In an op-ed for the Los Angeles Times, Jonathan Woetzel, a senior partner at McKinsey & Co., shares how he would close the housing gap in California, a state where affordability is a major issue.
In a report that Woetzel co-authored, it states that California must build 3.5 million housing units by 2025 to satisfy pent-up demand and meet the needs of its growing population.
We have identified where 5 million new units of various kinds could be built in high-demand towns and cities throughout California. Some would be single-family homes on small lots; some would be “accessory dwelling units,” such as converted garages or new backyard cottages; some would be multifamily infill apartment buildings or condos.
Among other suggestions, Woetzel writes that there is room for more than 600,000 “smart growth” affordable single-family homes on undeveloped land near jobs and transit. We arrived at this number by mapping high-growth counties such as Contra Costa, San Bernardino and Sacramento to identify building sites that would minimize sprawl, cut highway gridlock and preserve open space and farmland. The new homes would be within five miles of a public transit hub, or within 20 miles of job centers.
In order to “unlock” the housing supply, the state must add real incentives and accountability to the planning and building process.