Capitol Housing Battles Ahead

Timothy L. Coyle
Consultant specializing in housing issues

It had to happen.  California is suffering through one of its worst housing crises and all the while the state legislature is doing nothing to solve the problem.  In fact, based on the numerous pieces of legislation introduced before the curtain went down for such proposals last month, they’re making things worse. Inadequate supply.  By […]

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CEQA – Environmental Protection or Principal Constraint to Housing Production?

Timothy L. Coyle
Consultant specializing in housing issues

”The California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) has been turned on its head, becoming a full employment act for lawyers and their client neighborhood groups. The result is that CEQA has become not a protector of the environment, but a promoter of sprawl, pushing the housing market away from existing neighborhoods and onto farmland, where the […]

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Local Governments Have the Power to Approve More Housing

Timothy L. Coyle
Consultant specializing in housing issues

Recently, pundits have suggested – even here on these pages – that but for the absence state involvement, California wouldn’t be suffering its worst housing crisis ever.  One pro-industry advocacy group in particular has been touting its “solutions”, joining with the same crowd that’s advocated for tougher rent control, affordable housing mandates on new construction […]

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Suburbs Still the Choice for Housing Consumers

Timothy L. Coyle
Consultant specializing in housing issues

Let me hear it again.  What’s wrong with the suburbs?  Nothing, says the latest report of the Urban Land Institute (ULI).  While urban centers are experiencing a revival, suburban areas are thriving, too, according to the recently published report, Evolving U.S. Suburbs Continue to Shape Residential Demand and Development.   Indeed, the white-picket fence enclosing a large […]

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State Money Count Will Likely Doom Redevelopment, Housing Revival

Timothy L. Coyle
Consultant specializing in housing issues

Leave it to government to convolute and stupefy something as simple as basic arithmetic.  Yet, stupefying is how a reasonable person could describe a system that’s been used by Sacramento for years to account for the ebb and flow of state revenues into and out of the state treasury.  Indeed, this “new math” has led […]

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Housing by the Numbers

Timothy L. Coyle
Consultant specializing in housing issues

If you’re following the debate over new housing in California you were probably encouraged to see a recent report of McKinsey and Company which seeks to actually, specifically suggest what can be done to ease the state’s shelter crisis.  I’m here to say it’s for real, too. The report, entitled A Tool Kit to Close California’s […]

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Government and the Housing Crisis: Less Not More Involvement Needed

Timothy L. Coyle
Consultant specializing in housing issues

California elected officials proclaim a housing crisis is upon us. Like a plague of locusts, they say the problem was unforeseen and it deserves government’s attention. Frankly, an argument can be made that the state’s housing markets have for decades been overrun by bureaucrats and state lawmakers and now it’s time for government to reverse […]

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Rent Control: The Failed Concept is Rearing its Ugly Head, Again

Timothy L. Coyle
Consultant specializing in housing issues

In response to California’s housing crisis, housing advocates are calling for price controls – specifically a cap on rents. It’s a popular reprise: “Blame it on the landlords” and hold them responsible. The critics of high rents say those who provide the housing are guilty of manipulating circumstances and are lining their pockets. Indeed, the […]

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Government reform? How about setting priorities?

Timothy L. Coyle
Consultant specializing in housing issues

State government is broken.  Just about everybody agrees – including an apparently
growing number of Californians.  Poll
after poll shows a large majority of voters believe the state on the "wrong
track" and nearly as many suspect dysfunction in Sacramento is to blame.

So, lawmakers, business leaders, think tanks, local elected
officials and other organized interests are actively advancing some kind of "fix
it" plan – or plans for a plan.  Special committees of the Legislature have been formed, calls
for a constitutional convention are being made and political pundits are
endlessly speculating on a basketful of ideas.

Primary attention is focused on the Legislature and its
myriad "processes" although a strong case can and should be made for closely
examining the excesses, overlap and accountability of state bureaucracies.  (Remember the "boxes" to be blown up a
few years back?) 

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Getting it right on fees

Timothy L. Coyle
Consultant specializing in housing issues

A recent editorial by the Sacramento Bee says unlimited fees on housing have no impact on its development or affordability. The Bee says that the efforts of local governments in the Sacramento area to reduce those fees (aka “construction costs”) so that more housing can be built isn’t really good policy and should be at best temporary.

Sheesh. I guess the Bee wants us to believe that costs don’t matter. Most Californians know better. They know, for example, that when gasoline goes from $2.50 a gallon to $2.85 a gallon it costs more to truck produce to the supermarket and, therefore, aren’t surprised when the price of lettuce goes up 15 percent.

Taking the analogy a step further, if enough customers start eating less salad, because buying lettuce for 15 percent more money doesn’t fit in their budgets, the supermarket’s lettuce orders go down, making the marginal cost of the gas hike much bigger for the supplier. If the cost gets too high, the supplier may not be able to economically truck the lettuce to the supermarket at all.

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