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Council pushes back on hefty cost of affordable housing

Original post made on May 30, 2018

A proposed affordable housing project at 950 W. El Camino Real hit a snag last week after Mountain View City Council members balked at the project's $40.8 million price tag.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Wednesday, May 30, 2018, 10:21 AM

Comments (56)

Posted by Dan Waylonis
a resident of Jackson Park
on May 30, 2018 at 2:25 pm

Dan Waylonis is a registered user.

Here's a zero-cost alternative. Simplify and reduce the permitting complexity for developers to build in Mountain View. New construction will be market priced. When people who can afford the new construction leave their existing housing, it will free that housing up for someone who cannot afford the more expensive housing. Repeat this process down to affordable housing.

Every attempt to create "affordable" housing through taxes, subsidies, or regulations will have unintended consequences and costs.


Posted by Long term resident
a resident of Old Mountain View
on May 30, 2018 at 4:18 pm

The problem with that of course is that as soon as anyone moves out of their existing apartments here the pool of people to move into the old unit is everyone for many miles around plus all the built up demand from tech people who would like to move to the Bay Area but can’t quote afford it.

Mountain View is then subsidizing all the towns nearby.

These solutions are very expensive at $42B and while well intentioned won’t do anything to alleviate this issue.


Posted by Yimby #2
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on May 30, 2018 at 4:18 pm

Perhaps "Affordable Housing" should be renamed "Subsidized Housing".
The proponents of "Affordable Housing" are asking for money from the city of MV
to bring down the cost of the housing. Where does that money come from? Is it
free money? Or is it just "not much". That money comes from the citizens of MV.
So should the residents of MV contribute to a fund to make housing inexpensive
for a limited number of residents. What if somebody wants to keep that money to
repaint, buy a new water heater, fix a stair case, rather than give it to somebody else?

I am sure proponents of affordable housing are well intentioned. Who can argue against giving people a less expensive place to live? But implicit in this plan is using other people money for the specfic benefit of a few. I don't think this is a very practical way to proceed.

I do question the viability of a program to deliver subsidized housing in one of the regions in world with the highest demand for housing. William B Shockley invented the Transister here in Mountain View in the late 1950s, and helped make this area wildly successful. People have been coming here for decades to make Technology History.This is my 3rd housing crisis I've seen in this region.

Instead, the conditions to increase housing supply and improve transportation should be enabled. Subsidized Housing and Rent Control are artifical bandaids which distort market forces with negative unintended consequences. You are now seeing the first local, regional, and national efforts being made to address the housing shortage issue. Addressing/Recognizing housing shortage as the core issue should be priority.


Posted by YIMBY
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on May 30, 2018 at 6:09 pm

"So should the residents of MV contribute to a fund to make housing inexpensive"

I'm not a big fan of only focusing on subsidized housing, since we need a mix of new market rate supply to drive costs down as well as subsidized to reach those that the market can't, but cry me a river over the plight of Mountain View residents having to endure paying for this. We have people sitting on million dollar homes increasing in value by the day while doing everything in their power to fight against new housing for others, keep restrictive zoning in place, and do everything they can to exacerbate the housing crisis. Should residents therefore have to pay something as a result? Absolutely. Until Prop 13 is repealed, residents need to do something to balance the crisis they're causing.


Posted by MV resident
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on May 30, 2018 at 7:31 pm

As cost go up, why isn't density going up as well? So many places are exploring micro-housing, why isn't MV?

If lack of access to transportation is why density doesn't go up, then why are we building affordable housing there at all?


Posted by patiobear
a resident of Blossom Valley
on May 30, 2018 at 9:02 pm

patiobear is a registered user.

This money comes from a tax on new housing which increases the cost of building new housing thus driving up the rent. This of course adds to the unaffordable housing problem which we want to solve. It's a vicious circle.


Posted by Nick
a resident of Cuesta Park
on May 30, 2018 at 11:24 pm

What will happen to the Taco Bell? At least that's providing jobs.


Posted by Scott
a resident of another community
on May 30, 2018 at 11:43 pm

Municipalities balking at these prices might want to consider that upzoning is free, and doesn't need to be rationed out like gruel to a few dozen winners.

We aren't going to make the slightest dent in this problem if councils are dealing with it 71 units at a time.

(Former MV resident of almost ten years.)


Posted by @MV resident
a resident of Waverly Park
on May 30, 2018 at 11:43 pm

We don't need to jump to micro-housing: it's currently illegal to build apartments basically everywhere south of El Camino. Removing the ban is a simple way to increase density significantly.


Posted by Juan
a resident of Rengstorff Park
on May 31, 2018 at 6:16 am

Affordable housing for longtime residents is a noble goal, increasing profits for developers is not. Developers are already making billions of dollars in Mountain View, they can afford to pay more in fees so that affordable housing can be built.


