Thursday, June 16, 2011
Multi-Family Is The Future Of CA Housing
The crummy housing market may be the biggest drag on the U.S economy. And the one glimmer of hope in California is not what the housing industry was hoping for.
UCLA’s Anderson Forecast shows that demand for California homes will increase but the demand will be for apartments and condos. A rebound in construction and sale of detached family homes, meanwhile, is nowhere in sight. The forecast reaches its conclusion for a couple of reasons.
First, slow economic growth will make it difficult for anyone to afford big houses. Second, demographic data show the primary house hunters in our immediate future will be people in their 20s and 30s, who prefer multi-family urban homes that are close to jobs.
Growth in demand for attached housing is not great for the economy because building apartments and condos doesn’t employ as many people as building single-family homes. It’s also bad for inland California because low demand for houses means places like Modesto and Fresno will take a lot longer to climb out of the foreclosure hell they’ve fallen into.
Living in multi-family houses close to jobs, of course, isn’t such a bad thing. Some people even call it “smart growth.” Whether you like it or not, we might have to start getting used to it.
No Transit For Old Folks Is A Problem
Speaking of demographics, we’re getting more and more elderly people as the baby boom generation gets long in the tooth. And a study by Transportation for America says they are going to have a tough time getting around.
“By 2015, more than 15.5 million Americans 65 and older will live in communities where public transportation service is poor or non-existent,” says the group. The title of its study sums it up: Aging in Place, Stuck Without Options.
Transportation for America rates large American cities based on how well, or poorly, they serve seniors. Click here to see where lack of transit for the elderly is the most acute in San Diego County. Demographers at SANDAG, by the way, say that between now and 2050 the number of people in San Diego County over age 65 will grow by 142 percent.
Red Light Cameras Aren’t So Bad
Who said they were? The Los Angeles Police Commission for one. They are a panel of citizens that oversees the LAPD who have voted to end the city’s contract with a company that maintains its red-light cameras.
The cameras, which catch drivers in the act of running red lights, have been a focal point of citizen rage. I’ve heard it all. The cameras ticket innocent people. They enrich private companies that build and maintain the lights. They invade your privacy (…by taking a picture of you and your car on a public street??). They cause rear-end collisions.
But a story in Streetsblog.org takes a position in favor of the robotic traffic cops. Fact is, the cameras work. They reduce traffic accidents at intersections. We have seen this in San Diego, as I reported earlier this year.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety said San Diego has seen its fatal crashes, tied to red light running, fall more than 50 percent after introducing the cameras.
I know several people who have gotten nabbed by the cameras, and the fine is stiff… more than 400 dollars. But maybe the solution is to not run red lights. Just a suggestion.