California’s housing crisis has gotten the attention of the media, but it is often discussed as an issue that primarily impacts coastal communities. Despite the focus on the Bay Area and Los Angeles, parts of the Central Valley are feeling the housing pinch as well.
As California’s population continues to grow, our region is the heart of that growth. Merced and San Joaquin Counties are the fastest growing in the state, according to the state Department of Finance.
New data from the US Census Bureau shows Fresno has the lowest vacancy rate among the largest cities in California.
It’s clear that we are not building the housing we need to meet the demands of our community.
The economics are simple — supply is simply not keeping pace with demand. The human toll of this imbalance is very real. Our company manages tax-credit properties throughout the Valley, including many units for families that cannot afford market-rate housing. Proposition 10 will do nothing to help those looking for affordable housing — and will only make the current crisis worse.
Proposition 10 will not create one new housing unit. In fact, it will have a devastating, opposite effect by making it difficult, if not impossible, to build affordable multi-family housing by giving the power to set rents to unelected, appointed committees with little public accountability. This uncertainty would bring much needed new apartment construction to a halt as builders would have no way of knowing whether they would be able to merely break even building new communities.
There’s a reason why Proposition 10 is opposed by groups like the California Chamber of Commerce and the California Farm Bureau. It is also opposed by both gubernatorial candidates, Republican John Cox and Democrat Gavin Newsom. They all know that Prop. 10 will only add to our housing crisis and that we must find better ways of tackling the current lack of affordability.
Prop. 10 would also devastate single-family homeowners, who depend on their primary residence to augment their retirement, send their children to college, or pay for long-term health care. In its analysis of Prop. 10, the state’s nonpartisan Legislative Analyst’s Office warns that Prop. 10 could hurt homeowners by driving down property values. That’s because Prop. 10 would open the door to regulating single-family home rentals, as well as radical rent control proposals that would freeze rents indefinitely, even after a tenant moves out of an apartment or house.
A drop in housing values could cost state and local governments hundreds of millions of dollars in lost property tax revenues, cutting key public services like public safety, education, and healthcare.
We cannot regulate our way out of this housing crisis and we cannot ignore the need to balance supply with demand. Proposition 10 would make it harder for our region to address the needs of our residents, and make it difficult for hardworking families across the Valley to find affordable housing.
Voters should reject the deeply flawed measure Proposition 10. Stakeholders and elected officials, both at the state and local level, must work together to enact reasonable, supply-based solutions that will offer real and lasting relief to California families.
Rosemary Lynch is CEO of Fresno-based Buckingham Property Management, which manages below-market and market rate housing throughout the Central Valley and across California.