Photo by Brian Addison. Graphics courtesy of CALmatters.
Note: some charts are animated. This piece was originally published on September 12, 2017 and has been updated with newer information.
Nonprofit, nonpartisan journalism venture CALmatters has examined decades of data to analyze how the State’s Capitol and local policies in combination with the market have created the housing and affordability crises California faces.
Here are 10 charts that show just how bad it is.
Rent Rates vs. Renters’ Income
Firstly, let’s begin with renters.
Surely, the old adage that “It may cost more to live here but they pay you better” might be true on some levels—mainly for the privileged who immediately enter high-paying positions—but the fact of the matter is that income has not kept pace with rent costs over the past two decades.
Home Prices by Decade: National Average vs. State Average (animated)
California isn’t just slightly above the national average for home prices—we are exorbitantly beyond the national average.
“Despite relatively low mortgage rates, exploding housing prices have caused California’s homeownership rate to dip significantly,” said journalist Ben Christopher. “Just over half of California households own their homes—the third lowest rate in the country, and the lowest rate within the state since World War II.”
The only other state with a more expensive median home price? Hawaii.
Housing Permits Issued vs. Added Population: Top 10 Worse Cities in CA
Yup, Long Beach has seventeen people moving here for every one housing permit granted, making it the state’s eighth worse city.
By comparison, our neighbor to the north, Los Angeles, has 2.8 persons per housing unit—one of the lowest in the state.
Increase in Homelessness vs. Increases in Rent
The chart speaks for itself.
Affordable Housing Subsidies
Let’s be entirely frank: the dissolving of the Redevelopment Agency (RDA) was described as a blow to affordable housing and fixing blight—but the reality is that while there should have been a boom in affordable housing construction under the RDA, most of the money was siphoned toward administrative costs.
“Each year, roughly 25 to 40 agencies characterize[d] as planning and administration all or nearly all of the housing set-aside fund money they spend,” the report noted.
Young Adults Living with Parents by Decade (animated)
No, it is not because the current generation is more lazy, more entitled, or more irresponsible. It’s because the cost of living is so exorbitant, the value of bachelors degrees has decreased so significantly while increasing in cost, and the ability to live on one’s own has been diminished due to skyrocketing rents.
Housing Affects Economy in Total
Yup: when you don’t build enough housing, it hurts every other sector of the economy.
Affordability Crosses Urban/Rural Divide
I already discussed how the affordability crisis has crossed the urban/rural divide nationally; here are specifics in California’s most rural counties.
California’s Number of Housing Units by Year
Don’t build it and the cost shall rise.
Number of Construction Jobs by Year
Because who needs a job anyway?