Monday Morning Thoughts: Housing Crisis Falls Heavily on Lower Income Households

Photo by Marcus Lenk on Unsplash

By David M. Greenwald
Executive Editor

Sacramento, CA – According to a report released at the end of October, new median housing prices reached an all-time high in August nationally.  More worrisome for analysts is that was coupled with a decrease in median household income from 2019 to 2020, “a decline seen for the first time since 2011, with only modest rebounds so far in 2021, according to preliminary forecasts.”

According to Fannie Mae’s Chief Economist, Doug Duncan; “Affordability remains a challenge, even with mortgage rates near historic lows; if the pace of income growth doesn’t keep up with inflation and interest rates rise more than expected, we’d expect housing activity to slow from our current projections”

In September, Fannie Mae lowered its 2022 new construction home sale expectations from 846,000 units to 789,000.  The problem was multifold – building supply constraints and record home prices.

The shortage of housing supply coupled with the increasing income gap means this crunch if going to disproportionately affect lower-income earners in 2022.

“Households in the bottom 25th percentile of income are estimated to face a shortage of 2.6 million units versus those above the median income expected to face a gap of 650,000 units,” the report said.

In order to afford a $390,000 home with a six percent down payment, the minimum total household income needs to be around $80,000.

That means that about 60% of US households would not be eligible.

That’s the national picture but it gets worse locally.  The Sacramento region is the worst in the country along with Miami.  The report found that 80 percent of households in Sacramento are priced out of buying a newly constructed home.  Sacramento and Miami are followed by Las Vegas with 65%, Phoenix at 63% and Denver at 62%.

Compared to the national average, the median cost of a new home in the Sacramento Region is $650,000, requires an average down payment of $39,000 and an income of at least $128,000.  The median income in the region is only $76,000.

First-time home buyers need to save for 21 months to afford a 6% down payment for a new home in Sacramento, behind only Miami, which was at 30 months, the report said.

The analysis by Knock shows that the burden of the housing crisis falls on lower income families.

“This analysis highlights how years of building undersupply and the current supply shortages are disproportionately impacting lower income homebuyers looking for alternatives in a housing market where homes are garnering multiple offers and selling for over asking price,” said Knock Co-Founder and CEO Sean Black.

He adds, “Although more new homes are expected to come onto the market in 2022, wages have not kept up with home price growth, keeping new construction out of reach for many, especially first-time buyers who don’t have the benefit of equity from a home sale.”

Clearly the situation in Davis is even worse than the Sacramento Region as a whole.  While the new housing market may shut out new home buyers, it also opens up the market for resells, with people moving up to purchase new homes, opening existing stock for other potential home owners.

But these data do illustrate the perilous nature of the housing market in general.  California has attempted to deal with the housing crisis by attempting to incentivize more infill and smaller, more dense units while at the same time the state and federal government have look into funding affordable housing.

What we have seen is a battle between local governments attempting to maintain local control over housing and the state government, attempting to incentivize and at times compel local governments to build more housing.

As we noted over the weekend, one big question is whether the state can and will compel cities to grow out by annexing additional land for housing on the periphery.

One of the more interesting comments over the weekend, “Housing mandates by the state may become part of the political pendulum.”  There is a reasonable chance that you will start to see pushback against state imposing housing requirements on local communities.

But there is another side to that – the large and growing percentage of the populace that is currently shut out of home ownership.

If the housing crisis becomes politicized, it has the potential at least to really scramble political realities especially in California where the party is heavily divided on the issue of housing, and the constituency is very mixed in terms of wealthier home owners and less affluent people of color.

Davis is an interesting example here.  We see a well educated, affluent community, but on the issue of housing it is heavily divided, with those who own homes more favorable to growth control measures and those who rent and tend to be younger, wanting to relax those growth control measures at least somewhat.

Those policies as we have noted are changing the character of the community – pushing families with children out, and making the city more bifurcated between long term home owners and younger renters.

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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68 Comments

      1. Richard_McCann

        Don’t be dense Alan. You know that David is pointing out the supply side of the equation. Growth controls increase housing prices (and you know that I’ve posted many referenced studies on this issue over the years, including several within the last month.) Change the housing supply and houses start becoming more affordable to a larger segment of households.

