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Old 04-02-2019, 07:16 PM
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So Santa Clara County between 2010 and 2016 added approximately 200K jobs, and just 25K housing units. San Francisco added 150K jobs, and just 12K housing units. You've already quoted the number for San Mateo. These are the three biggest counties for job growth in the Bay Area. The next closest is 50K jobs in Alameda County (which includes Oakland) and just 12K housing units.

None of the other counties come close, yet the rules from local regional agencies as well as the State are a one size fits all approach. Why should smaller cities and counties, where there wasn't such disparity in jobs added vs. housing units added, be required to zone and provide housing the same as these counties with such large disparities. Sure if Santa Clara adds 100K jobs, they shoudl force those employers to contribute to housing. But why would I, who could live over 2 hours away, in a town that hasn't seen that type of job growth, be forced under the same rules?
  #202  
Old 04-02-2019, 09:23 PM
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Originally Posted by nelliebly View Post
And while the requirement for 10-20% low-income housing requirement in your neck of the woods is a step in the right direction, it's a drop in the bucket, according to this article.
The problem is that 10-20% requirement is essentially a form of market distortion. Most theories say it will make the problems worse, not better. The actual fix is to build massive numbers of residential units of whatever form the developers choose to offer.

This makes the free market decide. If developers decide to do all luxury all the time, what would eventually happen is that enough luxury units would be on the market for everyone who can afford such a unit to have one. At which point the rent premium per square foot for "luxury" would decline, making smaller units with more basic amenities more profitable per square foot.

Invisible hand can work if you let it.
  #203  
Old 04-02-2019, 09:32 PM
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Originally Posted by Bone View Post
So Santa Clara County between 2010 and 2016 added approximately 200K jobs, and just 25K housing units. San Francisco added 150K jobs, and just 12K housing units. You've already quoted the number for San Mateo. These are the three biggest counties for job growth in the Bay Area. The next closest is 50K jobs in Alameda County (which includes Oakland) and just 12K housing units.

None of the other counties come close, yet the rules from local regional agencies as well as the State are a one size fits all approach. Why should smaller cities and counties, where there wasn't such disparity in jobs added vs. housing units added, be required to zone and provide housing the same as these counties with such large disparities. Sure if Santa Clara adds 100K jobs, they shoudl force those employers to contribute to housing. But why would I, who could live over 2 hours away, in a town that hasn't seen that type of job growth, be forced under the same rules?
You shouldn't. The state government should have written the rules to be more fair and only force high density over local resident's desires in places where that density is needed.

Since the state government does have sovereign authority - it's explicit right in the Constitution - and the state government does benefit from a greater tax base, making sure housing is built in areas where it's needed is good for the state government. It might not be good for the personal desires of those local residents but tough titties, California's authority trumps county authority.

Everyone here dogpiling you, myself included, thought you were living right in the middle of the Bay Area in a million dollar bungalow wondering why the poor can't eat cake. You could have made your point far more clear in the OP.

I agree, then, that the law should have been written better. With that said...tough titties. You won't be able to get it changed and the law, even if badly written, it is a step in the right direction.

Last edited by SamuelA; 04-02-2019 at 09:34 PM.
  #204  
Old 04-02-2019, 10:16 PM
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Originally Posted by SamuelA View Post
The problem is that 10-20% requirement is essentially a form of market distortion. Most theories say it will make the problems worse, not better. The actual fix is to build massive numbers of residential units of whatever form the developers choose to offer.

This makes the free market decide. If developers decide to do all luxury all the time, what would eventually happen is that enough luxury units would be on the market for everyone who can afford such a unit to have one. At which point the rent premium per square foot for "luxury" would decline, making smaller units with more basic amenities more profitable per square foot.