Posted by Resident
a resident of Monta Loma
on May 31, 2018 at 10:09 am

Maybe people who cannot afford shouldn't be living here. There are plenty of other areas that are cheaper.


Posted by YIMBY
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on May 31, 2018 at 10:32 am

@Resident

Which is exactly why Prop 13 needs to go. If you can't afford to live here then that's just that, right?


Posted by The Successful Business Man
a resident of North Whisman
on May 31, 2018 at 11:33 am

The Successful Business Man is a registered user.

A complete lack of leadership from the get-go. The Bay Area simply cannot build itself out of this housing crisis. And the more these inadequate solutions are offered up by inexperienced city councils, even more impoverished lives will continue to show up and fill any vacancies left at the bottom.

Exhibit A is the RV fiasco currently flooding the streets of MV and neighboring communities like a serial arsonist setting off dumpster fires.

Not only do these failed policies not address the needs of existing impoverished and disabled residents, they invite an influx of additional people who are down on their luck elsewhere and can't afford to live here--further exacerbating the problem. What's not to love about living in Mountain View whether you can afford it or not?

Until there is meaningful job training and placement, effective and lasting mental health services and successful tough-love addiction rehabilitation, this conveyor belt of migration will continue delivering an endless stream of the down-and-out transient population--not to mention the displaced local residents--all more than willing to fill a thousand unaffordable housing projects.


Posted by The Business Man
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on May 31, 2018 at 12:03 pm

The Business Man is a registered user.

I hate to say this again but I on the most part agree with The Successful Business Man.

The facts are that our local governments did drop the ball on parity regarding increasing housing at the same time increasing jobs.

But that was because Costa Hawkins promised to have the “free market” increase supply in light of increased demand. The local governments only approved for projects being offered. The local or state government was to stay out of the “private” sector of housing as a whole because the industry DID make a promise to take care of that part of the problem.

However, the current situation proved that either the industry gave an empty promise, or simply had no clue how to do what it promised to do. In either case, the industry takes fur account and must bear the cost to remediate the problem.

But Trump is not helping because he is about to raise the cost of construction regarding steel and aluminum by 25%. This is not the fault of the customer, it is the fault of the industry relying on a supposedly successful “landlord” to control the market via “trade wars”. Just realize he went bankrupt 4 times in this business. How he got restarted is a very interesting question. And since he runs a private corporation, he does not have to publish his financial information. This makes his situation very questionable.

In fact, most if not all private sector companies in the market are not public corporations by choice so that they can have a “black box” regarding how competitive they are in comparison to others. This is anti-competitive practices of a very ugly kind.

This will impact all projects, private or public. If the industry sees that it’s profits suffer or member business go out of business, the customers are not to blame. Go get your trade manager back on track.

In any event, I do not complain that the City Council chose not to fund this project, I strongly argue that the private sector needs to remediate the affordability problem on it’s own in order to hold them accountable for their lack of productivity.

The public should not bear the cost of fixing the problem the private caused. It is that simple.


Posted by William Hitchens
a resident of Waverly Park
on May 31, 2018 at 2:45 pm

William Hitchens is a registered user.

There is no such thing as "affordable housing". It should be called "publicly subsidized housing", or maybe just "public housing". "Affordable housing" is NOT any more affordable than other housing. The cost merely is shifted from the lucky occupants who win the lottery to the public in general and taxpayers in particular.


Posted by YIMBY
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on May 31, 2018 at 5:02 pm

"The Bay Area simply cannot build itself out of this housing crisis."

Not with the amount of power that localities have to obstruct new housing construction. The state can certainly change that though.


Posted by The Business Man
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on May 31, 2018 at 6:57 pm

The Business Man is a registered user.

In response to YIMBY you said:

“”The Bay Area simply cannot build itself out of this housing crisis."

Not with the amount of power that localities have to obstruct new housing construction. The state can certainly change that though.”

Please provide evidence that there is efforts by local governments to “obstruct” new housing construction?

Realize, the local governments serve their citizens, and the citizens’ rights must be preserved. Their rights are to prevent damage to quality of life in their neighborhoods, and potential harm to their property values due to impact of any new housing project.

You make a conclusion without any evidence to back it up. You make arguments that home owners are the problem. Have you ever considered that the people proposing projects do not take any remedial actions to encourage cooperation? The lack of this consideration in effect makes the proposals an invasion into the neighborhoods. Please provide any documentation that indicates that the projects proposed clearly provides some kind of compensation or guaranty that the home owners in that site are not going to be harmed, or at least compensated for the harm? Or is that asking too much?


