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San Diego’s Housing Crisis Squeezing The Middle Class

August 8, 2016 1:19 p.m.

San Diego's Housing Crisis Squeezing The Middle Class


Alison St John, North County reporter, KPBS News

Related Story: San Diego's Housing Crisis Squeezing The Middle Class


This is a rush transcript created by a contractor for KPBS to improve accessibility for the deaf and hard-of-hearing. Please refer to the media file as the formal record of this interview. Opinions expressed by guests during interviews reflect the guest’s individual views and do not necessarily represent those of KPBS staff, members or its sponsors.

People who already own a home in San Diego may not realize it but a housing crisis is underway in the region. Allison St John says the new construction is leaving middle income buyers and renters even more underserved than low income families. Longtime Escondido resident Guy Chandler faced a situation that many families may be all-too-familiar with. He described it in a meeting.'s the worst air my life was to 16th 2015 when my daughter came to me and said sit down. She said we have to move out of Sandeno County.
's daughter said she was plenty digger family and move to another state because she cannot find a house she could afford to raise her kids in San Diego.
The next two days a lot of crying went on.'s bike now communicates with his grandchildren the of these time.
My point is droves of young families are leaving the state of California because they can't afford to live your.
The housing situation is being called a crisis. Stephen Russell heads the Federation which works to produce more locum -- locum housing for renters with the help of government subsidies. Cemex in figure 2000 we've seen Brett increase by 32%.
More than 70% of Sunday can are priced out of the home ownership market for an average price house. San Diego regional planning agency dissociation of governmental sent access we have a capacity to build our needs.
Here is a director Charles.
Our current forecast shows that the planned housing that is contained on the plans for all of our local jurisdiction in all the cities in all the counties provide enough housing to accommodate the projected means of 25,000 units.
The current plans show the capacity to meet that.
The gap between what we need and what is being built is getting wider.
We need anywhere between 11 to 12,000 units annually just to keep pace with population growth.
Matt Adams says that has not happened since 2005. Last year he said the building industry finally take it permits for over 10,000 units but admits there is attached to these numbers. More of the permits are for multi family and not single family homes. He said there's still not affordable.
October 10,000 that were produced last year, you had only 229 single-family homes that were produced that could be sold that $500,000 or less. Been you had only for hundred 70 one multi family homes produced that could be sold at $500,000 or less. The market that is not being met is the market of working middle-class families. A recent tally showed over hundred 50% were being built. Low income family needs were only about 20% met. New construction for middle income families met only 18% of the need.
Russell said the state requires cities to submit plans for where housing that could be built there are few incentives to build them.
If municipalities built to committee plans and met the expectations, if they were to do that then we could meet the local demand for housing.
Charles says the regional planning agency has no authority to push cities that don't want higher density.
Peach District is responsible for pulling their own weight.
PC -- he says they should take more of a leading role.
I don't think the magnitude is permeated to the minds of all of those board member so we have a lot of work ahead of us to get the level focus and attention and commitment from SANDBAG Market forces are creating more than enough new housing for upper-income residents . That story from North County Bureau chief Allison St John who joins us now.
Then morning.
Hasn't this been a constant in San Diego for the longest time that a large portion of the population can't afford to buy a house here?
Yes, indeed. I know that Stephen Russell said that 56 years ago when he and Tony we are talking about attempting to tackle the lack of affordable housing. It was called the housing crisis for the longest time. I think sort of one of the things is that it becoming fairly clear that the people who are already in the housing market perhaps are less aware of the difficulty for people trying to come from outside or people like the children of the people who live here now to be able to stay. So it is becoming more and more of a problem for the region and the more the land that we have available for building housing gets used up, the bigger problem it will be. It is very important to develop policies that help address this problem.
You say that there already plans that the cities have that in theory to build the housing we need.
That is what is so interesting because when you go to the planning agencies, you find that according to them there is enough land that each jurisdiction in the unincorporated County have set aside for enough housing to meet our needs into the future. In theory, it looks as though we should be fine. In practice market forces interact with public sector planning and market forces do not appear to be unfolding in a way that meets our needs.
Why is it more lucrative for developers to build high-end housing as opposed to high density lower-priced units?
Most of them to build low income housing at all unless they are getting subsidies from the government. There are two construction sectors. One is the sector that uses a lot of government subsidies to make a payout and then the other sector, which is the more market-driven construction industry, which appears to be very much providing to the needs of the upper market. In fact, more than 100% of houses needed are being constructed, whereas the middle income and of the market is the one that is thing the least amount of housing being built. Part of the reason is that it is so expensive to build because of all the regulation that 40% of the cost of new construction is due to local government regulation. Obviously, the other side of the coin is there hoping to meet larger profits from the more expensive properties and the middle income properties they say don't pencil out. So we don't know what the prophets are it is really hard to double check on that.
Allison, in your feature we heard the story of a family thing separated because the kids have to move away to buy a house or rent something that is affordable. To have a sense of how common that situation is?
Anybody looking at the situation all the knowledge that the idea that we are not providing housing for people coming from the outside is really much less of a problem than the fact that we can provide housing for our own children. Demographically, because this is a wonderful place to live many people would like to have their children remain in the area and be close to them. That is becoming difficulty -- difficult for them. Those who say we don't want more people coming to San Diego from the outside, the fact is that the largest sector that is looking for housing now is our own children.
If families are moving away because they can afford to buy or rent, when it to the benefit of the city to actually promote the building a middle-class housing to preserve their tax base?
Well, yes. The problem is that there are many problems. One of the things is that local communities are set with increasing traffic. Anytime we see a new development, traffic is a big issue because we do not have a infrastructure and a public transit system. Nobody wants to be spending their lives in traffic jams so they don't want more density or go density has become aware that is very flashpoint and some people simply are a distant. Other people that opinion cities that are well-designed and seen how dense housing can be a wonderful way to live and you are closed to all your shops and places of work and parks become so much closer community that are very spread out development here in San Diego. That's what are the reason that many jurisdictions are resisting higher density is because they don't want to see the traffic.
I've been speaking with Allison St John. Thank you very much.
Thank you.