older, wealthier people and steady migration of new-home buyers out to Woodland and Dixon.

     

    1. Richard_McCann

      And increasing environmental impacts from commuters coming to UCD and other businesses here. Also, housing in those communities will likely not be as energy and water efficient due to differences in building codes and how they are enforced.

    2. Ron Oertel

      All of this sounds like an argument against DISC, unless one is also advocating for a lot more peripheral housing to go along with that. The complete lack of honesty regarding this is appalling.

       

      1. Don Shor

        All of this sounds like an argument against DISC, unless one is also advocating for a lot more peripheral housing to go along with that. The complete lack of honesty regarding this is appalling.

        I have not argued for DISC. I have repeatedly argued for peripheral annexation and development of housing.

        1. Ron Oertel

          I believe that you have argued for DISC, but the comment is not specifically directed to you.

          It is directed to all those who purposefully ignore drivers of “demand”, and advocate for a development that would create a situation which would exacerbate their own, stated concerns.

          Some seem to do so on purpose, as part of a broader scheme.

    3. Keith Y Echols

      Manufactured homes are affordable. They cost substantially less than homes built on site, anywhere from 20 – 50% less per square foot.

      You are correct that manufactured homes are more affordable.  But the term “manufactured home” is sort of an umbrella term for almost anything that isn’t traditional “sticks and bricks”.  Most think of manufactured homes as trailers and that does account for the vast majority of manufactured homes. But there are all kinds manufactured homes out there.  A buddy of mine that reads my comment here for amusement has a manufactured home building company.  He mostly builds out of the country but has just started to build in California.

      The problem comes from many of these manufactured homes components have to meet specific building code approvals at the local level.  So wide spread manufactured housing construction can be difficult.

      Also with mobile homes, often it becomes a bad financial decision for someone to buy one because they typically don’t own the land the home is on (which makes owning the home cheaper).  But costs go up for rental of the land for the manufactured home and the owners get stuck with little way out (contrary to their name, mobile homes aren’t really that mobile for most people).

    4. Bill Marshall

      Don… yes, true story… I’ve said it before, somewhat differently, but didn’t today…

      Manufactured homes are affordable. They cost substantially less than homes built on site, anywhere from 20 – 50% less per square foot.

      Rancho Yolo is a classic example… but it is different… owned ‘unit’, on a leased ‘space’… has worked for nearly 50 years, but they restricted it to ‘seniors’… folk could buy the ‘unit’, and get ‘appreciation’/equity, but they do not own the land… seems like a good compromise if one wants “affordable”…

      Have been in many of the RY units… they are nice, very livable, and meet even more than ‘basic’ needs…

      Manufactured housing (which goes beyond ‘mobile homes’, big time), whether full ownership, or like RY, should be a tool in the toolbox if one is serious…

      Just like manufactured “workplace”… I spent 1985-2011 in such a workplace when working for the City, in the Corp Yard… it was pretty fine… we didn’t even have hot water or restrooms, but we could walk to the main buildings (which were also ‘manufactured’) to access what was needful… spent 8-10 hours a day, 5 day/week, 52 mo/year, and no problemo… (I served 1979 to 1985 in one of the main manufactured building)…

      Yet there are many who would view folk living in manufactured housing as “trailer trash” (we considered that as a fun appellation for ourselves), and there is a long history of folk saying, “not anywhere near me”… I’ve always viewed them as ignorant elitists… and you’ll find them on both the ‘conservative’ and ‘progressive’ ends of the spectrum… I think Alan M has a fitting term for folk like that… as I recall, starts with an ‘a’, and ends with ‘ole’…

      Manufactured housing would not be my first choice, but had my circumstances been different, could have been comfortable with it…

      So, thank you, Don, for pointing out another ‘path’… one I could easily support…

  5. Keith Y Echols

     You add to supply which at the very least will slow the growth of housing costs.

    Holy Cannoli!  Are you still stuck on adding incremental supply will actually help with making housing prices more affordable?????  Incremental increases of housing that never come close to meeting demand INCREASE housing prices.   Let me try to put it another way.  You have two opposing economic forces at work.  A small increase in supply which should in theory alleviate home prices.  The other opposing economic force is GENTRIFICATION.  And I’m not just talking about going into an inner city and putting up new condos in a downtrodden area which forces out the locals.  I’m talking about the simple act of putting up nice brand spanking new homes which usually attracts more people with means into a community.  That overflows into the existing home sales and causes existing home prices to go up (if existing homes were going for $600K and new homes come in and sell for $800K than existing homes start selling for $650K).  Again, is a homebuilder going to build where they think where home prices won’t rise?  The more they get for their homes the more money they make.  Rising home prices also reduces their financial risk which also makes financing their projects far easier.

