California Housing Shortage Triggers Cycle of Despair

Everyone in California knows, or should know, that the state has an immense shortage of housing that persists despite efforts by its politicians to jump-start construction.

State officials say we need to build 180,000 new units of housing each year to meet demand, even though the state’s population has been slowly declining of late. At best, California is building about half of that number, adjusted for losses to old age, fires and other calamities, and construction seems to be slowing due to sharp increases in interest rates.

The economic laws of supply and demand mean the housing shortage results in high home prices and rents. As those costs, particularly rents, filter down to the Californians on the bottom rungs of the economic ladder, they result in California’s having the highest rate of poverty of any state, 13.2%, when the cost of living is included in the calculation.

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