        I find it annoying when those who refer to housing responding to “market forces” then turn around to stymie the market forces that would solve the problem by intervening through government regulation in that market. (Yes, Measure J/R/D is government regulation.) I appreciate regulation, but it requires to be done holistically to be beneficial.

        1. Ron Oertel

          Measure J/R/D has also been used to control housing “demand” (e.g., in regard to DISC and the jobs that it claims to create).

          Demand doesn’t just materialize for no reason. There are places in which population (and demand for housing) is not growing (or is shrinking).

        2. Keith Y Echols

           Change the housing supply and houses start becoming more affordable to a larger segment of households.

          I find it annoying when those who refer to housing responding to “market forces” then turn around to stymie the market forces that would solve the problem by intervening through government regulation in that market.

          I keep telling you that it’s not a simple supply and demand solution….I dunno maybe you nuanced your answer with a “holistic” solution.

          You say you’re an economist but are you a housing economist?  The problem is that you’re not a homebuilder and you don’t understand the constraints on them that effect the market…the supply  and sales of housing.

          Raise your hand if you’ve been paid by homebuilders to analyze local home markets.

          Raise your hand if you’ve personally significantly added to the housing supply in local CA markets (in the 100’s or more) (your money at risk, your decisions, your projects)

          So I get annoyed when people that don’t understand the industry believe that simply encouraging the market to increase supply (for profit homebuilders to build more) is a solution to the affordable housing problem.

          But maybe I’m not giving you enough credit.  What is your “holistic” solution?  I would suggest: getting government to increase infrastructure to make new home building more affordable and easier to build?  I would also suggest government helping to guarantee the financial risks for homebuilders to the degree that they feel comfortable enough to build spec homes….and possibly significantly add to the housing supply?   What would you suggest as part of your holistic approach?

        3. Richard_McCann

          Keith

          Yes, I  have professionally analyzed housing markets, including rent controlled markets. I understand fully that housing markets do not operate in some free form vacuum. However, your unsubstantiated assertion that new housing only increases local housing prices due to the choices of builders has been shown by repeated empirical studies to be incorrect. (I’ve posted several of those studies here–have you read them?) That you’ve developed specific housing projects doesn’t mean that you fully understand how the housing market works.

          I agree only building new housing won’t solve the problem, however, it does need to be part of the solution. Much of the problem is embedded in our restrictive zoning that discourages building more affordable housing. I’m interested in discussing a large scale solution that reaches a majority of tenant households. (A)ffordable housing on its own is only a drop in the bucket. Give me a realistic solution.

        4. Keith Y Echols

          However, your unsubstantiated assertion that new housing only increases local housing prices due to the choices of builders has been shown by repeated empirical studies to be incorrect. (I’ve posted several of those studies here–have you read them?).  

          I never said only.  But I gave qualifiers as to why this happens.  So far more often than not new housing ends up increasing local home prices.  If it didn’t home builders wouldn’t choose to build there.   I disagree with those studies.  

          That you’ve developed specific housing projects doesn’t mean that you fully understand how the housing market works.

          Yeah, I’ve personally  been part of a group that developed some specific projects.  But I’ve been part of projects that weren’t my own all across the state (one as far south as the Imperial Valley).   It was my job to analyze markets to go into for homebuilders.   Part of that is the understanding of the market the other part is an understanding of the financial risk assessment.   So, I’m very confident in my understanding of the CA housing market.   As for my unsubstantiated claims???  If a sailor tells you the sea is wet…you should probably believe him.

          I agree only building new housing won’t solve the problem, however, it does need to be part of the solution.

          Building new MARKET RATE housing as part of the solution to the affordable housing problem?  If that’s your assertion,  Why?  I’m more of a let the market forces dictate market rate housing.  But that it’s not a solution to the affordable housing issues in CA.

           Much of the problem is embedded in our restrictive zoning that discourages building more affordable housing.

