On Jan. 1, a package of housing legislation that was passed in 2023 took effect. Will the results be a homebuilding boom? California’s housing gap is implausibly wide, so it’s going to require a historic effort to catch up.
In 2015, the Legislative Analyst’s Office said that “on top of the 100,000 to 140,000 housing units typically built in the state each year, the state probably would have to build as many as 100,000 additional units annually” in order “to seriously mitigate housing affordability problems.” These homes need to be located “almost exclusively” in California’s coastal communities, where the need for affordable housing is the greatest and the barriers to build have at times been insurmountable.
A couple of years later, Gov. Gavin Newsom, then running for his first term as California’s chief executive, promised to “lead the effort to develop the 3.5 million new housing units we need by 2025 because our solutions must be as bold as the problem is big.”