Posted by YIMBY
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on May 31, 2018 at 7:27 pm


California’s High Housing Costs: Causes and Consequences

Web Link


Posted by YIMBY
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on May 31, 2018 at 7:30 pm

Lol, so it's not obstruction, local residents just aren't being given enough things to finally relent and allow development? Even just skimming your posts I feel like I've had time stolen from me.


Posted by YIMBY
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on May 31, 2018 at 7:45 pm

"potential harm to their property values due to impact of any new housing project"

Yeah, wouldn't want any new supply of housing "harming" those property values, also known as bringing down the cost of housing.


Posted by The Business Man
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on May 31, 2018 at 8:05 pm

The Business Man is a registered user.

In response to Posted by YIMBY you said:

“Lol, so it's not obstruction, local residents just aren't being given enough things to finally relent and allow development?”

Your premise is wrong, the fact is the new project will result in traffic impact, parking availability, significant changes in enjoying ones property, and worst case, some invasion of privacy. Only one who has no consideration for others would not recognize those issues and many more I can’t think or right now. You said:

“Even just skimming your posts I feel like I've had time stolen from me.”

You do not need to read my posts, that is your choice. You also said:

““potential harm to their property values due to impact of any new housing project"

Yeah, wouldn't want any new supply of housing "harming" those property values, also known as bringing down the cost of housing.”

Simply enough, the ends do not justify the means. Making anyone’s rights expendable is simply outrageous. You simply have to provide just accommodations if you want to alter the way of life significantly. For example, you must restore parking availability if you are causing a loss of parking space. If you cannot do so, the project should be resisted by the people living in the area of the project.

I simply am amazed at how you disrespect a citizens rights to their own land and living standards. Bt that is what happens when your practice is to in effect seize power over the citizens regarding their neighborhood.


Posted by YIMBY
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on May 31, 2018 at 8:19 pm

Wait, what parking space needs to be restored here? Are apartment dwellers going to park in your driveway or garage?


Posted by YIMBY
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on May 31, 2018 at 8:24 pm

I'm amazed by how much you view city government as being an HOA. Your examples all specifically show heavy deference to homeowner quality of life. No deference given to someone in a condo or renting an apartment, even though they are equal citizens as well. If the city is bound to protect property values for homeowners and their quality of life, is the city not equally bound to ensure quality of life for non-owners?


Posted by @YIMBY
a resident of another community
on May 31, 2018 at 10:14 pm

Wake up. The only thing the city council is bound to protect is the profits of rapacious real-estate developers.


Posted by YIMBY
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on May 31, 2018 at 10:30 pm

If that were true it wouldn't just be dinky four story complexes going up.


Posted by Robyn
a resident of another community
on Jun 1, 2018 at 6:56 am

Pass the popcorn for the reruns.


Posted by Yimby #2
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Jun 1, 2018 at 2:41 pm

"potential harm to their property values due to impact of any new housing project"

Increasing supply will reduce the cost of housing and rent without artificial contrivances such as rent control and subsidized housing. There are people who desire newer housing, and will move there. Reducing demand for older housing. The net effect is to lower rents and house prices. Another benefit is reducing prices/rent without costly overhead of the Rental Housing Committee, which is costing $2.6 M to support.
As a housing provider, I am saying increasing housing supply should be the preferred method for lower rents and housing prices. This also allows individuals to make decisions for their own specific properties/situation instead of a panel of retired judges and lawyers making you jump through hoops to manage your rent. You could also say that as a housing provider I am advising on a method to reduce my profits and make it harder for me to raise rents. Yes, that is exactly what I am saying. I am saying this because it is preferable to have housing providers make their own decisions for their own situtions rather than have an expensive governement backed bureaucracy try to force cookie cutter rules on housing provider each of whom have different mortages/costs structures. To simplify, this is individual decentralized decision making vs government imposed rules.


Posted by LOL
a resident of Castro City
on Jun 1, 2018 at 4:37 pm

Yimby #2, the term you're looking for is "landlord." Nice Orwellian doublespeak from the landlord lobby, though.


Posted by Mt. View Neighbor
a resident of North Whisman
on Jun 1, 2018 at 4:47 pm

Delusional. There is not and will not be affordable housing in Mountain View. Adding more new housing with higher prices only increases hitsung costs as these complex developers advertise all over California and everywhere else to bring people in who will pay the high prices. Then, the prices of the older homes increase because they are more affordably priced and become more desirable next to the insanely high priced new stuff.

The only thing we’re doing by “build baby build”, is creating a massively congested community filled with frustration, theft and big city problems, while lining the pockets of developers. Meanwhile our open space is dwindeling as its being sold off for housing. We are creating an environmemtal disaster that eill last for decades.


