Mckinsey folks estimate it at 2 million. Pointer from Alex Tabarrok.
The market clears, of course, but at a price point that is very high relative to income.
Presumably, this is a supply problem. You do not cure a supply problem with mortgage subsidies or rent controls.
They have several suggestions for how to fix it. First,
In California cities with populations of more than 100,000 people, we conservatively estimate that there is capacity to build 103,000 to 225,000 housing units on vacant land that has already cleared the multifamily zoning hurdle (Exhibit 8). One-third of this opportunity is in Los Angeles County. This estimate applies only to vacant and already-zoned urban land capacity and does not account for whether it is economically feasible to build housing onthis land.
Los Angeles County is a big place, and the vacant parcels seem to be all over the map. That leads me to worry about transportation issues. And it leads to their second recommendation.
We estimate that by increasing housing density around high-frequency public transit stations, California could build 1.2 million to 3 million units within a half-mile radius of transit. . . in our “high case,” 34 percent, or one million units, would be in the Bay Area; 8 percent, or 245,000 units, in the Sacramento area; and 30 percent, or 903,000 units, in the Los Angeles area.
An interesting paragraph about the disincentive to approve new housing appears in a footnote:
One reason for this is the small share of property tax that is allocated to the city from a residential development. The city must provide municipal services for the development, yet a large share of the development’s property taxes flows to non-city entities such as the county, the school district, and special-purpose districts such as fire and water districts. In addition, affordable units built by non-profit organizations are exempt from property tax, since such units qualify for the “welfare exemption” outlined in the state constitution. For a given parcel, local governments would often rather approve developments that generate more revenue, such as retail projects, than housing. This “land-use fiscalization” is commonly cited as a barrier to residential development in California.
On the permitting process in general, there is this:
California stakeholders could study other systems to get a fact-based view of “what good looks like”—for example, a robust, participatory, and transparent land-use process where outcomes are measured in days or weeks, rather than years or decades.
The report strikes me as very good.
Along similar lines, see Richard Epstein.
Another piece, recommended by Steve Teles, is David Schleicher’s City Unplanning.
Each time a community board approves a new development, the city could provide a time-limited property tax rebate to residents in the board’s district equal to a percentage of the “tax increment” created by the development (the tax increment is the increase in tax revenues caused by increasing property values18). The payments would head off local opposition to new development