          SB 9 and SB 35 mostly took care of that…at least in theory.  But zoning isn’t that big of a deal IMO.  In many communities realistic significant contributions to the housing supply is on the periphery.  That’s not just a zoning problem.  That’s an infrastructure and jurisdictional growth problem.  You have to get property into a the sphere of influence and annexed before any real zoning comes into play.  But none of this addresses the physical limitations of infrastructure or the financial risks by homebuilders that limit supply.

           I’m interested in discussing a large scale solution that reaches a majority of tenant households. (A)ffordable housing on its own is only a drop in the bucket. Give me a realistic solution.

          Affordable housing is the only housing solution that will address the affordable housing problem  Market rate solutions are too constrained and due to rational builder behavior (build where and how you can make the most money) will continue to drive up market rate home prices.  Simply expecting builders to build more is not a realistic solution.  The solution and best bang for the buck is for direct government affordable homes creation.

           

           

  1. Ron Oertel

    I would think that when looking at average income levels for a given area, one would have to consider the percentage of retirees (who may be selling houses in the Bay Area, and moving to places like the new development in El Dorado Hills, south of Highway 50).

    There is no housing shortage, or undersupply thereof.  The Sacramento region continues to sprawl outward (and within floodzones, such as the Natomas area).

    The growth advocates never define what is “enough”, how that’s measured, or what it looks like. Just a perennial and never-ending “crisis”, to them. These are the same people who believe that it’s a “problem” that restricting housing discourages population growth for a given area.

    Ironically, they’re also the same folks who want to keep adding jobs to a given area, thereby exacerbating the “shortages” that they claim exist (which disproportionately impacts those of lower-incomes). Perhaps these folks can “pick a lane”, and stick to it regarding their arguments.

    1. Richard_McCann

      Ron O

      As usual you expose your lack of knowledge of how the economy works. There is a shortage of housing where jobs are. Yes we could all move to South Dakota, but there are not jobs there because the region lacks the agglomeration (or concentration since you appeared to be vocabulary challenged last time I mentioned this) needed to sustain the industries that are growing.

      Restricting population growth in one area means increased population growth in another area. For California that means building in the urban-wildlands interface (UWI) which both increases wildfire risks and increases GHG emissions and other environmental damages. You claim that somehow you want to control population growth yet you advocate for policies that make the environmental damages even worse than if we managed population growth sensibly. Your policy suggestions are badly misguided and counterproductive to your goals.

      And yes, they are using median income to measure the % of households that can afford a house. That prevents Jeff Bezos and Bill Gates from distorting the Seattle affordability index!

  2. Bill Marshall

    A problem with the “affordable housing” discussions…

    ‘Housing’ vs. ‘ownership housing’…

    The difference goes to whether folk are ‘entitled‘ to housing, or ownership housing… big diff in my mind…

    Housing is one thing… building wealth is another.  Seems this article, and others, conflate the two…

    1. David Greenwald

      That’s the big issue is that people of color and lower income people face a huge gap in terms of ability to build wealth. This article really wasn’t talking about affordable, big A housing, it mentioned it briefly, the focus was on ownership and market rate ownership.

      1. Ron Oertel

        Demographics (in regard to skin color, age, etc.) vary widely, throughout the Sacramento region. Folsom, for example, is very different than Natomas or Elk Grove.

        Housing prices vary widely as well, though no place is particularly inexpensive anymore.

        As you know, there was a lawsuit initiated in regard to Aggie Square and the gentrifying impacts that will have (disproportionately impacting “people of color” in the surrounding area).

      2. Bill Marshall

        Then, perhaps the article’s headline should have reflected the ‘building wealth’… and, unless it is too subtle, there is no reference to

        That’s the big issue is that people of color and lower income people face a huge gap in terms of ability to build wealth. This article really wasn’t talking about affordable, big A housing, it mentioned it briefly, the focus was on ownership and market rate ownership.

        That focus could have been stated much more clearly.

         

         

        1. Richard_McCann

          Bill

          As I said to Alan above, don’t be so dense. You understand very well that house ownership is the primary means of building wealth in the U.S. As has been well documented on this website over the years, huge disparities have existed for decades and centuries among different ethnic groups for access to house purchasing and the ability to build wealth.

          Further, home ownership provides shelter cost stability, especially with the protection of Prop 13. Renters are not afforded any of those protections. It makes it more difficult for low income households to build wealth for themselves and future generations.