    Unless infrastructure greatly expands to support the mass production of new housing and possibly some federal guarantees for builders for spec homes….new market rate housing is not the answer to the need for affordable housing in communities.  Homebuilders will not massively built out new homes.  Not unless they can project RISING home prices…continued demand.  Standard procedure is to sell lots before homes are built.  It’s jut too dangerous to risk capital on the speculation that homes will sell for what you expect them to sell.  The second part of that is that it’s just too difficult to massively build out in most areas because of lack of infrastructure.  You have to risk capital to extend water and sewer lines.  There’s traffic mitigation (hello Mace blvd.) …you can’t just do that on spec.

    So that leaves us with two classes of homes: Market Rate and Below Market Rate Housing.  As I’ve said, I don’t think it’s easily possible to control market rate housing nor should you.  I’m also of the opinion that you shouldn’t build it unless it has a tangible benefit for the community.   Then there’s Below Market Rate (BMR) housing.  I think that communities need to come together to figure out how to allot how much BMR housing each community should build and define for whom and why they build it.  Does everyone that comes here just get a house?  Do they need to be employed in the community?  Do existing residents have a priority for BMR homes?

    And how do we create these BMR homes?  Inclusionary housing (forcing builders to create BMR homes in their new projects….increases market rate homes) can help the racial problems that some have insisted on inserting into the debate.  Housing vouchers are another solution.  IMO the best solution is publicly owned housing.  You can task/allow for profit builders to build affordable housing.  You can task/enforce non-profit builders to build affordable housing.

    You get the most bang for your publicly funded buck by creating public housing by non-profit builders.  Public housing became a problem in the 60’s and 70’s and policy shifted to making for profit builders build affordable housing.  The problem is that there’s still a profit motive in it which raises the home prices (both market rate and bmr).  Often times there’s a finite amount of time that a home stays below market rate before it can become market rate….therefore the stock of affordable housing decreases over time.  We have public schools which most kids go to.  Why is public housing reserved for the projects and the ghetto?  But moving towards having for profit builders build bmr housing is much like saying if the public schools aren’t good; let’s just encourage and subsidize for profit schools…which I believe is done to a degree with school vouchers which have come under fire.  Again, I do not believe the mixing of for profit schools and builders is an optimal use of funds to house and educate people in need of assistance.  I think the better solution is to improve public housing (not let them become barios, projects, slums and ghettos).

     

     

    1. Richard_McCann

      Keith

      Look at the affordability index that I posted. The issue is not to depress housing prices, but rather to slow the rate of increase so that incomes can catch up. That’s how the housing market has worked since after WWII. Yes large developments make this easier. Housing prices in Davis fell from 1990 to 1996 when Mace Ranch was built. (We bought a house in 1996 for less than the previous owners paid in 1990.)

      Do you have empirical evidence of your notion that small increases in supply increase prices faster than they would have otherwise? You are describing a potential income effect, but I haven’t heard of this type of effect except when a luxury home development is built.

      1. Ron Oertel

        Housing prices in Davis fell from 1990 to 1996 when Mace Ranch was built. (We bought a house in 1996 for less than the previous owners paid in 1990.)

        Gee, do you think that broader factors (beyond Davis) had anything to do with that?

        Real home prices peaked in 1989, the recession hit in 1990, home prices fell 7% from the peak until the end of 1990, the recession ended in the spring of 1991 but real U.S. home prices continued to fade for years until they bottomed out in 1997, down 14% from the 1989 peak eight years earlier.

        https://www.forbes.com/sites/johnwake/2018/11/02/the-next-housing-bust/?sh=5b90c20b18b7

        They were still building in Mace Ranch and Wildhorse well-after 1996, and well-after prices started rising. Is that “proof” that building more houses “cause” prices to rise?

         

        1. Richard_McCann

          Gee, do you think that broader factors (beyond Davis) had anything to do with that?

          In part, but we had also bought a house in West Sac in 1990 and sold in 1996 and the house had appreciated in value over that period.

