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Report: San Diego’s Housing Shortage A Looming ‘Economic Crisis’

Photo caption: A crane stands at a housing construction site in downtown San Diego in this u...

Photo by KPBS

A crane stands at a housing construction site in downtown San Diego in this undated photo.

Report: San Diego's Housing Shortage A Looming "Economic Crisis"


Marney Cox, special projects director, SANDAG



Regional Housing & Economic Impact Analysis

Regional Housing & Economic Impact Analysis

A San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce-sponsored report on housing affordability in San Diego.

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San Diego has one of the least affordable housing markets in the country. Market experts say that's because there's a housing shortage. A new report sponsored by the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce says the housing shortage has become an "impending economic crisis" for San Diego.

The July 15report criticizes the region's emphasis on solving the problem by building high-density, multi-unit developments. Author Gary London of the real estate consulting firm The London Group said San Diegans have historically favored single-family homes, which will be in short supply. That could drive up their prices and force workers out of the region to less expensive cities, he wrote.

“It is simply too risky to bet our entire region’s growth on the premise that nearly all the housing that can and should be built is multifamily,” London wrote. “Failure to accomplish a more balanced approach to new housing will not only fester the housing crisis, but will bleed into a calamitous economic crisis at some point.”

But SANDAG disputes the study’s claim that the region’s planners are embarking on an “experiment” by favoring high-density housing. It’s too soon to say whether millennials, who currently favor living in the urban core, will eventually look for suburban homes. Even if they do, SANDAG special projects director Marney Cox said demand for suburban homes would push politicians to rezone for more single-family homes.

“Look at demand for developing single family houses in the region today that are not zoned for that, like Lilac Hills,” Cox said. “The market is saying to us that there’s a demand here. Or at least a builder is telling us there’s a demand here. That will ultimately influence elected officials, who have control over land use.”

Cox joins KPBS Midday Edition on Thursday with more on how the housing market is adapting to new developments.

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