Will Rent In California Go Down? Many People Can't Afford To Live Anymore

Matt Lillywhite

The high cost of rent in California is making it difficult for people to afford basic necessities...

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Rent in California is unaffordable for many families. According to a study published by Forbes, Californians spend an average of 28.47% of their income on rent. And, to make things worse, homeownership rates in California are among the lowest in the nation.

Data published by Zillow shows the median rent of a house in Long Beach is currently $3,400. That’s a year-over-year increase of $200. Over in Mountain View, near San Francisco, the median rent for a house is $4,928. For context, that’s a year-over-year increase of $291.

Many People In California Are Living Paycheck To Paycheck.

“Between higher costs and a possible recession on the horizon, families feel increasingly strained financially,” per CNBC. “More than half, or 58%, of all Americans are now living paycheck to paycheck. And even more — roughly 70% — said they feel stressed about their finances.”

Gina Gray is an English teacher in Los Angeles. And unfortunately, she’s not making enough money to pay bills and afford the basic necessities of life. “A new teacher with a starting salary in Los Angeles unified school district can’t afford rent,” she said during an interview with The Guardian. “That’s just the facts of it. When you come in, to know that you can’t afford to live on your own, that’s a huge reason why you would choose another career. We’re not even talking about home ownership. We’re just talking about comfortable rental accommodation.”

Students at UC Santa Cruz are struggling to make ends meet. 44% of undergraduates are considered “obscenely rent burdened,” per The LA Times. “Not having secure housing creates a lot of anxiety and stress,” said Matthew Chin. “It does definitely contribute to a decline in academic performance. Socially, you feel estranged. If you don’t have housing, you wonder what your peers think of you.”

To make things worse, California is struggling to build enough affordable housing to meet the high demand. “Majorities across regions and solid majorities across all partisan and demographic groups say housing affordability is a big problem,” according to the Public Policy Institute of California. “With an overwhelming majority of Californians saying housing affordability is a big problem, 45 percent say the cost of their housing makes them and their family seriously consider moving out of the part of California where they currently live, with most (34%) saying they would move outside the state.”

Lawmakers Are Trying To Ease The Housing Crisis.

California lawmakers recently introduced a bill to rein in the cost of high-security deposits for renters. Assembly Bill 12, according to CalMatters, aims to limit security deposits to one month’s rent, regardless of whether a unit is furnished or not.

“Security deposits present barriers for people to move into apartments, which can lead them to stay in apartments and in homes that are too small, crowded or even unsafe,” said Matt Haney, the lawmaker who authored the bill. “In other cases, people take on debt or financial burden that leaves them unable to afford other necessities.”

It’s also worth mentioning Senate Bill 584. If it gets signed into law, the legislation will impose a short-term rental tax of 15% on AirBnBs and similar accommodations to help fund new construction projects in California. “In order to address the statewide affordable housing crisis in California, and to prepare for the collection of a labor force housing assessment, and the process for disbursing funds for labor force housing, it is necessary that this act take effect immediately.”

What do you think about the California housing crisis? Leave a comment with your thoughts. And if you think more people should read this article, share it on social media.

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Matt Lillywhite covers politics, the economy, and kitchen-table issues that matter.


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