Invisible hand can work if you let it.
Are you forgetting about zoning and available land? In Seattle, most of the zoning is for single-family homes, and all of that land has been used. People in single-family homes tend to resist zoning changes that would allow multi-family dwellings--you know, NIMBY. If available land were unlimited and there were no significant population increases, supply and demand would work exactly that way. Housing shortages have pushed people farther and farther from Seattle. In my small city, there are thousands of apartments and more going up all the time. But the projected growth rate is expected to double within the next 30 years. We're already seeing apartment rental increases in surrounding towns where rents used to be relatively cheap. I fully expect to be priced out of here within the next five years or so. That's a shame, as I need to get to medical specialists in Seattle, and it's already quite a commute to get there. But sucks to be me.
  #205  
Old 04-04-2019, 08:24 AM
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Are you forgetting about zoning and available land? In Seattle, most of the zoning is for single-family homes, and all of that land has been used. People in single-family homes tend to resist zoning changes that would allow multi-family dwellings--you know, NIMBY. If available land were unlimited and there were no significant population increases, supply and demand would work exactly that way. Housing shortages have pushed people farther and farther from Seattle. In my small city, there are thousands of apartments and more going up all the time. But the projected growth rate is expected to double within the next 30 years. We're already seeing apartment rental increases in surrounding towns where rents used to be relatively cheap. I fully expect to be priced out of here within the next five years or so. That's a shame, as I need to get to medical specialists in Seattle, and it's already quite a commute to get there. But sucks to be me.
Right. Zoning isn't free market.

A free market approach would be to go down to 2 zones.

Residential/Commercial/ non polluting industrial, and polluting industrial. (note that polluting can include the need for massive areas of space, large quantities of explosives, large quantities of toxic chemicals, or noise -> even if the facility doesn't actually emit anything normally)

And then to charge density taxes. For reasons that should be obvious, the city needs to provide more expensive forms of transportation (better roads and buses and subways in some cases) the higher the density is.

So a building that has 1 family per acre would be subject to a lower tax rate than a skyscrape with 1000 people living in it. In the former case you just need a gravel road, in the latter you need a bunch of services/infrastructure and those are nonlinearly more expensive. (more than 1000 times as expensive)

Japan does something similar to this. With more rules, but nevertheless, far more lax rules than local governments impose in the USA.

Last edited by SamuelA; 04-04-2019 at 08:25 AM.
  #206  
Old 04-04-2019, 09:03 AM
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I'm piling on late and I'm guessing what I'll say has already been said, but just in case it hasn't...

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As a resident, I have a desire to maintain and increase my property value. Increasing supply, all other things being equal, goes against that goal. I think local cities should be able to take steps to restrict development consistent with their neighborhoods and to maintain the character and value for the residents. I chose where I live for a number of factors. It's safe, quiet, close to work, good schools, etc. Those things also make it very expensive. My neighborhood tends to self select on income. The proposals by the Governor seek to increase housing supply, increase density, remove barriers to building, and therefore lower my property value.
No, your neighborhood and your local housing market aren't really self-selecting; a better explanation is that restrictions on development create scarcity, which is what drives up the price. You're arguing that your right to profit from an investment is greater than another person's right to live affordably, and I'm curious as to how you reach that conclusion. You presumably live in a place that you can afford; other people presumably have the same right to live in places that they can afford and they have the right to do so in your community, particularly if there are economic and other incentives that may attract them to live in your vicinity.

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CA is a desirable place to live. As a result, the demand is high. It is expensive to build here because of the high cost of labor, environmental regulation, and supply restrictions both due to limited space and local control of land use policies. But no one has a right to live where they want to, irrespective of the cost. If people can't afford to live in the place they want, it's not a crisis, it's reality. I would love to live on a cliff side over looking the ocean with 100 acres and no one around, but that's quite pricey so I can't. This isn't a housing crisis, this is a 'people want things they can't afford' reality. If people can't afford to live here, I suggest they don't.
The degree to which "it's a reality" depends on the circumstances.

You could argue that a waitress in Dayton should realize that realize that living in Manhattan requires more resources and that she'd better do her math before moving there -- on that we can agree.

But what's happening in many places along the attractive West Coast is actually the process in reverse: high-income professionals from the STEM fields are moving in and saturating the real estate markets in some places. Soon the supply is maxed out, allowing property owners to raise rents, which in turn raises additional costs on anything and everything impacted by increased rents (cost-push inflation). There's a simple solution: build more homes and alleviate that pressure. That's what the market operating naturally allows to happen. But since it may conflict with the economic interests of property owners, there are instead deliberate attempts to thwart efforts to new construction. That's not the market's "reality"; that's the interests of the few inflicting economic harm on people needlessly. The result is displacement, which in the long run harms not only the people being displaced, but it also harms the entire local economy.