Posted by LOL
a resident of Castro City
on Jun 1, 2018 at 5:12 pm

That logic makes no sense, Mt View Neighbor. Do you believe that if we tore down houses, housing prices would fall? Because that is the implication of claiming that building more houses increase home prices.

The only environmental disaster we're building is the one where we don't have enough homes for everyone, so people commute in from Gilroy, Tracy, and Santa Rosa every day.


Posted by G
a resident of Shoreline West
on Jun 2, 2018 at 8:40 am

If your on the way of being priced out of the city, it’s time to plan of leaving the Bay Area or get a job that pays well. No matter what the governments do, housing prices in the Bay Area will never be affordable for the average citizen. People need to take charge of their own situation instead of waiting for government handouts.


Posted by Bill
a resident of Rex Manor
on Jun 2, 2018 at 8:59 am

The unavoidable fact is that in the bay area unless Federal, State and Local governments create massive incentives, public housing policies, green area zoning, and tax credits and subsidies to developers it will never create the utopia of affordable housing that liberal politicians want for everybody. The demand is too large and the cost too high for taxpayers in the most over taxed state in the nation. The rich will leave and the middle class does not want to lose their status and wealth so that all the poor can have a two bedroom apartment, parking, large screen TV and cable for a thousand dollars a month.


Posted by LOL
a resident of Castro City
on Jun 2, 2018 at 8:59 am

G, that might be a comforting thought since it implies you don't need to do anything, but it's wrong. The housing crisis is a crisis of our own making simply because we didn't build enough houses. There's nothing unique about here that means it will always be unaffordable except for the fact that we build fewer houses than anywhere else.


Posted by YIMBY
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Jun 2, 2018 at 10:45 am

It's not even that the Bay Area hasn't actively built enough houses, but that cities have actively prevented housing from being built through restrictive zoning and height limits.


Posted by MVWoman
a resident of Martens-Carmelita
on Jun 2, 2018 at 2:01 pm

YIMBY and LOL.... what is ENOUGH for you... build out until every square inch is covered by massive and towering apartment buildings? Homeowners should sacrifice parks, sunlight and open space - and taxpayers should subsidize housing until you get yours? Life doesn't work that way.

If you want a handout and live in your delusional world, go ahead, but please don't constantly bombard others with your irrational thought process - expecting us to believe it to be fact. No one can have what they want, just because they want it.

You seem to believe overturning Prop 13 is your golden ticket, but as another poster said above: get a good job, work hard, and live where you can afford. That's what the rest of us have done. If you expect the impossible - denying reality - you're just looking at a life of frustration and failure.


Posted by swissik
a resident of another community
on Jun 2, 2018 at 4:22 pm

MV Woman: a great big thank you for your rational comment. Enjoy the weekend!


Posted by SRB
a resident of St. Francis Acres
on Jun 2, 2018 at 4:25 pm

SRB is a registered user.

I support this project but it's really disappointing that Palo Alto Housing didn't plan the project around Measure A from the get go.
It's always challenging to choose among the many groups in need of subsidized housing. But given the high costs, available funding ought to be a major criteria.


Posted by LOL
a resident of Castro City
on Jun 2, 2018 at 6:40 pm

MV Woman, where to begin with the venom your comment is laced with: "what is ENOUGH for you... build out until every square inch is covered by massive and towering apartment buildings? Homeowners should sacrifice parks, sunlight and open space - and taxpayers should subsidize housing until you get yours? Life doesn't work that way."

First, it's strange that you seem to think it's about "me getting mine." I'm a Mountain View resident, homeowner just like you. But even I understand the manifest unfairness when my housing is subsidized by Prop 13 while the poor in Mountain View are being displaced and forced to live in their vehicles. Let's turn that question around on you: what is ENOUGH for you? How many people have to be homeless, living on the streets, commuting from Tracy, Santa Rosa, Gilroy daily, for you to address the housing crisis in our community?


Posted by YIMBY
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Jun 2, 2018 at 9:04 pm

"If you want a handout and live in your delusional world"

*cough* Prop 13 *cough*


Posted by The Business Man
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Jun 3, 2018 at 12:24 am

The Business Man is a registered user.

In response to YIMBY you said:

"If you want a handout and live in your delusional world"

*cough* Prop 13 *cough*

As far as your pseudonym is an abbreviation of “Yes In My Back Yard”

Yes you have the right to decide what gets built in YOUR BACK YARD.

But you nor the City has the right to dictate what gets built where, especially if it is deviating from the zoning classifications. In order to change a zone, it requires some work. But until that occurs, simply understand that you are invading on others rights.

I still state that no Federal, State, County, or City funds should be provided, nor an gifts be given to the private landlord, investor, real estate, or developers regarding their failure to keep up with the number of housing.

