Housing prices in California are high, especially compared to the rest of the country. The skyrocketing prices have placed a burden on young adults and families, so much so that a new political movement arguing that more homes must be built in order to mitigate housing price appreciation has taken a rise.
The movement is knows as YIMBY— “Yes, in my back yard," and has even spurred State Senator Scott Wiener to propose the SB 827 bill, which would compel California’s cities to allow dense, mid-rise housing within walking distance of most transit.
Chief Economist at BuildZoom and a fellow at the Terner Center for Housing Innovation at the University of California, Berkeley, Issi Romem says that if passed, the bill would be the most important step in decades towards upping the state’s housing supply in substantial numbers.
Romem writes: Local control in housing matters seems reasonable: Shouldn’t people have final say over what happens in their neighborhoods? But when new housing is proposed, those who stand to gain from it most often do not live in the city where it is proposed—they include renters and future homeowners throughout the metro who would benefit from slower housing price growth, and whose ability to remain in the metro diminishes when rents and home values rise. They also include many for whom it would broaden the set of neighborhoods they could afford to live in, expanding access to employment or schooling opportunities and affecting daily commutes. Crucially, those standing to gain include potential new residents who could move to the metro if more housing were built, gaining access to all that the metro provides and in many ways benefitting its current residents. Those who stand to lose because it could hurt their property values or adversely affect such aspects of life as traffic or school enrollment, can also be found outside the city where the new housing is proposed, but the most vocal among them—and those whose interests exclusively sway the decision whether to allow it—tend to be concentrated nearby.Read More