          The majority of the buildout in those communities (as well as Evergreen and Northstar) was done before 1998.  Davis grew 50% between 1990 and 2000 and housing prices did not rise substantially in that period.

           

      2. Keith Y Echols

        Do you have empirical evidence of your notion that small increases in supply increase prices faster than they would have otherwise? 

        I ask you to find a community in CA where home prices decreased directly due to increased supply.  In CA lower prices happen because of decreased demand (which results in more supply).  I rely on my 15-20 years of land development and (and some home building) experience.

        You are describing a potential income effect, but I haven’t heard of this type of effect except when a luxury home development is built.

        It’s not income (though that’s part of it).  If you set a new high bar for pricing it’s going to raise all the other ships/home prices.  Put simply, selling new expensive homes means that area is desirable so the existing homes are more desirable which makes home prices go up.    New market rate homes almost always sell at the top and for a premium above comparable existing homes on the market.

        1. Richard_McCann

          I gave the example of Davis with its buildout from 1990 to 2000. So we have an example right here.

          And the 2008 Great Recession created excess supply (not reduced demand at people were still living in houses.) The foreclosures created more supply on the market.

          Regardless, there is no practical difference in effect in decreased demand and increased supply. The market is reciprocal in price effects.

        2. Ron Oertel

          I gave the example of Davis with its buildout from 1990 to 2000. So we have an example right here.

          And your example fails.  For one thing, you compared 1990 to 1996.

          You ignored the impacts of the recession during the 1990s (and subsequent recovery) on the broader housing market.  Even with the information staring you right in the face, above your comment.

          You also ignored the fact that housing construction continued in both Mace Ranch and Wildhorse, beyond that year. (And, prices started rising around 1999, as I recall – while significant construction was still occurring.)

          This rise in prices around that time was not limited to Davis.

           

        3. Keith Y Echols

          I gave the example of Davis with its buildout from 1990 to 2000. So we have an example right here.
          And the 2008 Great Recession created excess supply (not reduced demand at people were still living in houses.) The foreclosures created more supply on the market.

          Wait…what?  Did we experience those recessions differently?  Uh…what do you think created the excess supply?  Reduced demand.  People don’t buy houses.  There are more houses on the market.  More houses on the market mean more supply.  More supply equal falling prices.  But the CAUSE was not increased supply.  It was decreased demand.  For years builders sat on a massive “shadow inventory” of lots until the housing market came roaring back.  But at no point was supply created in excess that caused home prices to go down.  

           

          1. David Greenwald

            This is what Richard said; “Look at the affordability index that I posted. The issue is not to depress housing prices, but rather to slow the rate of increase so that incomes can catch up. ” I believe that’s what I stated as well. So this whole prices go down thing is a red herring. No one is arguing that.

        4. Keith Y Echols

          David: The issue is not to depress housing prices, but rather to slow the rate of increase so that incomes can catch up. ” I believe that’s what I stated as well. 

          Slowing the rate of increase is just about he same thing as decreasing prices.  And in fact the word I used was “affordable” which should cover both decreased housing AND slowing down increasing home prices.

           Keith: Are you still stuck on adding incremental supply will actually help with making housing prices more AFFORDABLE.  

          Stop trying to be cute with the red herring comment and just accept that adding incremental housing supply is a poor solution (and in fact often gets the opposite results of better home affordability) to housing affordability.

           

    2. Don Shor

      You get the most bang for your publicly funded buck by creating public housing by non-profit builders.

      I would expect that to be a mandated component of any peripheral annexation for housing development. It’s impractical for infill, as you know.

  6. Ron Glick

    McCann: “Since the vitality of Davis is almost entirely created by funding from other state residents, we have a responsibility to the rest of the state’s taxpayers to host and accommodate what’s needed for UCD to function.”

    Williams:”The only way to accomplish your goal is through massive State of California housing subsidies.”

    Echols:”Unless infrastructure greatly expands to support the mass production of new housing and possibly some federal guarantees for builders for spec homes….new market rate housing is not the answer to the need for affordable housing in communities.”

    It looks like everyone is in agreement that the solution is a massive government funded affordable housing construction program both locally and regionally.

    I agree.

