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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Raising the Roof: California Housing Development Projections and Constraints, 1997-2020


California will need an unprecedented amount of new housing construction -— more than 200,000 units per year through 2020 -- if it is to accommodate projected population and household growth and still be reasonably affordable. California will need more suburban housing, more infill housing, more ownership housing, more rental housing, more affordable housing, more senior housing, and more family housing. California will also need more diverse housing, and more diverse neighborhoods. California's high land and construction costs, coupled with the cumbersome and open-ended nature of the local entitlements process, have served to discourage innovative land planning, site design, and building design. While there are few intrinsic limitations to meeting California's future housing needs, the core of the existing housing production system is too fragmented and haphazard to produce the volume and quality of housing needed. This applies to the laws and procedures that govern housing development, the funding and lending programs, and the myriad public, private, and non-profit organizations that produce and operate housing in California. If indeed California is to remain a state where people from all backgrounds and walks of life are able to pursue the American dream of homeownership and secure housing tenure, then substantial investment and innovation in housing development policy, financing, and planning will be required.

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