        2. Ron Oertel

          Renters are not afforded any of those protections

          Renters (in some locales, at least) are provided with some of the biggest government “sticks” of all, in the form of rent control, direct government assistance with rent, eviction moratoriums, and free legal assistance in regard to disputes with landlords.

        3. Richard_McCann

          There you go with another anecdote. Rent control and other measures cover very limited areas, even in California. And vacancy controls are still prohibited under state law. The vast majority of communities are like Davis, not SF.

          Further rent controls end up discouraging home building so rents end up increasing faster.

        4. Ron Oertel

          You’re the one who brought up lack of protections for renters.  Rent control is in effect for the entire state, though it’s not a particularly strong measure. Perhaps you should bring that up with governor Newsom, or his ally – Wiener (and others).

          Rent control never applies to new buildings, for a number of years.

          And if you don’t support it, perhaps you’re not all that concerned with renters in the first place. Which wouldn’t surprise me.

          However, it is strongest in the locales that are most expensive, which I understood to be the “concern”, here.

          Eviction moratoriums and direct rental assistance were in effect and provided throughout the state (and beyond).

          1. David Greenwald

            The issue that is raised in this article isn’t one of affirmative action, it’s one that the housing market itself is making it far more difficult for people of lesser means – like the majority of the country, to buy into home ownership and build wealth. So yeah, it’s great that you were able to make something out of your life, but a lot of the policies you support locally and nationally are akin to slamming the door behind you.

        1. Alan Miller

          a lot of the policies you support locally and nationally are akin to slamming the door behind you.

          Though not directed at me, not sure what policies you are referring to that you apparently ‘know’ that someone ‘supports’.

          Because my question got derailed, again:

          How would you suggest those with less money ‘build wealth’ ?

    1. Keith Y Echols

      How would you suggest those with less money ‘build wealth’ ?

      I honestly don’t think there’s a way to satisfactorily legislate homebuilders and local municipalities to create solutions for housing and housing wealth creation.    I mean they can try.  And it’ll work to a measured degree.  But the problems will still persist and become worse.  Homebuilders can’t and often don’t want to build homes at a rate that will impact home prices.   Existing infrastructure usually prevents builders from massively building out as well as it’s too financially risky for them to build out to a degree that put enough supply on the market to impact home prices significantly.  Many local municipalities have shown that they don’t want to grow in the way that makes significant impact or to the degree that the state believes it needs to.

      So my solution would be for the state to create it’s own communities of affordable homes.   This would necessitate a build out of infrastructure by the state/feds like water/sewer lines and treatment plants, roads…etc…   Outside of existing communities (like the ones that don’t want to grow).  The mix of medium and high density homes built on the scale of the old Levittowns back in the 40’s.  You could make them a mix of affordable rentals and cheap market rate homes for those that have lived in the rentals for a while.  Ideally these communities would be built near community colleges or have education/vocational training schools/centers built next to them.  Employment services centers would be located near there.  County/City police and fire (if an agreement for police and fire services are reached with a city) could be located at these projects.  The state would also incentivize any job growth initiatives to areas with these affordable housing communities.

      Now what are the drawbacks?  People will fear that these new affordable housing projects will become “the projects”.  High crime areas.  You’re also segregating the poor from the more affluent communities.  But on the other hand you’re providing homes for people that wouldn’t be able to get them without these kinds of projects.  I’d also say that you can mitigate some of this by having market rate homes mixed into the community.  The state could also provide discounts on housing to their workers…especially state and county law enforcement which could have a mitigating effect on crime developing in these affordable communities.

       

    2. Richard_McCann

      Be given an opportunity to buy into the real estate market just as whites like Keith O have been allowed to do.

      Another issue is the provision of reparations in some fashion (although recent research suggests that simple cash grants may not be sufficiently effective.) The labor value of Blacks and Indigenous people have been stolen for more than 400 years which means that us European descendants in particular have built our own wealth on ill gotten goods. We have to consider how to fix that injustice.

      1. Alan Miller

        Be given an opportunity to buy into the real estate market just as whites like Keith O have been allowed to do.

