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Bill offers incentives to build middle income housing

There is no question that housing is one of the biggest issues facing San Diego County and the state. With that in mind, Assemblymember David Alvarez, D-San Diego, has proposed a bill intended to get more homes built for middle income families.

AB 1287 would create incentives for developers to build moderate income housing, like already existing incentives for low income units.

"Housing affordability is a big challenge facing a lot of people, it's not just poor people who are have a hard time making rent right now. It's also middle class people ... having also big challenges and we need solutions to address that as well," said Colin Parent of Circulate San Diego. He said his nonprofit came up with the idea for the bill.


Parent said low income housing would still be prioritized.

Alan Gin, an associate professor of economics at the University of San Diego, said when it comes to housing affordability, it's been the perfect storm for working families in San Diego County.

"San Diego is a desirable place to live," he said. "Housing prices have surged particularly after the pandemic."

Gin said that caused a shortage, and prices skyrocketed in an area already behind on building.

"There's a shortage then of middle income, or what some people call 'workforce housing' — that's housing then for people who work, jobs like teaching or police officers," he said. "They're not really low income, they have a moderate amount of income, but they still can't afford to buy a home here in San Diego."


He said the median price of a single family home in San Diego County is $900,000 and the median income for a middle class family in San Diego County is $90,000.

"You need about $200,000 in annual income in the household in order for that. That's double what the median income is in San Diego," Gin said. "Most people in San Diego are not going to be able to afford the median price home."

Gin said while the bill is a good attempt at solving the issue, it might make the problem worse in the the long term.

"The problem is just too big for I think any one piece of legislation to handle. I don't even know that it is fixable," he said. "If you build enough homes and just drive the price down, that'll just encourage more people to want to live here. And then we start the problem all over again."

The bill may get its first committee hearing next month.

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