     

    1. Richard_McCann

      No, I don’t know how you got from my point that we have individually benefited economically and culturally from state taxpayers funneling money to our community to justifying those taxpayers funneling even more money into this community so we can benefit even more economically and culturally. That’s such a terrible misreading of my comment.

  7. Ron Oertel

    If we’ve learned anything here today, it’s this:

    “Buy high”, “sell low”.

    Words to live by, for many.

    How’s that cryptocurrency thing going?

  8. Alan Miller

    DG, I have asked you repeatedly not to quote my comments without giving me credit for them.  Since you won’t, I will:

    There is – as Alan Miller pointed out – a history that single family zoning has been used as exclusionary zoning.  One of the big problems today – and this gets to the point about structural racism – at this point I don’t believe that most people are opposed to zoning changes because of fear of others coming into their neighborhood – although we do see that attitude with respect to concerns about putting affordable housing into existing neighborhoods, even though in places like Davis, affordable housing could mean people making $25 to $60 thousand per year.

    The problem with single family zoning is that it de facto keeps low income people out of neighborhoods which in fact and not by law, excludes many low income people and by extension people of color.

    That’s systemic or structural racism and not necessarily based on individual level bias.

    A few things really struck me though.  Alan Miller rejecting the notion that “that in and of itself is racism,” wrote, “I see it as densism.  We don’t want it more dense, not any direct exclusion of a group that has a lower percentage of people who are able to afford homes.”

    Again – that view has a disparate effect on housing.

    But there is an even bigger problem.  Alan Miller does not want additional density.  That is one mechanism to reduce costs of housing.  You simply have small units which makes the housing less expensive.  You add to supply which at the very least will slow the growth of housing costs.

    How do you then address affordability?  Well Alan Miller is also against subsidized big “A” affordable housing.  So now you have cut out two possible remedies to affordability – affordability by design and affordability by subsidy.

    Now Alan Miller is opposed to Measure J.  But while Measure J is constraining supply, without increasing density you are not going to produce affordability through the market alone.

  9. Alan Miller

    Let us break it down:

    There is – as Alan Miller pointed out – a history that single family zoning has been used as exclusionary zoning.

    Maybe you weren’t referring to me there as saying that – how can I know if you don’t use names?  Everything you addressed that followed was on what I was addressing

    Alan Miller rejecting the notion that “that in and of itself is racism,” wrote, “I see it as densism.

    I did say that and agree.

    Alan Miller does not want additional density.

    That is a bald faced or bold faced or ball faced LIE.  Use any of my 14,000 comments to back up this claim.  If you mean I’m against some densification projects, well sure, who isn’t – well I can think of one incubatory dude, but besides them?  Other than them, please back up your statement that I ‘do not want additional density’.  Otherwise, stand next to Ghandi in Central Park with a bar of soap in your mouth, admit your mistake, and apologize to me in at least three forms of media and communication.

    You cannot use not using commenters names to get around saying things about them that are not true.

    Well Alan Miller is also against subsidized big “A” affordable housing.

    Yes.  I’m also against a minimum wage.  And disco.

    Now Alan Miller is opposed to Measure J.

    And proud of it.

     

    1. David Greenwald

      Maybe the reason I didn’t use names in the first place was it was more important to have the discussion than worry about who said what?

      1. Ron Oertel

        Regardless of names, what do you think was accomplished via this discussion, today?

        And, what do you think will be accomplished tomorrow, assuming that we haven’t heard the last of these types of articles (and comments)?

        1. Keith Y Echols

          Here’s my proof that housing prices will continue to go up because of gentrification:

          Report: Nation’s Gentrified Neighborhoods Threatened By Aristocratization

          According to a report released Tuesday by the Brookings Institution, a Washington-based think tank, the recent influx of exceedingly affluent powder-wigged aristocrats into the nation’s gentrified urban areas is pushing out young white professionals, some of whom have lived in these neighborhoods for as many as seven years.

          According to Kennedy, one of the most pressing concerns associated with rapid aristocratization is the drastic transformation of the metropolitan landscape in a way that fails to maximize livable space. 

          “A three-block section of [Chicago neighborhood] Wicker Park that once accommodated eight families, two vintage clothing stores, a French cleaners, and a gourmet bakery has been completely razed to make way for a private livery stable and carriage house,” Kennedy said. “The space is now entirely unusable for affordable upper-income condominium housing. No one can live there except for the odd stable boy or footman who gets permission to sleep in the hayloft.”

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