A new paper The Landscape of Middle-Income Housing Affordability in California explores the rising housing cost burdens facing middle-income households. The paper identifies policy opportunities for state and local governments to encourage the production of middle-income housing in California by relying on land use, building code, and regulatory reforms.
A few key findings from the report:
- While cost burdens are more severe for lower-income households, approximately 39 percent of middle-income renters are cost-burdened, a share that has grown by roughly 9 percent between 2010 and 2019.
- A lack of “entry-level” homes for sale has led to a decline in homeownership rates for middle-income households. Meanwhile, regional differences in housing prices have contributed to more workers commuting further to be able to afford homeownership opportunities in more distant suburbs or other regions.
- Land use and regulatory changes can help to encourage the production of smaller, multifamily, and lower-cost units that may be more affordable to middle-income households.
Case studies of the approaches of four California cities—Irvine, San José, Rocklin, and Woodland—offer examples of the solutions and barriers to local efforts aimed at shifting market conditions to catalyze middle-income housing production.
Image courtesy of Sightline Institute Missing Middle Homes Flickr Library