Talk for Wiki Project "Here’s why the critical housing shortage in US is most severe on the West Coast"

Talk about this Project

  1. [ This comment is from a user you have muted ] (show)

    In cities such as San Francisco I imagine that the height limit regulation must play a role in the housing crisis

    1. [ This comment is from a user you have muted ] (show)

      Yes, I’m curious what types of regulations are common in places with housing problems. I imagine some laws must be contributing.

      1. [ This comment is from a user you have muted ] (show)

        Examples of regulations that may be contributing.

        -Height limits, as you said

        -California requires a certain number of parking spaces for each unit in new developments https://www.bloomberg.com/view/articles/2018-03-06/california-parking-regulations-are-a-big-part-of-its-housing-crisis

        -More people are moving in than the number of homes being built, plus significant legal barriers to building new housing (common in wealthy and beach communities to keep the “local character”). “On average between 1980 and 2010, the state built about 120,000 new housing units per year, when up to 230,000 were needed to keep pace with growing population and changing demand” https://www.sacbee.com/news/politics-government/capitol-alert/article168107042.html

        – A common target of blame for the housing shortage is environmental policies (like the California Environmental Quality Act, or CEQA) because it causes delays. A Berkley study found the true problem is local government policies. “The study finds that discretionary review, which consists of mechanisms such as zoning and permits, is applied often redundantly. Additionally, in part because many large projects do not require Environmental Impact Reports, local processes are the main determinant of the entitlement timeline.” http://www.dailycal.org/2018/02/25/local-government-processes-not-environmental-laws-behind-californias-housing-crisis-according-berkeley-law-study/

  2. [ This comment is from a user you have muted ] (show)

    Is it possible that street homelessness is more prevalent on the west coast because the relatively mild weather allows people to live outside?

    1. [ This comment is from a user you have muted ] (show)

      There seems to be a measurable correlation of climate and unsheltered homelessness ^1 but it’s interesting that the study finds warm locations have a large variation, which suggests many more factors are in play.

      1 http://www.aei.org/publication/on-the-relationship-between-climate-and-homelessness/

      1. [ This comment is from a user you have muted ] (show)

        Agree this is an interesting topic to explore. Summers in the Pac NW are warm but winters can be brutal – lots of rain, occasional snow, freezing temps common – but there doesn’t SEEM to be much fluctuation in the homeless population by season, per my own admittedly anecdotal observation. I was surprised last winter to find homeless tent encampments had started in Juneau, Alaska. Not the harshest climate in Alaska (and it’s been weirdly warmer there in recent years) but not a warm climate either.

      2. [ This comment is from a user you have muted ] (show)

        Great info!

  3. [ This comment is from a user you have muted ] (show)

    Great article. I love to see some solid journalism on ten years after the housing crisis of 2008. Remember that the 2008 housing crisis happened because “housing was TOO affordable” which made financial interests afraid of a collapse of the banking system. One financial group which benefited from the chaos of 2008 is BlackRock which is now the largest landlord in the United States. – http://www.businessinsider.com/blackstone-is-largest-owner-of-real-estate-2015-11

    This 2011 article – http://fortune.com/2011/12/20/the-triumph-of-blackstone-on-wall-street/ includes this paragraph:
    Though it suffered large writedowns in 2008, Blackstone avoided a cataclysm. That’s largely because Schwarzman has always been obsessed with being “alert to danger,” as he puts it, instilling a caution that borders on paranoia. Blackstone anticipated the mortgage meltdown, the fall in equities prices, and the end of easy credit, and pushed hard for an IPO before the collapse. (That was good for Blackstone — not so good for its shareholders.) Blackstone’s hedge fund group wisely directed some of the hedge fund managers it worked with to bet against subprime mortgages. And in 2006 and 2007, Blackstone sold 81% of its private equity portfolio as prices were rising. Those decisions left the firm awash in cash when opportunities emerged in 2009.

    Personal commentary – after participating in a brief money exercise I visualized the images of a nest egg and a bottomless pit.

    Nest Egg. Like a bird protecting her eggs – human awareness naturally seeks protection.

    Bottomless pit – Money feels like a deep bottomless pit.

    How to be a bird protecting eggs without entering the pit? Know Water Is Life, Soil is Living. A small group of people unafraid of the bottomless pit and aware of the need to protect eggs could help to transform system to a kind, sane world for future generations.

  4. [ This comment is from a user you have muted ] (show)

    I’m a little concerned that the headline asserts things that are not claimed or proven in the story. Is there actually a “housing crisis”? I personally don’t doubt it, but it isn’t up to us to draw such a conclusion – we need credible sources to back that up. Ideally those credible sources would come from different political perspectives.

    1. [ This comment is from a user you have muted ] (show)

      Most news articles across the political spectrum use the word “crisis”, although that word is certainly a bit on the sensationalist side.