        Is the white as a pejorative?  Have whites like Richard Mc. also been given an opportunity to buy into the real estate market, or only whites like Keith O. ?   How would that opportunity be given, exactly?  (and by the way, I’m only assuming Richard Mc. is “white” because he is white appearing to me. I have not confirmed his or anyone else’s whiteness scientifically)

        The labor value of Blacks and Indigenous people have been stolen for more than 400 years which means that us European descendants in particular have built our own wealth on ill gotten goods. We have to consider how to fix that injustice.

        Allow black people to open casinos?

      2. Keith Olson

        What’s funny about your comment Richard is when I would walk around my neighborhood in Davis I would see countless homeowners of all different races.  Not being white didn’t seem like a burden to them when buying a home.

        1. David Greenwald

          It’s good to use data rather than observations. Wildhorse for example, is a good deal more white than the city of Davis as a whole. And Davis as a whole one of the whitest communities in the area. And way more white than California as a whole… 39% of state residents are Latino, 36% are white, 15% are Asian.

  3. Keith Y Echols

    Those policies as we have noted are changing the character of the community – pushing families with children out, and making the city more bifurcated between long term home owners and younger renters.

    You know there’s  third option?  Davis could grow economically and grow and attract new businesses to/in Davis.  The result is that some of those employees can afford to move their families in Davis and live here.  Palo Alto and Berkeley both have communities with families and kids.

    1. Ron Oertel

      Palo Alto and Berkeley both have communities with families and kids.

      So does San Francisco.  New families created/moving in all the time.

      If they’re wealthy enough, they send their kids to private schools.  If not, they often leave by the time that their kids are of school age.

      I suspect that Asian families tend to “stick it out” more than white families, in San Francisco. In other words, they’re more committed to staying (and have family structures which tend to support that). Even if not particularly wealthy.

      Having no money is not the same as having kids.  There’s plenty of wealthy families.  (Though having kids usually makes one less-wealthy, in our modern society at least – especially for white families.)

      1. Keith Y Echols

        So does San Francisco.  New families created/moving in all the time.

        Actually, I lived in San Francisco for almost 10 years.  When my family grew we moved. Same for my wife’s sister’s family. We lived in a family friendly neighborhood and so you saw families move in there with kids (I was always amazed at mom super strength when I saw them carry kids up hills).  My oldest learned to walk at Kezar Stadium.  So I think with a place like San Francisco, evaluating family growth is very neighborhood dependent.

  4. Ron Oertel

    The report found that 80 percent of households in Sacramento are priced out of buying a newly constructed home.  Sacramento and Miami are followed by Las Vegas with 65%, Phoenix at 63% and Denver at 62%.

    Given that Sacramento (but even more so Las Vegas and Phoenix) are “sprawl central”, it seems that lack of sprawl is not what’s holding some people back.

    These type of markets tend to both fall and rise faster, with the boom-and-bust cycle of housing markets.

    I’d suggest a time-travel machine as a “solution”, going back about 10 years.

    And for millenials, stop buying that avocado toast! (Just kidding.) But for those prepared to do so, I’d suggest moving to some place like Austin.

    1. Keith Y Echols

      Given that Sacramento (but even more so Las Vegas and Phoenix) are “sprawl central”, it seems that lack of sprawl is not what’s holding some people back.

      I hate to tell you this (and I hate it too).  But believe it or not it’s lack of enough sprawl. Imagine if that sprawl were 10X larger.  That would impact home prices and move them a bit towards less unaffordable.  But that’s the problem with relying on for profit homebuilders building market rate homes to solve an affordable housing problem.  The builders can’t build that much and given their financial risk limitations they don’t want to.

      1. Ron Oertel

        The places I listed (from the article itself) are quite supportive of sprawl. They don’t even pretend to be otherwise.

        You’ve noted that “supply” increases drastically, during housing downturns.  Even as new housing construction comes to a halt. It’s like “magic”.

        As you noted, builders will simply stop building when they can’t get the prices they want (or need) to make it “pencil-out”.

        Some of those mofos (and their workers) lost their shirts, during the last downturn. (Smaller ones, I think.) And now, they have to pay construction workers enough to attract them, pay rising costs for materials that are in short supply, etc.

