C.A.R.’s Center for California Real Estate recently convened a panel of industry experts to discuss housing in the Bay Area. These are seven key takeaways from that panel.

1. The SB 827 debate isn’t going away
Senator Wiener’s SB 827 – an aggressive bill aimed at promoting increased housing construction near transport hubs – may have been recently defeated, but that won’t be the last we hear of it. The bill will likely be up for discussion again, and the conversation around reforming our broken planning system will continue. 

2. California’s business reputation is on the line 
The corporate conversation in the Bay Area has shifted dramatically, to the point where executives are deciding its cheaper to open new offices in other states where housing is still attainable rather than pay staff a higher living wage and venture capitalists are regularly inquiring about companies’ relocation strategies.  Statistics back that up – California recorded the highest outbound migration rate in the U.S. in 2016, with 142,932 more residents choosing to leave the state than enter it.

3.Young people are California’s new political force 
For too long legislators have focused on appeasing existing homeowners at the expense of building enough housing for an expanding millennial population. The YIMBY movement is their rally call against the status quo – and they’re ready to let their voices be heard at the ballot box. 

4. 2019 will be a big year for housing
The much-maligned Redevelopment Agencies – local development agencies that boosted affordable housing and promoted urban renewal – and other housing-positive legislation could make a reappearance under a successor to Governor Jerry Brown.

5. Housing is a health issue
Research has revealed that the housing crisis is leading to displacement throughout the Bay Area, with approximately one in three households in one Bay Area county experiencing a period of homelessness or marginal housing in the two years following displacement 

6.We need high cost housing too
It’s commonly accepted that the Bay Area needs more affordable housing, but if we want to stop the tide of displacement, we need to build more luxury housing in upmarket areas too – and tackle the NIMBY-ism of existing residents head on. 

7. The environment is being used as a cop out 
NIMBY’s are using false concerns about environmental protections to oppose housing reform, housing advocates say. Despite misconceptions, SB875 didn’t seek to overturn environmental reforms, and CEQA reform has already taken place in the form of SB35 – with the support of some environmental groups. 

[1] Figures compiled by the US Census Bureau
[2] Source: Urban Displacement Project’s case study on displacement in San Mateo County

Recordings from the panel is available on C.A.R.’s Facebook page, and a report will be generated and made available for download on the Center’s website and on car.org.