      LA Times: “California’s housing crisis reaches from the homeless to the middle class — but it’s still almost impossible to fix” ^1
      Economist: “Faced with a housing crisis, California could further restrict supply” ^2
      Fox News: “California housing crisis affecting middle class the most: It’s ‘a broken system'” ^3
      NPR: “California Housing Crisis: Working But On The Brink Of Homelessness” ^4

      The most critical piece I could find mostly replaces “crisis” with “challenge”: “Yes, whether it’s a housing ‘crisis’ or ‘challenge’ seems like a game of semantics. But it’s not. To me, one deserves careful consideration. The other, emergency action.” … “Yes, housing costs are an excessive burden for many Californians. … no easy cure or quick fix exists to the housing challenge.” Mercury News, “Does California really have a housing crisis?” ^5

      1 http://www.latimes.com/business/hiltzik/la-fi-hiltzik-housing-crisis-20180330-story.html
      2 https://www.economist.com/united-states/2018/05/10/faced-with-a-housing-crisis-california-could-further-restrict-supply
      3 http://www.foxnews.com/us/2017/12/14/california-housing-crisis-affecting-middle-class-most-its-broken-system.html
      4 https://www.npr.org/2018/04/16/601970552/californias-housing-crisis-working-but-on-the-brink-of-homelessness
      5 https://www.mercurynews.com/2017/05/15/housing-shortage-does-california-have-a-crisis-problem/

      1. [ This comment is from a user you have muted ] (show)

        Excellent analysis. I like the idea that we should follow less sensationalist language. If something has been a “crisis” for decades, then it’s actually not a crisis but something worse than a crisis.

        One thing that might be helpful to us, would be to think of more factual words that avoid the issue of emotional degree, but which still have meaning.

        “Here’s why US homelessness is higher on the west coast” would be an interesting example but of course isn’t quite right here – the problem referred to isn’t just about homelessness but also about substandard quality and people who aren’t homeless but also are scrimping in other areas of their lives because housing takes up an absurd amount of their monthly budget.

        The reason I care about this is that I think stories can have a much more powerful impact if they stick to indisputable facts and avoid cliched emotional language.

        1. [ This comment is from a user you have muted ] (show)

          What about changing the title to “Here’s why the critical housing shortage in US is most severe on the West Coast”

          1. [ This comment is from a user you have muted ] (show)

            Go for it!

  5. [ This comment is from a user you have muted ] (show)

    I am totally new to wiki-anything contributions. If I need to leave please (gently) let me know.
    The phrase “Driven By” would be more accurate as “influenced by”, impacted by”, or some such.
    Reasoning: The underlying asking price of real estate on the west coast is incredibly high, which also impacts those bank mortgages and subsequent rents. For example, in San Jose, CA a recently remodeled 2 bedroom, 1 bath, 811 sq ft home (MLS listing ML81714099, 670 N 14th St.) in an improving but still not-so-great neighborhood is currently offered at $849,000 with a likely mortgage of about $3395 per month (plus taxes and insurance). The assigned Grant elementary and Peter Burnet middle schools have Great Schools scores of 3 out of 10 so great schools aren’t driving that price (https://www.greatschools.org/california/san-jose/5665-Grant-Elementary-School/ and https://www.greatschools.org/california/san-jose/5654-Peter-Burnett-Middle-School/).
    Other sources of high real estate prices include: all cash offers on apartment buildings by retirees searching for stable investments; the desirability of living in certain locations like Palo Alto versus Bakersfield; the population crush near high value jobs; the slow and costly development process; and just plain greed – “Another owner gets this much, so I am too”. (Do I need individual citations for each of these phenomenon for this suggestion page?)
    There are complex, interactive forces “driving” high rents in California. So I think the article would be more neutral if the title reflected an “influence” rather than a “driver”.

    1. [ This comment is from a user you have muted ] (show)

      Many thanks for these interesting points Janet.

      Our Oregon resident Chuck Thompson has moved this story on with some further reporting, so have a read, then please jump in and edit with your thoughts.

  6. [ This comment is from a user you have muted ] (show)

    “Artificially inflated” is a curious phrase — it suggests that there is a “natural” level of rents, which is presumably so if you believe that rent is a completely free market driven only by Adam Smith’s invisible hand. But surely rents are always “artificial” in the sense that there are always all sorts of legal constraints. I think what you mean is “… driven by lenders manipulating loan terms”

    Indeed, a quick check suggests that "In San Francisco, most residential tenants are covered by rent control", according to the San Francisco Tenants Union https://www.sftu.org/rentcontrol/ so in that city at least, there is clearly no such thing as "natural" levels of rent: the market is subject to major "artificial" constraints.

    Edited: 2018-07-14 11:43:08 By Jennifer Pryor-Summers (talk | contribs) + 18 Characters .. + 4% change.‎‎ (Note | Diff)

    Edited: 2018-07-14 12:12:12 By Jennifer Pryor-Summers (talk | contribs) + 371 Characters .. + 88% change.‎‎ (Note | Diff)

    1. [ This comment is from a user you have muted ] (show)

      Good point Jennifer.

      Our Oregon resident Chuck Thompson has moved this story on with some further reporting, so have a read, then please jump in and edit with your thoughts.

Subscribe to our newsletter and be the first to collaborate on our developing articles:

WikiTribune Open menu Close Search Like Back Next Open menu Close menu Play video RSS Feed Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Reddit Follow us on Instagram Follow us on Youtube Connect with us on Linkedin Connect with us on Discord Email us