Several key reports were released over the summer— 

 The National Low Income Housing Coalition just released Out of Reach 2022: The High Cost of Housing, which dives deep into the housing challenges facing all parts of the country. While the report finds that it takes a housing wage of $25.82 an hour to afford a modest two-bedroom home and $21.25 an hour for a one-bedroom, those are averages for the nation as a whole. California ranks second in costs, with a two-bedroom home requiring an income of $39.01 an hour. For a minimum wage worker earning $15/hour, it would take 83 hours to afford a one-bedroom apartment. Explore the details here.      

Up For Growth released a comprehensive look at the housing shortage across the country with its report Housing Underproduction in the U.S. 2022. The report, which includes data from 800 cities, found that housing underproduction more than doubled between 2012 and 2019 with an estimated deficit of 3.8 million homes including 987,000 in California. The report proposes a policy framework that recommends prioritizing development in areas that are rich in jobs, transportation, infrastructure, and community assets at a density scaled to fit into the existing neighborhood while increasing housing options. 

The Terner Center for Housing Innovation, in partnership with SPUR, released a new Research and Policy report entitled The ABCs of JPAs.  The report details a new model for preserving middle-income housing for households earning between 80-120% of Area Median Income where the property receives a property tax exemption and acquisition funds are raised through tax-exempt bond issuances. This new model has been used throughout the State, with 40 projects totaling more than 13,800 new homes approved since 2019. Although progress is being made, some cities have been reticent to use this new model, with concerns that underwriting may be overly aggressive, the level of affordability is not deep enough, the fees generated by the model are too high, and the enforcement of affordability restrictions may not be sufficient. The report describes the model and concludes with a series of principles that are intended to address these concerns.  

Gimme Shelter: The California Housing Crisis Podcast recently focused on the drought and its relationship to housing development. Manuela Tobias from CalMatters and Liam Dillon from the Los Angeles Times dove into this issue with Ellen Hanak, Director of the Public Policy Institute of California’s Water Policy Center. While many opponents of housing growth raise the issue of water availability and the drought, new research has shown that there is sufficient water for new development as long as Californians continue to conserve. Read more from the Los Angeles Times here.    

Stewards of Affordable Housing for the Future (SAHF) released an overview of community solar programs and affordable housing, looking specifically at policy and programmatic barriers that prevent affordable housing residents from accessing the full benefit of these programs. The analysis describes that lack of guidance from HUD on how community solar benefits affect resident utility allowances and income have limited participation in these programs. In response, HUD has released national and state level guidance to provide affordable housing residents and owner/operators with this information. Check out the overview report from SAHF and the HUD guidance.  

California YIMBY published a blog—Housing Justice is Essential for Reparations—that summarizes the housing justice actions needed to implement the work of the California Task Force to Study and Develop Reparation Proposals for African Americans. The Task Force’s Interim Report includes a long section on housing segregation, considering a wide range of issues, including redlining, racially restrictive covenants, and eminent domain. Additionally, the report looks at substandard housing and overcrowding as well as the racial wealth gap. 

Another California YIMBY blog—How Remote Work Drove Pandemic Housing Demand- And Prices—dives into a report from the National Bureau of Economic Research, which compiled data from metros throughout the United States using American Community Survey (ACS) data. The report concludes that the pandemic was responsible for at least half of the home price increases experienced throughout the nation and finds that housing demand and prices increased in regions with a higher number of remote workers. This was true both within cities as well as outside cities.  

A blog from the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University—Did Housing Affordability Worsen During the First Year of the Pandemic—similarly found that housing cost burdens grew during the pandemic’s first year. According to the blog, the number of households that overpaid for housing—spending more than 30% of their income on housing—increased 1.5% from the prior year. The impact was even greater for renter households.