They promised they could do so under Costa Hawkins and Ellis. They failed because their plans proposed simply impacted the existing living quality too much, or at the very least, did not give allowances to those living at the proposed sites. Whose responsibility is that? So please do not complain that anyone got in your way. The people living on or near the sites have just as much right to protect themselves or expect the proper quality of projects.

For example, parking id difficult in Mountain View, but many projects allocate only 1 car per unit, and in some cases eliminate existing parking along the streets where the people already live. That simply is a terrible plan, and no wonder it gets resistance.

And assuming that people will work where they live is just a pipe dream. Unless you arrange it so only those employed in that area of town will be allowed to live there. That will not work because you cannot enforce that kind of restrictions on people that have the right to live where they choose, no matter how far the job is from their residence.

Just understand that you don’t even describe where you live, granted I don’t but I could not find the right region on the list. You might be in the same situation. Please understand until you give us a specifica area that you can establish a legitimate “ownership” i.e. YOUR BACK YARD, please do not demand you have the right to choose what happens in another person’s “BACK YARD”.


Posted by YIMBY
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Jun 3, 2018 at 1:27 am

@The Business Man

Bad bot. That wasn't in response to what I said at all.


Posted by The Business Man
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Jun 3, 2018 at 9:56 am

The Business Man is a registered user.

In response to YIMBY you said:

“Bad bot. That wasn't in response to what I said at all.”

You said:

“I'm amazed by how much you view city government as being an HOA. Your examples all specifically show heavy deference to homeowner quality of life. No deference given to someone in a condo or renting an apartment, even though they are equal citizens as well. If the city is bound to protect property values for homeowners and their quality of life, is the city not equally bound to ensure quality of life for non-owners?”

Yes for the actual tenants who live in Mountain View. NO for those who want to open up a new BUSINESS in Mountain View. You’re not arguing for tenants in this case, you are arguing for new businesses that are typically NOT owned by Mountain View citizens. And you are arguing that the new apartments will not be “affordable” as defined by the HUD Fair Market Rate statistics that states(Web Link">Web Link :

For 2015 Efficiency $1,213, One-Bedroom $1,419, Two-Bedroom $1,809, Three-Bedroom $2,551 and Four-Bedroom $2,892(Web Link">Web Link

For 2016 Efficiency $1,348, One-Bedroom $1,582, Two-Bedroom $1,994, Three-Bedroom $2,777 and Four-Bedroom $3,098 (Web Link

For 2017 Efficiency $1,507, One-Bedroom $1,773, Two-Bedroom $2,220, Three-Bedroom $3,078 and Four-Bedroom $3,545 (Web Link

If you look at this site (Web Link

The going averages in rent are: Studio $2,032, 1 Bed $2,782, 2 Beds $3,395, 3 Beds $3,878

So there is a surplus for studio apartments of (2,032- 1,507) = $525, one bedroom apartments of (2,782- 1,773) = $1,009, two bedroom apartments of (3,395- 2,220) = $1,175, three bedroom apartments of (3,878- 3,078 = $800.

If the HUD FMR indicates a “FAIR” rent, then the fact that the average rent in Mountain View indicates that landlords are getting excessive rent rates by studio apartments of $525, one bedroom apartments of $1,009, two bedroom apartments of $1,175, three bedroom apartments of $800. Thus these rents can be considered “UNFAIR” and if this is a trend throughout California, No wonder Costa Hawkins is in trouble.

If all apartments built at this time would be available at the HUD FMR, I would agree with you a great deal more. But given that the rates established by HUD are provided with an open disclosure of the methods. Versus the private corporations that withhold their “methodology” to determine “their” affordability standards. I believe the HUD process.

You simply have no argument that the City is the problem in this matter. Again, if it was “YOUR” back yard, you have the right to do with it what you want. But since “YOUR” backyard is NOT the entire City of Mountain View, you are overreaching.


Posted by YIMBY
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Jun 3, 2018 at 1:14 pm

For someone calling himself The Business Man you don't seem to understand what supply and demand is and it's relation to the price of goods and services.


Posted by The Business Man
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Jun 3, 2018 at 3:38 pm

The Business Man is a registered user.

In response to Posted YIMBY you said:

“For someone calling himself The Business Man you don't seem to understand what supply and demand is and it's relation to the price of goods and services.”

I do understand I got 4.0s in economics and accounting at an accredited business school (SJSU).

I also understand when anti-competitive strategies are used to shift the “supply curves” in the economic demand/supply equilibrium. Typically when you plot the chart where the price is the y axis and the quantity is the x axis. Under ideal market conditions there are 2 lines plotted, the supply line that has a positive slope and the demand line that has a negative slope. Where they cross is called the normal price quantity equilibrium. On top of that there is the price elasticity factor where the price or quantity can change without impacting the actual market demand.