It's so bad in the Bay Area that not only people are leaving but also companies -- again because if real estate is hot, it's probably hot for commercial as well as residential. I know that's not always the case, but quite often, it is.

https://www.sfgate.com/expensive-san...a-13426437.php
  #207  
Old 04-04-2019, 09:09 AM
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So yeah, the market does demand parking.
That is an assumption; that is not necessarily the reality. Markets may or may not demand parking, depending on a host of circumstances. In urban centers where people regularly get around without a car (or at least where they can if they want to), places fill up pretty quickly with minimal or even no parking provided. Parking leases, though expensive, can in many cases satisfy the demand for parking on their own, independent of what the rental markets offer.

Last edited by asahi; 04-04-2019 at 09:09 AM.
  #208  
Old 04-04-2019, 10:01 AM
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Originally Posted by asahi View Post
No, your neighborhood and your local housing market aren't really self-selecting; a better explanation is that restrictions on development create scarcity, which is what drives up the price. You're arguing that your right to profit from an investment is greater than another person's right to live affordably, and I'm curious as to how you reach that conclusion. You presumably live in a place that you can afford; other people presumably have the same right to live in places that they can afford and they have the right to do so in your community, particularly if there are economic and other incentives that may attract them to live in your vicinity.
Your 'better explanation' isn't mutually exclusive to what I'm saying. There is scarcity, and that in part contributes to high prices. It's not scarcity only based on restrictions on development - condo highrises being built litter the South of Market (SOMA) area in SF, density abounds. And the prices are still very very high. But whatever the cause, high prices means that people who choose to live in those areas self select on income. Anyone without a sufficiently high income will not be living there.

I make no argument that a person has right to profit from an investment. Nor does anyone have a right to live affordably.

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But what's happening in many places along the attractive West Coast is actually the process in reverse: high-income professionals from the STEM fields are moving in and saturating the real estate markets in some places. Soon the supply is maxed out, allowing property owners to raise rents, which in turn raises additional costs on anything and everything impacted by increased rents (cost-push inflation). There's a simple solution: build more homes and alleviate that pressure. That's what the market operating naturally allows to happen. But since it may conflict with the economic interests of property owners, there are instead deliberate attempts to thwart efforts to new construction. That's not the market's "reality"; that's the interests of the few inflicting economic harm on people needlessly. The result is displacement, which in the long run harms not only the people being displaced, but it also harms the entire local economy.
People buy into a neighborhood based on a number of factors that are important to them. One of those factors could be a person wanting to live in a single family zoned area. Avoiding density, valuing space and privacy, can contribute. It may cost a bit more, but people can make that choice. What is happening now is that the State is wanting to override those local zoning rules, and force cities both large and small, to allow high density, up to 8 story apartment towers where previously there was only single family houses. That's consistent with your simple solution as you say. But it's also destructive to neighborhoods.

I don't consider a person unable to afford a rising market rate rent to be displaced. A renter has no right to live in a place after the terms of their lease or rental agreement are satisfied and if they can no longer afford the market rate, then so be it.
  #209  
Old 04-04-2019, 10:11 AM
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And then to charge density taxes. For reasons that should be obvious, the city needs to provide more expensive forms of transportation (better roads and buses and subways in some cases) the higher the density is.

So a building that has 1 family per acre would be subject to a lower tax rate than a skyscrape with 1000 people living in it. In the former case you just need a gravel road, in the latter you need a bunch of services/infrastructure and those are nonlinearly more expensive. (more than 1000 times as expensive)
This is thoroughly ridiculous. Cities aren't less efficient than non-densely populated areas, they are far more efficient. Especially considering a place like the Bay Area, where there's water everywhere and you can't just tell people to go settle out in farmland or forests or whatnot.
  #210  
Old 04-04-2019, 11:11 AM
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Your 'better explanation' isn't mutually exclusive to what I'm saying. There is scarcity, and that in part contributes to high prices. It's not scarcity only based on restrictions on development - condo highrises being built litter the South of Market (SOMA) area in SF, density abounds. And the prices are still very very high. But whatever the cause, high prices means that people who choose to live in those areas self select on income. Anyone without a sufficiently high income will not be living there.

