California Will Charge New Fees on Real-Estate Deals to Pay for Affordable Housing
By Alejandro Lazo
SAN FRANCISCO -- California will enact new fees on real-estate transactions and ask voters to approve a $4 billion bond measure on next year's ballot, among other measures aimed at creating more affordable housing.
The bond measure and the new fees -- intended to pay for new affordable housing units and homes for veterans -- are part of a package of 15 bills that California Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law Friday to address the state's housing shortage. California rents and home prices have soared, and homeownership has plummeted.
Other measures in the package include a provision to streamline housing requirements in cities that aren't building to state-mandated goals, incentives for cities to plan new neighborhoods and prod local governments to get shovels into the ground.
Experts say California's high housing costs have crimped economic productivity, increased poverty rates, increased crowding and lengthened commute times.
California has long been considered by home builders and developers one of the most difficult places to build because of lengthy and complicated permit processes.
In signing the measures Friday, Mr. Brown acknowledged the role local and state regulations have played on the state's housing shortage, saying efforts to improve building safety, increase environmental standards and shape neighborhood character has resulted in "a lot of rules."
"All these rules were passed by people like you, let's face it," Mr. Brown told a crowd of mayors, lawmakers and other dignitaries gathered at an affordable housing project in San Francisco.
"City and state people did all this good stuff -- energy efficiency, better insulation, more of this and more of that, you know, you name it -- it's all good!" he said. "But as I always say, too many goods create a bad."