        All while inflation is significantly rising, in general.

        Watch how “supply” increases when interest rates go up, as well. (Or at least, prices will drop/level-off.)

        1. Keith Y Echols

          Yes.  That’s the point that relying on for profit homebuilders to solve the affordable housing issue is stupid.  The impact of increasing sprawl would have to be huge if it were to make any difference in making home prices more affordable.  If housing people and affordability is the important goal then building affordable housing should be the goal to make housing more affordable and not a massive amount of market rate housing….which even to the degree that it’s happening isn’t enough to solve the affordable housing problems anyway.

          1. David Greenwald

            ” That’s the point that relying on for profit homebuilders to solve the affordable housing issue is stupid. ”

            I agree with this statement as far as it goes. The homebuilders job is to build homes not solve housing issues.

            Then you have the lawmakers who obviously we can’t rely on
            Local agencies are part of the problem
            Local residents are part of the problem
            You can’t get affordable housing without lawmakers and market rate housing.

            So yeah, if we do it that way, we’re basically screwed.

            Basically what we are doing isn’t working unless you’re Ron Oertel. So we have to do something differently.

        2. Keith Y Echols

          Basically what we are doing isn’t working unless you’re Ron Oertel. So we have to do something differently.

          See my comment to Alan’s comment about the state building new communities.

        3. Alan Miller

          So we have to do something differently.

          Perhaps accept the fact that it’s expensive AF to live in California, and that writing 20 articles on ‘housing in Davis’ every month is not going to do squat for changing that ?

    2. Bill Marshall

      I’d suggest a time-travel machine as a “solution”, going back about 10 years.

      Wish you had added (“just kidding”) to that line, as well…

      A) no such time travel thingy… hence silly suggestion for a “solution”…

      B) even if you accept/ignore the time travel thingy, you’re about 50 years off… 10 years wouldn’t do it.

      1. Ron Oertel

        I might, which is why places like Austin don’t appeal to me.  It might if I was just starting out in a career, e.g., trying to pay-off a student debt that I naively believed would be easy to pay-off.

        But the people there welcome it I suspect, for the most part. Locally, Woodland is pretty much like that, as well. As is almost every other town in the valley.

        I have yet to figure out why people want to change places like Davis, when they have so many other choices. Most of which make more sense for what they’re advocating for (and which already support it).

        At one time, Davis was the “answer” for those priced-out of the Bay Area. But, it’s not really the best place to start-out, anymore.

        The “good news” is that Davis really isn’t all that special. There’s lots of nicer places around the country.

        1. Don Shor

          But the people there welcome it I suspect, for the most part. Locally, Woodland is pretty much like that, as well.

          So you’re telling us that people who buy houses in new subdivisions in Woodland support that type of growth?

        2. Ron Oertel

          I believe that most do.

          There are lots of young families in Spring Lake, for example, who probably aren’t thinking much about the issue at all. They’re more focused on their careers, their own families, happy to have a house (possibly their first entry into the housing market), etc.

          But, I suspect that there are limits to that support as well.

        3. Richard_McCann

          Ron O

          You don’t live in Davis, you live in Woodland, so you have no real opinion about what it’s like to live in Davis. Stick to your perspective of Woodland living. We aren’t preserving Davis for someone who chose to live in Woodland!

          Don, your statement

          So you’re telling us that people who buy houses in new subdivisions in Woodland support that type of growth?

          is so ironic, given that Ron O is exactly the person who can give us that perspective! So he should just stay in his lane here.

        4. Matt Williams

          Richard, I believe you are way off base in your 12:18pm comment, which appears to be making the argument that accumulated personal knowledge is irrelevant.  I live in Davis, and know quite a bit about Davis, but I also have lived in Dallas Texas and the Philadelphia area for substantial periods in my life.  As a result I know quite a bit about those two communities.  Ron may live in Woodland now, but he hasn’t lived there exclusively in his life.  I know for a fact that he has a substantial tenure of living in Davis just as I have a substantial tenure of living in Dallas.

          So, give your ad hominem comments a rest.  He gives all of us plenty of opportunity to counter-argue the points he makes.

