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.
The fight over fair-share allocations of needed housing within the Southern California Association of Governments region is on. At least two cities have filed lawsuits and numerous others are reportedly considering their legal and political options.
A common method of converting rent-controlled apartments into for-sale condominiums in San Francisco has been upheld in a lawsuit filed by apartment tenants who alleged an unlawful business practice. The First District Court of Appeal ruled that the tenants had no right to bring the lawsuit.