Golden State housing crunch prompts cries of ‘Yes, in my backyard!’

by Anna Sobrevinas26 Jan 2017
In Los Angeles, there is an emerging movement that has to do with backyards.

YIMBY – “Yes, in my backyard,” is a rising call to remedy the Golden State’s lack of housing. As the country’s most populous state, California trails behind Utah as the 49th state in the number of housing units per capita, while ranking second in overcrowding, according to a Wall Street Journal reportFreeways and suburbs overwhelmed the state after a postwar building boom, and from 1980 to 2010 coastal cities increased their housing units at only half the rate of a typical U.S. metro area, the Journal reported.

According to California’s legislative analyst’s office, the state built about  90,000 fewer units per year than required to keep in line with the rest of the nation with its home price growth.

Prices have gone up because of the housing shortage – in 1970, California home prices were 30% higher than the country’s median. California is now 2.5 times more expensive. Out of the 10 most unaffordable markets in the country, seven are in the state.

Another stumbling block to housing is California’s varied natural environment. Environmental challenges to developments can delay projects for years.

 “It shouldn’t be such an onerous task to build housing when we have a housing crisis,” Mark Vallianatos, an environmentalist and part of the YIMBY movement, which pushes for the development of “housing of all types,” told the Journal.

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