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Key Insights on California’s Housing Crisis

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By Stella Pierce
Community Writer
07/08/2024 at 02:41 PM

California’s housing crisis took center stage in the state capital this week at a solutions discussion forum hosted by the Center for California Real Estate (CCRE), an institute of the CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® (C.A.R.). The forum kicked off a three-day legislative and business conference for the Association with members from across the state in town to meet their local legislative representatives and convene around Association matters.

CCRE Presents – Capitol Conversations: Navigating California’s Housing Solutions featured Assemblymembers Pilar Schiavo (40th District - California's 40th congressional district is a congressional district in the U.S. state of California, encompassing OrangeSan Bernardino, and Riverside counties) and Chris Ward (78th District) in a wide-ranging discussion moderated by C.A.R. President Melanie Barker.

The conversation ranged from insurance and state budget to housing supply and affordability to homelessness and climate issues. Panelists covered contributing factors, the latest findings as well as current and ongoing efforts to address some of the most critical issues impacting housing in California. Key among the 2024 insights shared during Monday’s discussion:

  • Political appetite is strong for incentivizing production of housing and eliminating barriers.
    More bills than ever before this year deal with addressing the housing crisis, indicating a large political will towards solutions designed to result in more production and delivery of housing at every level.
    • “A lot of the work we need to do in our solutions to meet the population’s need is in supply and making sure there is a supply there for every family of every part of the economic spectrum so that they have a place here in California to call home. I can tell you as the chair of the housing committee this year we’ve seen more pieces of legislation than ever. …I perceive this as a good thing because we have a lot of colleagues who actually want to be a part of the solution and are presenting ideas. I see a lot of political will and interest to say yes and to do more with housing.” – Assemblymember Chris Ward

  • Key movement on short-term solutions as well as long-term goals. Legislators and policymakers are working together towards a goal of housing at every level that everyone can afford. A multi-prong approach is needed to address the many facets of the housing crisis in short-term and long-term efforts.
    • “We’re going to have to decide as a state to really make an ongoing investment instead of one-time or short-term investments in housing because our housing stock is just so far behind.” – Assemblymember Schiavo

       

  • Historic norms are being called into question in an ‘everything is on the table’ approach to addressing the housing emergency. From rethinking CEQA and the Coastal Act to restrictions and penalties on frivolous lawsuits and plaintiffs’ attorneys fees, policymakers are looking at all potential solutions to advance housing and eliminate barriers.
    • “We’re getting to the point where we’re going to have to have a reckoning about how we want to address CEQA in a more holistic way. It’s something that we want to make sure is there for the protection that is needed, but also not a barrier that delays projects for years and years because of frivolous lawsuits – that is the balance we really have to figure out. – Assemblymember Schiavo
    • “The Coastal Act is something we’re talking about a lot more seriously. So far it’s also something that has been very much third rail, we love our coastline here, we want to make sure there’s access for everybody – but to have an almost duplicative land use process that is preventing reasonable development from being a part of that neighborhood too, when you’ve already baked in the tenets of the Coastal Act… we should not just turn a blind eye to three-year delays in something getting built.” – Assemblymember Ward

  • Hope is on the horizon for the insurance crisis. To help bring insurers back to the marketplace, a broad coalition ? comprised of real estate industry experts, insurance companies, the California Department of Insurance and others ? is exploring multiple options, including the development of catastrophic modeling tools available in 49 other states, and reducing pressure on the FAIR plan and remaining insurers, which should ultimately help bring rates down.
    • “C.A.R., along with other coalition partners, is lending its weight to support the regulations. The result should stabilize the market and allow for more companies to enter and come back.” – Sanjay Wagle, C.A.R. SVP, Government Affairs

While none of these solutions in progress provide overnight relief, panelists agreed there is much to look forward to as they collectively help solve some of the key aspects of California’s housing crisis. And many other efforts are also underway, including creative funding programs to help address homelessness, rent control and other issues.

“It’s the cumulation of all the work we’re trying to do that will add up to turning the trend lines around and solving California’s housing crisis.”  - commented Assembly member Ward