california housing forum Photo: Courtesy of Ogilvy

Representatives from all sides of California’s real estate industry came together on September 29th for a much-needed summit on the state’s housing crisis. Held in Sacramento only blocks away from the Capitol building, the California Housing Forum saw attendees agree that compromises need to be made if more housing, both affordable and market rate, is to be built.

Mac Taylor of the California Legislative Analyst’s Office kicked the event off by declaring, “bottom line, we need to build more housing. We need to make it easier to build more housing.”

From there, a panel of experts went on to discuss the evolution of California’s housing crisis, as well as factors that have made the situation worse. The consensus was that without change, the future will be similar to the present — the state’s high cost of living is threatening the California dream.

“It is not simply a matter of economics. Demand is outpacing supply and the state needs not only more than 1.5 million affordable units but also millions of market rate units to accommodate all the people who need housing in California,” Trulia Chief Economist Ralph McLaughlin said.

California State Assembly member David Chiu added, “we all have a collective responsibility to build housing for the workers that are coming in. Many cities and counties do not want to have those conversations.”

Other notable panelists were Sonja Trauss, principal at the Bay Area Renters’ Federation; Brian Augusta, legislative advocate for the Western Center on Law and Poverty; and Roger Valdez, director of Smart Growth Seattle.

With so many factions weighing in on the state of housing in California, it was difficult to find a “one-size-fits-all” solution. However, gathering the top minds together, recognizing the problem and attempting to compromise is at the very least a good step in the right direction. We’ll be keeping an eye out for any new developments.

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