Home building benefits developers, not home buyers


Home building, like everything else in California, is a racket designed to make money for people who already have plenty. It’s never been about the American Dream of home ownership, building equity, taking care of your family, or pulling yourself up by your bootstraps.

Take Los Angeles for example. Along many Los Angeles thoroughfares, large apartment complexes are replacing parking lots, strip malls and warehouses, as builders provide new homes in a city grappling with a persistent housing shortage.

In downtown, dozens of mixed-use condo and apartment towers are rising in the largest development boom since the 1920s. Other prominent neighborhoods, including Hollywood and Koreatown, are awash in residential construction.

This decade the city, in fact, will easily surpass the number of new homes built in the 1990s and possibly even during the 2000s with its housing bubble — gains that have caused a backlash and spurred Measure S, an initiative on next week’s municipal ballot that would halt developments that receive certain zoning exemptions.

But to many housing experts, the development wave isn’t a wave, but rather a ripple.

That’s because the city and region have long built too few homes for all the people who live, or want to live here, they say. And due to a recent surge in population, the city of Los Angeles this decade has been adding housing, relative to resident growth, at the lowest rate in at least 40 years, state records show.

From 2010 to 2015, Los Angeles added 157,900 new jobs and 236,318 residents — greater than the population gains seen in the 1990s or 2000s. In 2015 alone, Los Angeles experienced the largest annual percentage growth in population of any major California city and surpassed 4 million residents.

Read the whole story in the LA Times


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