The development of affordable housing is inherently difficult. Projects typically require multiple funding sources, face neighborhood opposition, and are closely watched by both skeptics and state housing officials.
Yet California's need for additional affordable housing is undeniable, despite the crash in real estate prices. So CP&DR shares this look at three different projects to offer lessons for anyone involved in providing housing affordable to people of modest means: a crime-ridden, market-rate condominium complex that the Rialto Redevelopment Agency rehabilitated as affordable apartments; a new, eye-catching project in an industrial part of San Jose that serves 218 households making less than half of median income; and a project in Contra Costa County that overcame what appeared to be imminent failure.
The City of Riverside's plan for spending $6 million in federal aid for foreclosures promises participation in nearly every category of rescue listed by the the Department of Housing and Urban Development, including rehabilitation, readying properties for sale to homeowners, and even demolishing properties that are too far gone and selling the land to Habitat for Humanity, the volunteer home building group.
The housing market slide that began during late 2006 and picked up speed in 2007 has become a full-fledged disaster in 2008. Housing starts are at their lowest level since anyone started keeping track, and prices continue to fall. Neither developers nor lenders are willing to start new projects, and analysts say the market may not turn around for at least three or four years.
The state and federal governments are throwing a lot of "new money" at the housing market in hopes of stabilizing prices and bailing out subprime mortgage borrowers. For California alone, the total looks to be several hundred million dollars – at least – in the next year alone. But is that anywhere near enough to make a dent in the problem?
A lawsuit challenging the City of Pleasanton's housing policies has been reinstated by the First District Court of Appeal after a trial court judge had ruled the lawsuit was filed too late. The unanimous three-judge appellate panel determined the statute of limitations for the lawsuit had not expired. The court concluded housing advocates had at least three years to sue the city.
A case involving Santa Cruz County's second unit ordinance has been returned to the Sixth District Court of Appeal by the state Supreme Court because the county has amended the ordinance.
The county has asked the court to dismiss the case entirely because the county has eliminated the ordinance provisions in question, Deputy County Counsel Dwight Herr said. Those provisions dictate rent levels and who may occupy a second unit.
You'd think so, based on all the publicity about plummeting home prices in California – and the rapidly increasing price of gasoline. In the short run, it is probably true that we'll see big housing price drops in the exurbs and construction will stop almost completely.
The California housing market crashed during 2007, and only true optimists and a handful of industry groups predict a turnaround this year. The halcyon days of the housing boom already seem like a long ways away.
But while the downturn has reached nearly every corner of the state, some markets are stronger than others. In particular, exurban markets are weak, while urban markets focused on infill development are relatively strong.
Morris Newman's June Deals column, "Disney Spins Negative Fantasia About Housing," is off the mark, citing misinformation and wrongly taking Disney to task on Anaheim housing issues. As the former director of the California Department of Housing and Community Development, and now as President and CEO of the Orange County Business Council (OCBC), I appreciate the opportunity to correct the record.
It's undeniable: California is in the worst housing bust since the early 1990s. Sales have dropped by a third compared with last year. Prices are stable for now, but nobody knows what will happen once all those bank repos hit the market. And it's pretty clear that developers all over the state are sitting on their entitlements. Nobody's building anything unless they absolutely have to.