  5. Ron Glick

    David said: “So yeah, it’s great that you were able to make something out of your life, but a lot of the policies you support locally and nationally are akin to slamming the door behind you.”

    I think the shrinks call that projection.

    1. Keith Y Echols

       but a lot of the policies you support locally and nationally are akin to slamming the door behind you.”

      Policies have always been made in the self interest of governments and communities.  That goes for the past and in the future.  Rarely was new market rate housing built that wasn’t in the best interests of the community to grow.   Communities wanted growth because it represented new workers for new industry that grew a community locally which in turn provided civic resources and amenities for the community.  Now that growth has become a negative to existing communities.  The costs to provide services to those communities outweigh the benefits.  So there have become lots of NIMBYs.  So the door being open or shut is still based on rational decision making by the locals.

  6. Ron Glick

    “How would you suggest those with less money ‘build wealth’ ?”

    By saving and investing. As was pointed out during his time running for office, if Donald Trump had bought a simple S&P 500 fund instead of investing in real estate, he would be much richer today.

    On average, the stock market appreciates faster than real estate. So if I were young I would try to find a cheap place to rent and save as much as I could to invest.

    I think a huge mistake many people make is buying a home too early in life that they then struggle to pay off.

    One problem that should be addressed is the shortage of rental housing that keeps the rent too high. If people could get cheaper rent they likely could save and invest more shortening the time until they could buy.

     

    “I’d suggest a time-travel machine as a “solution”, going back about 10 years.”

    Problem is ten years ago you were opposed to the solutions you now lament weren’t implemented back then.

    1. Ron Oertel

      Problem is ten years ago you were opposed to the solutions you now lament weren’t implemented back then.

      I was referring to the housing crash, which bottomed-out about 10 years ago.

      Lots of supply, cheaper prices.

      Someone told me (just yesterday) that their personal secret to wealth is “buy low, sell high”.  That comment was made in reference to buying and selling houses (that they lived in), I believe.  The problem with that approach is that transaction/real estate fees (and moving costs) are so high, and you’d then you’d still need to find another place to live.

      Institutional investors (of single-family rental housing) is also a new phenomenon, arising during the crash (and accelerating since then). This has become a significant factor, across the country.

      Most people living in houses that have appreciated significantly are not able to use that value.  The value to them is the same as it was when they bought it at a cheaper price.  (Though sometimes, the surrounding community simultaneously becomes worse-off in regard to traffic, homelessness, crime, etc.)

      1. Keith Y Echols

        I was referring to the housing crash, which bottomed-out about 10 years ago.
        Lots of supply, cheaper prices.
        Someone told me (just yesterday) that their personal secret to wealth is “buy low, sell high”.

        While that comment makes sense in terms of wealth creation, it doesn’t help with housing affordability.  The reason homes were cheaper during the “Great Recession” is because lots of people lost jobs or had reduced income so they couldn’t afford even reduced priced homes.

        Institutional investors (of single-family rental housing) is also a new phenomenon, arising during the crash (and accelerating since then). This has become a significant factor, across the country.

        This is true.  What makes it even worse is the influx of foreign money going into housing as an alternative asset investment.  Normally when industries/businesses find additional sources of capital it spurs growth and innovation.  But in an industry like housing all it does is drive up rental and sales prices.  IMO some legislation needs to be pushed that provides a significant buyer advantage to owner occupied home acquisition.  

  7. Jim Frame

    So my solution would be for the state to create it’s own communities of affordable homes. 

    I think this idea has merit.  It could even be done without violating Measure J, as the ordinance allows up to 5 acres per year (as I recall) to be annexed without a vote.  Make most of the homes modest in both size and features in order to keep the price down, but mix in a few larger/fancier ones to avoid “the Projects” syndrome.

    It would likely require some new state legislation or other legal findings providing for condemnation to allow acquisition of land adjacent to the city (e.g. north side of Covell between The Cannery and Pole Line Road) for such housing as a necessity.  But, unlike developer-driven projects, it would be aimed directly at providing the kind of housing we need the most.

