California’s Housing Prices Need to Come Down

Calculation by Issi Romem from U.S. Census and Bureau of Labor Statistics data

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Housing in California has been appreciating much more quickly than in the aggregate of the U.S. for about half a century. While rising rents and home values have benefitted many along the way, they have become enough of a burden on young adults and families that a new political movement has emerged; this movement argues that more homes must be built in order to mitigate housing price appreciation and allow more people to live where they wish.

The new movement consists of a multitude of overlapping groups, collectively known as YIMBY— “Yes, in my back yard.”

State Senator Scott Wiener, the movement’s champion in the California Senate, has proposed a new bill SB 827, that, if passed would compel California’s cities to allow dense, mid-rise housing within walking distance of most transit. The bill would affect large swaths of Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Oakland, and other locations farther afield, near rail stations and along bus routes. If SB 827 passes, it would be the most important step in decades towards upping the state’s housing supply in substantial numbers.

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