The California housing market has been ruthless the last few years starting in 2020. As someone who has lived in California for the past 20 years seeing the market get so expensive is crazy it has made it impossible to buy. A close friend of mine had planned to start building there forever home at the end of 2019. But Covid made it impossible because of the sky rocketing price. snice 2020 the housing market price have continued to sky rocket and reach an all time high. So it is my hope separate from bargainhousenetwork.com that the California housing market will crash so that people can afford there homes, buying, and for those renting.
If California hopes to address its long-standing housing shortage, it will have to face numerous obstacles in 2024, including high interest rates, slow local approval processes, and a persistent scarcity of skilled construction workers.
However, a series of housing bills passed during the 2023 legislative session and set to take effect on January 1st offer some hope in alleviating or eliminating some of these challenges.
One notable set of housing laws comes from San Francisco Democratic Senator Scott Wiener. Senate Bill 423 extends and expands a law that expedites the approval process for apartment buildings with designated units for lower-income Californians. Similarly, SB 4 does the same for affordable housing on properties owned by religious institutions and non-profit colleges.
Wiener’s two new laws establish the direction of housing legislation in 2023, emphasizing the removal of barriers and the provision of incentives for housing construction.
“The era of rejecting housing proposals is coming to an end,” stated Wiener after the signing of these two bills.
According to policy analysts at UC Berkeley’s Terner Center for Housing Innovation, this was particularly evident for developers of purpose-built affordable housing. In their end-of-year legislative summary, the analysts stated that lawmakers, continuing their “remarkable run over the last several years,” provided “increased flexibility to surpass or override local zoning, enhanced certainty regarding the timing and probability of planning approvals, and significant relief from (environmental) review and litigation.”
Michael Lane, the state policy director for San Francisco’s urban planning think-tank SPUR, remarked, “I have never witnessed such a consensus in the Legislature before.”
YIMBYs are achieving success in advocating for increased construction, as stated by Politico. Notable achievements include AB 1287, which allows developers to build taller and denser buildings if they provide additional units for middle-income earners. SB 684 simplifies the process of dividing large plots of land into smaller clusters of townhomes and cottages. However, challenges arose when the second bill only applied to areas already zoned for multifamily housing, exempting historic single-family home neighborhoods. The coalition opposing pro-density policies still holds significant influence. They prevented a complete revision of the state’s environmental law. New laws will make it harder for opponents of housing projects to exploit the California Environmental Quality Act. A bill authored by Oakland Democratic Assemblymember Buffy Wicks instructs judges not to consider future residents’ noise as a pollutant requiring environmental mitigation.
Wicks’ legislation, which came into effect in September, may have garnered significant media attention, but there are other bills with similar intentions that will be enacted as laws in 2024, which could have more far-reaching consequences. One such bill is SB 439, introduced by Berkeley Democratic Senator Nancy Skinner, which aims to streamline the process of dismissing “frivolous” environmental lawsuits in courts. Another bill, AB 1449, proposed by Alvarez, seeks to protect numerous affordable housing projects from undergoing extensive environmental review. Additionally, AB 1633, put forth by San Francisco Democratic Assemblymember Phil Ting, will compel cities to make a definitive decision on a project’s environmental review within a specified timeframe.
During a recent webinar promoting the new policy, Ting emphasized the necessity of continuing the battle at the state level. He stated, “This highlights the importance of persisting with this struggle at the state level. We are aware that we need to construct two million homes, and they are not being built quickly enough… Local governments are simply not fulfilling their responsibilities. “Ting has established a strong reputation as a supporter of accessory dwelling units, also known as in-law units or granny flats. These small additional units have become increasingly popular among local governments as a means to meet their housing production goals set by the state. In recent years, they have also accounted for a significant portion of California’s new housing stock.
This can largely be attributed to a series of state laws that have made it more challenging for local governments to reject these developments or impose costly requirements. However, starting in 2024, Ting’s new bill, AB 1033, may bring about significant changes to the existing ADU market. This bill will allow homeowners to separate their ADUs and sell them as individual condos, but only if local governments choose to participate.
While this is contingent on local government cooperation, the prospect of condoization has sparked optimism among backyard cottage builders for the future. This comes at a time when California’s residential construction industry appears to be slowing down.
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