San Diego

State Legislation Aims to Speed Up Construction Across California

It's no secret San Diego is facing a housing crisis.

It's no secret San Diego is facing a housing crisis. Home prices are up, inventory is down, and construction for new development is dragging. 

New state legislation is aimed at stopping so-called Nimbys -- short for "not in my backyard" -- from slowing down construction across California. The term 'Nimby' refers to those who try to delay or derail construction, worried it will congest the area or ruin a neighborhood’s culture.

“There’s only two classes of people who can afford to buy places in San Diego,” said Brad Termini, CEO of Zephyr. “The ultra wealthy baby boomers or the millennials who are getting help from their parents.”

Termini is a real estate developer in San Diego. He says a large chunk of the market can't afford to buy a home. 

“The middle part of the market cannot afford to buy a place,” Termini said.

One of the reasons is a lack of inventory, he said.

Housing inventory is down 25 percent this year, according to the Greater San Diego Association of Realtors. The median home price in San Diego is now $619.9K, up 10 percent from last year.

“We’re definitely dealing with limited inventory,” Teresa Vo, a broker at Vo Property and Investments, said. Some buyers are frustrated, she said, because there are not a lot of houses to choose from.

“Not only is there limited inventory, the inventory that is available is not up to [my clients'] satisfaction,” Vo explained.

According to Termini, there are many reasons to blame for the lack of development. Termini said the environmental review process for getting a project approved is incredibly long. Local municipalities do not want to pay for infrastructure improvements; instead, they saddle those costs on the developers.

“One development can’t build all the roads, can’t build all the parks, can’t build all the freeway interchanges,” Termini said.

Bruce Ehlers, of Encinitas, disagrees with Termini. Ehlers is the spokesman for the “No on Measure T” campaign in Encinitas, which was a series of zoning changes that included higher residential densities.

Ehlers thinks the responsibility of infrastructure improvements should be placed on the developers who will profit from the developments, rather than the property owners who would eventually have to pay for improvements through taxes.

He also argues that high density housing only generates a minimal amount of affordable housing.

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