Garcetti: Build 100k new houses by 2021

Calling the cost of housing one of Los Angeles’ biggest challenges, Mayor Eric Garcetti on Wednesday announced a goal for 100,000 new homes in the city by 2021. In a speech to business leaders at UCLA, the mayor outlined a plan to increase funding for affordable housing, subsidize development around transit stations and cut the red tape that many developers say drives up the cost of building in the city. Housing costs are a greater burden in L.A. than elsewhere Housing costs are a greater burden in L.A. than elsewhere Tim Logan “We face a housing shortage unlike anything we’ve seen since World War II,” Garcetti told a meeting hosted by the Los Angeles Business Council. “The high cost of housing affects everything in this city.” A number of studies recently have placed Los Angeles among the least-affordable housing markets in the country, a function of both high rents and relatively low wages. Garcetti said both income and housing supply were part of the solution to the city’s housing crisis, and while he has focused heavily in recent weeks on a push to raise the city’s minimum wage, Wednesday’s speech was billed as his first major address on housing. lRelated Garcetti says housing shortage, minimum wage linked in Los Angeles Real Estate Garcetti says housing shortage, minimum wage linked in Los Angeles See all related 8 He said Los Angeles needs to work to preserve existing affordable housing units that might be lost to redevelopment, while also seeking state and federal dollars to build more. He said he plans to make a proposal soon to subsidize new and existing affordable housing on sites owned by the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority. And he pledged to “cut red tape” and “build community support” to make it easier to build more. Parking, local opposition add to affordable housing costs, study finds Parking, local opposition add to affordable housing costs, study finds Tim Logan In all, Garcetti set a goal for 100,000 new units of housing by 2021, which would be the end of his second term. That would be an increase of about 7% above the city’s existing housing stock. Getting there would require 14,000 units per year each of the next seven years — more than have been built in all but two of the last 20, and it would require construction at a pace roughly twice as fast as L.A. has seen over the last five years, according to city building permit data.


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The Wilshire “Subway to the sea” Finally Started.

When then-Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa promised 10 years ago to build the long-stalled “subway to the sea,” many Angelenos probably rolled their eyes and thought, “Yeah, right. We can’t even get a train all the way to the airport.” But on Friday, Metro will officially break ground on the first phase of the Purple Line extension, a four-mile segment from the existing Wilshire/Western station to Wilshire and La Cienega boulevards in Beverly Hills that should be completed by 2023. The subway will travel under one of L.A.’s most densely populated and highly trafficked corridors. When it reaches Westwood and the Veterans Administration Hospital in 2035, the line will be the backbone of the region’s rapidly expanding public transit system.

Los Angeles County now has five rail lines under construction, including one that will connect to LAX by 2022, and two — the Expo Line to Santa Monica and the Gold Line to Azusa — slated to open in 2016. It’s easy to forget that when Villaraigosa pitched the subway to the sea while campaigning for mayor, major transit projects were moving at a snail’s pace, if at all.

To resuscitate the Westside extension proposal, Villaraigosa and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority had to persuade Rep. Henry A. Waxman to change the law barring use of federal funds to tunnel under Wilshire, a measure Waxman had pushed through after a 1985 methane explosion in the Fairfax area. They also had to find a way around a 1998 county ballot initiative by Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky that prohibited the use of existing sales tax revenue to fund new subways. They did — L.A. County voters passed the Measure R half-cent sales tax in 2008, which dedicated about $4 billion for the Purple Line extension.

The full subway line is expected to cost $6.3 billion. A federal grant and low-interest loan will cover $2.1 billion of the $2.8-billion price tag for the first phase. Metro has asked the Obama administration to set aside an additional $1.4 billion for the second phase, from Beverly Hills to Century City, which is scheduled to be completed in 2025.

Looking ahead, L.A. leaders should continue to push for funding for the Purple Line, and should be willing to defend the project against lawsuits that may pop up along the way. And they should press for other transformational projects — a transit line over the Sepulveda Pass, connecting the San Fernando Valley with the Westside, and extending the Gold Line deeper into the San Gabriel Valley. Within the next 10 years, the transportation landscape in Los Angeles will look dramatically different, with lines crossing the region from Chatsworth to Long Beach and from Azusa to Santa Monica. This is what can happen when politicians actually deliver on their boldest promises.

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L.A. is No. 1 in the country when it comes to adults doubling up on housing

L.A. is No. 1 in the country when it comes to adults doubling up on housing, a new report says
High rents, low wages force more doubling up in Los Angeles than anywhere else in the country

When it comes to doubling up with roommates, crashing at your cousin’s or staying at your parents’ house well into your 20s, there’s no place like Southern California.

Nearly half of all working-age adults in Los Angeles and Orange counties live in a home with another adult who is not their spouse — a higher percentage than any other big city in the country, according a new report by real estate website Zillow. In second place: the Inland Empire.

Economists at Zillow crunched U.S. census numbers and found that 47.9% of adults in metro L.A. lived in “doubled-up” households in 2012, a number that has grown rapidly — up from 41.2% in 2000 — as the recession and yo-yo-ing housing market have pushed more people to share apartments.

“You’ve got a lot of households that are blending together,” said Zillow economist Skylar Olsen. “They’re doing that to make housing more affordable.”

That’s especially true in Southern California, where relatively high costs and relatively low wages combine to create what is, by some measures, the least affordable housing market in the country, especially for renters. Add in large immigrant communities for whom — at least in some cases — inter-generational living is more common, and L.A. has an exceptionally high share of shared households. A Times analysis of census data found that more than half of the nation’s most-crowded census tracts are in L.A. and Orange counties.

As the economy improves, Olsen said, at least some of those house-sharers are likely to move out on their own, probably to rental apartments. That’s going to create a lot of demand for new housing. If the number of adults per household returned to 2000 levels, Zillow estimates that there would be an additional 315,473 households in L.A. and Orange counties — a 7.5% gain — and 162,474 more in the Inland Empire, up 12.6%.

“There’s a lot of potential energy that’s ready to spring out,” Olsen said. “That’s one of the reasons we’re seeing multifamily construction pick up. There’s clearly room for developers to make some money by providing more apartments.”

However, in a market such as Southern California, it’s an open question whether they can provide them fast enough. L.A. County is short nearly 500,000 affordable apartments already, according to a study earlier this year by the Southern California Assn. of Nonprofit Housing, and homebuilding remains well below pre-crash levels. Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti last week called for 100,000 new units of housing in the city by 2021, but details on how he hopes to get even that many built so far are scarce.

If nothing else, the demand that a stronger economy is expected to uncork should help spark more construction, Olsen said, by making it easier for projects to pencil out a profit. As they get built, she predicted, more people will move out on their own. That, in turn, may keep a lid on rents that have been climbing fast, due in part to tight supply.

“One of the beauties of free markets is that they adjust,” Olsen said. “You wouldn’t expect to see more renter households until supply comes back. When it does, it’ll slow the growth in rents, at least.”