But when you have anti-competitive strategies, this causes the supply line to shift towards the left, thereby increasing scarcity of the available supply, thus increasing the cost because if the demand stays the same, the equilibrium is manipulated to provide a higher cost to satisfy the same number of demand in the market.

That has been the success of Costa Hawkins and the Ellis Acts. The market doesn’t compete, it cooperates so that the consumer bears all cost of failures to properly manage the housing assets. This eliminates “moral hazard” because the consumer “insures” that the people taking risks bear no cost in making bad ones.

So, my question is, can you establish I have a lack of understanding how markets work?

I let the public make that determination


Posted by YIMBY
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Jun 3, 2018 at 4:00 pm

Oh, we're back to the conspiracy that developers are colluding to keep supply scarce. By proposing developments that residents won't support.


Posted by @YIMBY
a resident of another community
on Jun 3, 2018 at 4:17 pm

There is a lot more to economics than supply and demand. Markets are far from perfect. Your inability to support your case with a more sophisticated economic argument suggests a superficial knowledge of the field.


Posted by YIMBY
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Jun 3, 2018 at 4:32 pm

Uh huh, ok then

Web Link

Oh my, what's that? A comprehensive report on the why housing is expensive in California?

"Rising home prices and rents are a signal that more households would like to live in an area than there is housing to accommodate them. Housing developers typically respond to this excess demand by building additional housing. This does not appear to be true, however, in California’s coastal metros. Building activity during the recent housing boom demonstrates this. During the mid–2000s, housing prices were rising throughout the country and, in most locations, developers responded with additional building. As Figure 4 shows, however, new housing construction, as measured by building permits issued by local officials, remained flat in California’s coastal metros. We also find that building activity in California’s coastal metros has been significantly lower than in metros outside of California that have similar desirable characteristics—such as temperate weather, coastal proximity, and economic growth—and, therefore, likely have similar demand for housing. For example, Seattle—a coastal metro with economic characteristics and average temperatures that are similar to California’s Bay Area metros—added new housing units at about twice the rate as San Francisco and San Jose over the last two decades. (Specifically, Seattle’s housing stock—its total number of housing units—grew at an average annual rate of 1.4 percent per year while San Francisco and San Jose’s housing stock grew by only 0.7 percent per year.)"

"A look at housing costs in California’s coastal metros in recent decades shows a connection between the slow rate of building and higher housing costs. The slowdown in building in California’s coastal metros corresponded with a substantial rise in housing costs relative to the rest of the country. In 1970, home prices in the state’s coastal metros were about 50 percent more expensive than in the rest of the country. This gap has widened considerably since that time. Homes in the coastal metros are now more than three times more expensive than the rest of the country. Similarly, rents have grown more expensive, with the gap between the coastal metros and the rest of the country increasing threefold since 1970 (from 16 percent more expensive to around 50 percent more expensive)."

" Over two–thirds of cities and counties in California’s coastal metros have adopted policies (known as growth controls) explicitly aimed at limiting housing growth. Many policies directly limit growth—for example, by capping the number of new homes that may be built in a given year or limiting building heights and densities. Other policies indirectly limit growth—for example, by requiring a supermajority of local boards to approve housing projects. Research has found that these policies have been effective at limiting growth and consequently increasing housing costs. One study of growth controls enacted by California cities found that each additional growth control policy a community added was associated with a 3 percent to 5 percent increase in home prices."


Posted by The Business Man
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Jun 3, 2018 at 5:55 pm

The Business Man is a registered user.

In response to YIMBY you said:

“Rising home prices and rents are a signal that more households would like to live in an area than there is housing to accommodate them.”

Again, I already explained that market manipulation and speculation can equally if not more accurately describe the rise in costs. Realize that mst speculation involves one “houshehold” owning mre than one property while not living in the others. Does that sound like REAL housing demand? I simply need more evidence that indicates the proportion of those who own more than one house or apartment buildings that actually use them. Or tdo they sit empty like thousands do in San Framcisco? You also said:

“Housing developers typically respond to this excess demand by building additional housing. This does not appear to be true, however, in California’s coastal metros. Building activity during the recent housing boom demonstrates this. During the mid–2000s, housing prices were rising throughout the country and, in most locations, developers responded with additional building.”

But that building must be planned ahead of time, and if the plans show significant harm to he neighborhoods proposed, you are expected to see rejections. So before you make claims that the private landlords, investors, real estate, and developers are doing their part to improve life in California, you will have to prove their proposals would not negatively impact the areas they are located. You also said:

"A look at housing costs in California’s coastal metros in recent decades shows a connection between the slow rate of building and higher housing costs. The slowdown in building in California’s coastal metros corresponded with a substantial rise in housing costs relative to the rest of the country. In 1970, home prices in the state’s coastal metros were about 50 percent more expensive than in the rest of the country. This gap has widened considerably since that time. Homes in the coastal metros are now more than three times more expensive than the rest of the country. Similarly, rents have grown more expensive, with the gap between the coastal metros and the rest of the country increasing threefold since 1970 (from 16 percent more expensive to around 50 percent more expensive)."