     

    1. Matt Williams

      I too think that idea has merit.  I also think affordability can be achieved by making new housing smaller than it currently is.  One of the policies I would like to see considered for the proposed Shriners development is a size limitation of 1,800 square feet of living space for all houses … with a further requirement that 50% of all the houses be no greater than 1,000 square feet of living space.

      1. Bill Marshall

        You’re being generous Matt… 850 SF (including a 1 car garage, not living space, but had the washer/dryer) was fine for me growing up… 2 parents, and a kid… if I had a sibling of the same gender, we could have lived fine for 21 years… that’s how long I lived in the house in SM.

        Most of the neighborhood houses (probably 75%) were at or less than 1000 SF.

        I’ll probably warned that this is my 5th comment… although at least 1 is at 11, today, this thread…

  8. Alan Miller

    So my solution would be for the state to create it’s own communities of affordable homes.

    And these new communities could be built . . . where? . . . on the farmland surrounding Davis? And would these communities also have jobs that fit exactly the employment needs of the people in these new communities, or would the people in these communities have to commute by automobile to where they would work, or would they commute on magic buses that went right from their homes to their jobs exactly when they needed those buses to run?

    1. Keith Y Echols

      And these new communities could be built . . . where? . . . on the farmland surrounding Davis? 

      Well, yeah…that’s what surrounds Davis.  I’m not sure what other answer you were expecting.  I’m not a fan of building on the periphery.  But I’m okay with it to a degree to build affordable housing.  What I’m not okay with is building market rate housing on the periphery without a serious benefit to the existing community.

       And would these communities also have jobs that fit exactly the employment needs of the people in these new communities, or would the people in these communities have to commute by automobile to where they would work, or would they commute on magic buses that went right from their homes to their jobs exactly when they needed those buses to run?

      These people would work where ever they work.  I don’t get what you’re getting at here.  What are these magic buses (and where can I ride one…sounds like fun…maybe on psychedelics or something).  But magic or no…simply a bus that connects the new community to the existing bus system would work just fine.  Then there are those things called automobiles.  I hear they work for transportation within a community/city.

    2. Matt Williams

      Alan, there is a lot different quality levels in the farmland that surrounds Davis, and those differences are often clearly shown by the crops that are grown on each respective farmland parcel.  If the crop being grown year-in, year-out is alfalfa (ore any other form of hay) then it is a pretty good bet that that parcel is not particularly good agricultural farmland. 

      The parcels immediately north of Covell and west of Sutter Davis Hospital are good examples of poor farmland.  As you go south on Mace Blvd into Solano County toward Liberty Island the level of salts in the soils rises, making the parcels less and less good for farmland as the level of salts rises. 

      Similarly, farmland that is in a flood plain has less value/flexibility for growing agricultural crops.  The map below shows, in yellow, the 3,000 plus acres of land east and south of Davis and El Macero that is owned by Angelo Tsakopoulos. Most of those acres are in the 100-year flood plain. I suspect, but do not know, that he has visions of a “new community” growing on that land at some time in the future. Through appropriate engineering and earth moving, the hoses built on that land can be raised out of the flood plain … mini-levees if you will.

      https://www.davisvanguard.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/Tsakopoulos-Land-2015.jpg

      1. Alan Miller

        As you go south on Mace Blvd into Solano County toward Liberty Island the level of salts in the soils rises, making the parcels less and less good for farmland as the level of salts rises.

        Perfect, so Mace Blvd. will become the Mace expressway, bringing in the tens of thousands on man-made levee-islands paid for by the state for A-ffordable subsidized housing for the benefit of our buddy Angelo T.  We’re all in.

  9. Moderator

    Several of you have exceeded the five comment limit for today. Some have used up your allotment for tomorrow as well: Ron O, Keith E, and Alan M. 

    It would be very helpful to me if you all would regulate your own comment numbers.

  10. Jim Frame

    paid for by the state for A-ffordable subsidized housing for the benefit of our buddy Angelo T. 

    I don’t think the Tsakapoulos property is the best location for new affordable housing, but it’s worth noting that just compensation in eminent domain proceedings is fair market value under current usage, not projected value under best-and-highest use.  Angelo’s low-value south Davis property could be acquired relatively cheaply.

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