Affordable Housing in San Diego at Crisis Point



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Jun 6, 2017 (San Diego) Affordable housing in San Diego has become a mirage. One of the causes is the lack of affordable housing, which Mayor Kevin Faulconer recognized during the State of the City in January.

We can – and we will – make housing affordable for the middle class.

One of the biggest issues affecting us in California is the state’s housing shortage…

And the unaffordable housing market it has spawned.

An alarmingly large slice of our paychecks isn’t going toward savings accounts or higher education.

It’s going toward skyrocketing rent and mortgage costs.

More than 70 percent of San Diegans cannot currently afford a median priced home.

And San Diego renters spend a bigger part of their income on housing than those in Boston, San Francisco and New York City.

We have to change that.

However, there has not been any substantial move in lowering rents. In fact, according to the San Diego Business Journal rents are expected to continue to rise in 2017.

“Operators will take advantage of the demand by accelerating annual rent growth to 5.8 percent this year after increasing rent 5.4 percent in 2016,” Berkadia stated in a preview released in December.

This means that more people in the service economy will be displaced, and we will see less income available for other economic activity. Some will be displaced to the streets. Which is a deepening crisis in this city.

We have a problem with affordable housing. The California Housing Partnership Corporation had this to say in a recent report:

There is a shortfall of 127,930 homes affordable to San Diego County’s very low income (VLI) and extremely low-income (ELI) households.

  • Median rents in San Diego County increased by 23% between 2000 and 2012, while the median income declined by 7%, significantly driving up the percentage of income that households must spend on rent.

  • 70% of very low-income households pay more than 50% of their income in rent.


Moreover, the study reports that while rents continue to go up, wages are stagnant. This has been a long-standing pattern, and housing is far from affordable. There is also a 78 percent reduction in Federal and State funds that could go towards affordable housing.

There are solutions to this, and one would be an enforcement of the building of affordable housing in projects. Another is simply more housing and different types of housing. The New City encourages the use of urban core dense developments. What is clear is that San Diego cannot wait too much longer.

San Diego has a vibrant downtown and is a global city that has attracted a class of professionals that give the city vibrancy and development. This city has created a two-tier system. Due to high rents, many of the young professionals cannot afford to come to San Diego. This, in time, will hurt the region. If we cannot continue to attract the innovation economy, it will hurt the city.

Also, the people who support the creative class, that is the service economy, need to be able to live in the city. Or at least have ways to reach the core where the creative class does business. So this is not a minor thing. San Diego will have to develop strategies to serve two different groups of people, to continue to thrive. What other cities have enacted is rent control as well.


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