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State Policy Solutions to the Short Supply of Housing

When it comes to a lack of affordability in housing, it’s no secret that California is outpacing the nation. Average home prices are about two and half times more expensive than the rest of the country, and rents are about 50 percent higher. A shortage in supply is a key contributing factor, and we need both public policy and private sector solutions that will help expand housing production to better meet demand.

This week, the Terner Center is sharing an analysis of one important avenue to meeting this challenge in California: improvements to state land use regulations to promote an environment that facilitates, rather than impedes, the production of housing for families. Published by the Center for California Real Estate in their newly launched Journal of Case Study Research, this piece analyzes Governor Brown’s Streamlining Affordable Housing Approvals (SAHA) proposal, which the Terner Center strongly supports. We provide a description of the strengths of this proposal and supplement this description with an analysis of similar legislation in Massachusetts – Chapter 40B-  which augments what SAHA is able to do, and holds great potential as a future step for California.

This is a critical moment and opportunity to improve California’s state housing framework. Without a meaningful revision, special interests rather than sound policy will continue to dictate the housing production potential of the state, and our pressing affordability challenges will only continue to grow. As the conversation continues, we hope this piece will help to chart a path for the state and its policymakers towards a housing landscape that does a much better job at serving California’s families.

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