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I make no argument that a person has right to profit from an investment. Nor does anyone have a right to live affordably.
But by making the argument against expanding the supply of homes simply because someone wants to maintain the value of their home or maintain high rents to profit off of, that is actually what you are arguing. That's necessarily arguing that the rights of single family homeowners, property title owners, mortgage companies, and landlords should take precedence over the rights of people who need affordable spaces to live -- people with very limited resources. When I was in the Bay Area as the area was coming out of the housing crisis and when Google et al employees were moving up the Peninsula, there were numerous stories of school teachers in the SFUSD who were relocating to Oakland, and then Oakland got gentrified, so they had to move further and further out into the East Bay. That's not just school teachers; that's true of fast food workers, front line cooks, waiters, and a host of other jobs. It got to the point where even rooming up with three or four other housemates to a shoe box house wasn't worth it anymore. It's not just the individuals who get displaced who lose; it's an entire community that loses school teachers, and it's businesses who lose basic employees, and then they themselves might find themselves priced out of the market by rising real estate.

I get the fact that the City of San Francisco is basically 7 X 7 miles, but it's not just SF that's the problem. Daly City was also suffering from the same real estate pressure. Some businesses and individuals might have moved southward on the Peninsula, which alleviated the pressure for maybe a few months, a year? But the prices have been skyrocketing pretty much everywhere in the Valley - or at least they were. You could argue that as people move away that the market's equilibrium returns, and you'd have a point economically, but the damage has been done, and it's totally unnecessary.

Having said the above, I understand that there's more to the crisis than just not building enough high rises. There are the other concerns like Air BnB as well, which I'd discuss but I'm running short on time.
  #211  
Old 04-04-2019, 11:43 AM
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That's necessarily arguing that the rights of single family homeowners, property title owners, mortgage companies, and landlords should take precedence over the rights of people who need affordable spaces to live ...
I am using the term "right" in the legal sense. I think you are using it differently.
Quote:
... But the prices have been skyrocketing pretty much everywhere in the Valley - or at least they were. You could argue that as people move away that the market's equilibrium returns, and you'd have a point economically, but the damage has been done, and it's totally unnecessary.
Yes, this is my argument. I'm fine with the noise as that equilibrium occurs.
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Old 04-04-2019, 12:52 PM
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I am using the term "right" in the legal sense. I think you are using it differently.
And in the legal sense, the State of California has a political responsibility to operate in the public interest and, apparently, it also has the legal power to that end. It looks like this is what Gavin Newsome is saying.

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Yes, this is my argument. I'm fine with the noise as that equilibrium occurs.
I get that you and people who are able to financially acclimate to the rapidly changing conditions around you can live with the noise of equilibrium. The problem is that many others have limited resources to do the same. We're not just talking about middle class school teachers earning $60,000 who now have a choice between teaching in San Francisco or having to move to Sacramento, where the rent is cheaper -- that's your classic economic choice that someone has to make.

For many others, however, that "choice" and that "equilibrium" is a struggle to keep a roof over one's head. That's the problem: people are simply unaware of how economically fragile households are these days. Moving requires resources, and frankly a level of autonomy, that many people with below average incomes and wealth simply don't have. People would be stunned at how many people in this country are close to financial collapse. Financial insecurity is a problem that's all around you but cannot be seen until hordes of homeless people start showing up on street corners.

It's been several years since I was in Santa Clara, which had a horrible rate of homelessness, but when I was there I remember it was a struggle to get local officials and residents to shelter the homeless. So not only are people priced out onto the street, but unlike New York, where most homeless people can find a place to sleep and eat, there's nothing like that for homeless along the West Coast, where homelessness is still a relatively new phenomenon. Homeless people ended up at temporarily sanctioned camps, leaving local latte-sipping residents to complain about the blight. Well perhaps they wouldn't rummaging through trash cans in public parks like a bunch of wild animals if these communities had just put their self interest aside and stopped blocking new construction to jack up their home values. Not only are large homeless camps unsightly, they're also dangerous for public health, because they spread diseases that are easily communicable to the rest of us.

So all of this is to say, while I am sympathetic to the rights of the property owner and investor, most of us have other concerns that, in total, are more valid.

Last edited by asahi; 04-04-2019 at 12:54 PM.
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