However, this report fails to declare a cause and effect that can be proven scientifically. It is merely anecdotal at best. You need to prvide real evidence that the situation is not under the responsibioty of Private landlords, investors, real estate, or developers before you can go any further. You also said:

" Over two–thirds of cities and counties in California’s coastal metros have adopted policies (known as growth controls) explicitly aimed at limiting housing growth. Many policies directly limit growth—for example, by capping the number of new homes that may be built in a given year or limiting building heights and densities. Other policies indirectly limit growth—for example, by requiring a supermajority of local boards to approve housing projects. Research has found that these policies have been effective at limiting growth and consequently increasing housing costs. One study of growth controls enacted by California cities found that each additional growth control policy a community added was associated with a 3 percent to 5 percent increase in home prices."

This is a version of Orwellian doublespeak, what one calls “growth limitations” can also be called “neighborhood preservation”. This report does not even investigate how many projects rejected would have done severe damage to the neighborhoods if they were implemented. By only addressing, if not advocating, for the private interests, this report bears significant questions regarding methodology, analysis, conflicts of interest, and others.

For example Chas Alamo graduated from Syracuse University in Economics. A university significantly identified by the Documentary “Inside Job” to have produced economics studies beneficial to those that either employed the researchers outright or provided funds for the research, that resulted in positive research results to the sponsors.

Another example is Brian Ulher, which was a student at Sand Diego State University a university known for having significant problems with conflicts of interest that can be found here (Web Link This gives good cause to be skeptical of the results of this “analysis”.

Finally there is Marianne O'Malley, who does not appear to work at the LAO department anymore. She now owns O’Malley Consulting, but if you try to google that, you cannot find any public website. This privacy of such a company and inability to track her interests simply begs to ask the question: Who does she work for and what does she do? To me I simply express skepticism in her work because she appears to have no transparency. What proof do I have to “trust” her work? Should the public also “blindly” trust her work as scientific, or just a political “white paper” expressing an opinion?

YIMBY, before you use any research, you should take time to validate it, or check the credibility of the authors. Yes it is “non-partisan” but it only means it does not get support from “political” parties. It can significantly be influenced by those not “acting” as “political party” members, but “private” interests. Aren’t you aware of this possible problem?


Posted by YIMBY
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Jun 3, 2018 at 6:40 pm

@The Business Man

That's a bunch of crank conspiracy gibberish that you're desperately pulling at because the data doesn't support your beliefs.


Posted by The Business Man
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Jun 3, 2018 at 8:14 pm

The Business Man is a registered user.

In response to YIMBY you said:

“That's a bunch of crank conspiracy gibberish that you're desperately pulling at because the data doesn't support your beliefs.”

What data are you referring to? The report you sited simply does not establish a scientific “Cause and effect” because it only deals with what can be described as a “level zero” observation. They did no investigation at all, only wrote an opinion based on the narrow point of view they wanted to discuss. Please provide the “real data” that proves that “only” “growth limitation” was the reason why buildings were not built? Unless you have documented proof of this, you are only assuming facts NOT IN EVIDENCE.

The fact is the public has the right to question anything it wants. All I am doing is expressing some more questions. I don’t have the answers.

To me YIMBY, you are simply “grasping at straws” regarding your point of view. All I am saying is I need more scientific proof. The LAO simply did not ask many questions it should have asked like:

How many projects were rejected for good cause?

How many projects were rejected because the developers refused to adapt them for legitimate community concerns?

How many projects were withdrawn because here were questions asked about them that either were refused to answer, or answers resulted in more disturbing questions?

This report does not investigate anything, just scans the most basic statistics. How can you call it research?


Posted by The Business Man
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Jun 3, 2018 at 8:28 pm

The Business Man is a registered user.

FYI:

I love his article (Web Link

The landlords are finally understanding that tenants have the drivers seat in the housing market. But is it too late?

Especially the text stating:

The California Apartment Assn. says it’s OK with limiting annual rent hikes to the cost of inflation plus 5% alongside property tax breaks for apartment owners who convert residences to low-income rentals. UC Berkeley researchers proposed both ideas this week.”

My question is, if they are willing to voluntarily choose this practice, how much profit are being achieved without it, because this proposal will certainly provide significant profits to the property owners.

Does this mean that the CAA fails to disclose that “cost of operations” of apartments are actually very low?

