Even as California’s population suffers during the pandemic, new data shows that the state has experienced a boom in housing construction that hasn’t been seen since the Great Recession.
The surge in new construction — including an increase in multi-unit housing in some areas — comes as California faces a housing crisis that has forced the city and state to promote building more houses.
Experts say that while massive construction has helped, it hasn’t been enough – at least not yet – to seriously reduce rents and high housing prices.
Data from California Department of Finance shows that statewide housing production in 2022 rose 0.85%, the highest figure since 2008. That growth could ultimately help combat high housing costs in California, experts demographers said, and overcome population attrition.
Home construction activity increased in 2020 and 2021 but really boomed in 2022, showing the biggest jump since 2008.
Although 2008 – year one financial crisis caused by housing put America in that position Great Depression — possibly an ominous comparison, legislators have stated that additional housing is key to solving the state’s affordability crisis, with Governor Gavin Newsom pledged when he first took office in 2019 that 3.5 million new homes would be built by 2025.
“As it took a decade of really strong economic growth in this state for housing production to catch up to pre-recession levels, that says a lot about the depth of the manufacturing crisis,” said Michael Lens. our performance as well as about some of the recent victories.” , professor of urban planning and public policy at UCLA.
Lens has indicated a number of policy changes, including those accessory housing unit, as positive steps. “Some of this is the result of smarter policy,” he said, “but it has also recovered very slowly.”
A Times analysis of county-level data found that from 2021 to 2022, counties in Central and Northern California experienced the largest housing growth. Placer, Yuba, Butte, San Joaquin, Merced and San Benito counties led the state in growth rates, all above 3%.
“It wasn’t what we were hoping for,” Lens said of many of the rural areas with the most housing additions, as Central California “isn’t the most expensive place to live” and “isn’t the area with the most housing.” the state’s highest economic productivity.”
“The battle we are facing on the land-use front is the prevalence of ‘too limited coastal areas’,” he said.
“We still haven’t figured out how to get San Francisco and surrounding areas, Los Angeles and surrounding areas to build more housing faster,” Lens said, adding that the housing crisis has led to more housing. to population loss.
The inability to pay and the pandemic has led to a multi-year population loss in California, a trend that continues into 2022, when the state loses about 138,400 people, a 0.35% loss rate. The decline was less than in previous years, the slowdown in part due to a spike in foreign immigration.
During the pandemic, foreign immigration dropped sharply, but by 2022, this level has recovered to close to pre-pandemic rates. California made a net gain from immigration of 90,300 people last year, nearly three times more than the previous year’s total of 31,300.
However, the increase in immigration wasn’t enough to stop California’s three largest counties from losing their population again.
Los Angeles County Population fell 73,293 people, or 0.75%, San Diego County fell 5,680 people, or 0.2%, and Orange County fell 14,782 people, or 0.5%, according to the state Treasury Department report.
Overall, 46 out of 58 California counties lose population last year. Of the 482 cities counted, 356 lost their population, or 74%.
“Hundreds of thousands more people would want to live in the Bay Area — if not millions — and Southern California, if we made it easier to accommodate those people through more housing units.” and perhaps more affordable housing,” Lens said.
A Times analysis found that after steadily increasing in the 2010s, the number of people per household fell dramatically in 2020 and remained low.
According to Lens, overcrowding, which may have contributed to the high numbers of the 2010s, is a “predictable byproduct of overpriced housing.”
“A lot of the decline during the pandemic is related to people needing to separate from multi-generational lives,” he said, and may not reflect better housing outcomes for people overall.
The data shows that while the population is decreasing, the major cities have built the majority of new multi-family housing. Los Angeles added 12,074 multifamily units, representing 62% of net housing growth, and San Diego added 4,568 such units for 65% of net growth.
Oakland and San Francisco were even more inclined to develop more households, adding 3,880 and 2,573 units respectively, representing 97% and 91% of the growth.
On the other hand, suburban cities often prioritize single-family housing. The report says all developments – 100% – in Roseville and Santa Clarita are single-family homes. In Fresno it was 92% and in Irvine it was 71%.
The housing crisis is illustrated by a boom in manufacturing accessory housing unit. ADU production increases 61% in 2022 as the state adds more than 20,000 units.
In total, the state acquired 123,350 housing units in 2022, the most in nearly 15 years.
The state still has a long way to go to meet its housing needs. ONE review time found that although Newsom had prioritized housing issues over his predecessors in office, he had fallen short of his goal.
The new state-level oversight seeks to ensure that “the total number of housing units that every area is expected to build is increasing,” Lens said, as well as enforcing better distribution by area. Beverly Hills should appeal to everyone, not just Coachella Valley, he said.
“We expect fairer and more efficient housing construction over the next decade,” Lens said, “but it will take some time and the state’s due diligence.”