Jerusalem Demsas at The Atlantic:
California’s housing policies are the same as everywhere in the US, but population pressure has made the housing situation here far worse.
In blue and red localities across the country, researchers find a “California-style” preference for single-family homes, hostility to density and renters, a tendency to segregate types of development (industrial, commercial, and residential), and a default toward delaying or blocking the construction of new homes, whether affordable or market-rate.
What has made California the worst in the country for housing is not uniquely bad policy but population growth running up against generically bad policy. If both San Francisco and a small, economically disadvantaged town in Mississippi enact a home-building moratorium, that’s going to hurt a lot more in the former, where millions of people want to live, than in the latter, where just a handful of people do.
Jobs and state population growth in California outstripped housing development. From 2010-20, the state permitted—not built, just permitted—one home for every 2.54 jobs it added. That leads the country; Utah permitted one home for every 1.57 jobs.
Legislation to legalize high-density housing is proving politically impossible in California, and elsewhere around the US too.
Terrible housing policy isn’t California’s legacy; it’s America’s.