Why didn’t this proposal been made regarding City rent control campaigns?

Would this idea have prevented the passage of Measure V?

Why doesn’t the landlords in Mountain View have the wisdom to see the big picture and negotiated any idea like this before the election and to the City Council?

Why did the CAA take the City of Mountain View to court when they may have prevented their problems by voluntary steps without legal compulsion?

To me, this indicates that the CAA and its membership needs to do some serious thinking about its actions and future.


To me, if this was a staring contest, the CAA has blinked already. They seem to be aware that the Costa Hawkins repeal has significant chances of success.


Posted by Howard
a resident of Monta Loma
on Jun 3, 2018 at 11:09 pm

Howard is a registered user.

[Post removed due to disrespectful comment or offensive language]


Posted by Howard
a resident of Monta Loma
on Jun 3, 2018 at 11:17 pm

Howard is a registered user.

Why do you think this article was even written. "Council pushes back on hefty cost of affordable housing".

Because it costs 41 million dollars to build 71 units. That's 577K each. Do you think that's affordable? The city and tax payer doesn't think so.

So why is it reasonable to make the landlord lower his rents to what you think is reasonable? Oh that's right, their rich and it's someone else's money.


Posted by The Business Man
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Jun 4, 2018 at 12:30 am

The Business Man is a registered user.

In response to Howard you said:

[Portion removed due to disrespectful comment or offensive language]

It was obvious in the article, you said:

“"The California Apartment Assn. says it’s OK with limiting annual rent hikes to the cost of inflation plus 5% alongside property tax breaks for apartment owners who convert residences to low-income rentals. UC Berkeley researchers proposed both ideas this week.”

Are you kidding me and who is going to enforce and monitor this program and what are the tax breaks and which government is even offering this tax incentive?”

To me it doesn’t matter because the fact is you aren’t answering the question. What IS the PROFIT margin that the INDUSTRY is pushing onto the CONSUMER? You need to be transparent in order to achieve some kind of appreciation from the public. You said:

“This is rhyme without reason just like your understanding of the rental industry and the profitability of it. You speak with no reference point as a [Portion removed due to disrespectful comment or offensive language] tenant and continually contradict the information from the "real" Business people that work in the industry of supplying housing in Mountain View.”

My question is where is the proof of what you said? These words and claims made by the various people are Hearsay as long as you withhold your accounting ledgers so that we cannot see “PROOF”. You said:

“It's just gibberish without substance.”

You should see the gibberish some landlords put into their petitions. Which makes them less likely to achieve their goals. You said:

“Why do you think this article that is running now was even written. "Council pushes back on hefty cost of affordable housing".”

Again, I expect NO PUBLIC FUNDS used to build the “affordable housing” because the industry did not fulfill the promises of Costa Hawkins. There is an accounting that needs to be reconciled by those who made empty promises. You said:

“Because it costs 41 million dollars to build 71 units. That's 577K each. Do you think that's affordable? The city and tax payer doesn't think so. “

Until you provide the documentation to establish proof of this claim, it is just Hearsay. This estimate is probably based on the most luxurious apartment amenities that you can provide, i.e, Dishwashers, Central Heating and A/C, Washers and Dryers in each apartment, Up to date Wiring, Cable TV hookups in each Living Room and Bedroom, Private Gyms, Pools, etc. You don’t even try to compare costs of “affordable” housing. Do you think the public should “trust” your claims without “evidence”? You said:

“So why is it reasonable to make the landlord lower his rents to what you think is reasonable? Oh that's right, their rich and it's someone else's money.”

When the industry convinced the state government it would provide housing as long as rent control would not be engaged, it failed miserably. So, that is justification for that expectation. Accountability is on the ones that failed to provide adequate housing, NOT the PUBLIC. That is just what is real.


Posted by The Business Man
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Jun 16, 2018 at 6:06 am

The Business Man is a registered user.

Hello everyone:


It appears to be now official.

The Costa Hawkins Repeal initiative is now on the ballot seen here

Web Link

So if these homes turn out to be rented, they will likely be subject to rent control, since the latest polls seriously indicate that Costa Hawkins repeal will succeed. And the City Citizens in Mountain View WILL get CSFRA extended to the units or homes currently blocked by the Costa Hawkins law.

I wonder if the project will in fact move forward at this time. Many projects like this are given local approval, but then are cancelled by the developer after the approval.

It just appears that the statewide initiative is about to throw a lot of uncertainty in this situation.


Posted by Polomom
a resident of Waverly Park
on Jul 23, 2018 at 8:50 pm

Polomom is a registered user.

@Howard, maybe we should be more open to other developers:
Web Link
$ 438 000 a unit. Still a lot, but not $ 577 000.


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