Reimagining Homeownership in LA County
It has been one year since new legislation went into effect to address Los Angeles County’s housing supply and affordability crisis. However, it’s up to LA County homeowners to take advantage of new opportunities this legislation unlocks.
California has by far the most expensive housing costs in the nation. In November 2022, the median listing home price in LA County was $829,9001, up 3.9% from last year. To put it in perspective, the annual income residents need to afford a home at that price is about $180,0002, more than twice the state’s median household income.
Home prices and mortgage interest rates are climbing year over year. As a result, the housing supply and demand gap is growing. Many people who’ve lived in LA County all their lives can’t afford housing. Some relocate, while others face more dire situations like homelessness.
LA County needs creative solutions that address the housing shortage for middle-income residents, especially the people who’ve lived in the area for years and want to stay here.
After years of deliberation, there is a solution to expand housing opportunities and make homeownership more accessible all while preserving the look and feel of the neighborhoods people call home.
Senate Bill 9 (SB 9), also called the California Housing Opportunity and More Efficiency (“HOME”) Act, was signed into law on September 16, 2021 and went into effect on January 1, 2022. SB 9 is structured to give power back to middle-income homeowners.
SB 9 provides a legal, streamlined process for homeowners to do one of two things: convert their single-family home into a duplex or split their single-family residential lot into two separate lots and build up to two new housing units on each—four units total. This helps homeowners build more wealth while providing much-needed housing to their families or renters.
LA County resident, Jamie S., explains, “SB 9 has allowed close friends of mine to build an additional unit on their parents’ property. Otherwise, they would have been priced out of the market.”
With any change to the status quo comes resistance. Critics of SB 9 cite concerns of gentrification and large housing developments that overcrowd neighborhoods and strain local infrastructure.
However, these criticisms overlook SB 9 provisions designed to prevent just that. The bill excludes historic and landmark districts and doesn’t allow more than four total units on a single-family parcel, so families don’t have to fear large developments taking over their neighborhoods. It also requires the homeowner live on the property for at least three years following the project’s completion to ensure local homeowners—not real estate developers— make the aesthetic decisions and resulting profits within their own neighborhood .
Keep in mind, people moving to these areas are tax-paying residents who invest in their communities and collectively help ensure homeowners and renters can live comfortably.
Knowing it can be difficult for LA County homeowners to understand what SB 9 means for them and their community, a coalition of in LA County joined forces to help.
Known as Housing Reimagined, this group of LA County REALTORS® and residents is here to help homeowners understand how to take advantage of the benefits of SB 9. Housing Reimagined is committed to finding more creative solutions to expand housing and make homeownership more accessible in LA County. The REALTORS® who comprise Housing Reimagined are advocates for homeowners in the LA area and support efforts that protect these homeowners’ investments while encouraging more opportunities for homeownership.
SB 9’s focus on protecting current homeowners while creating more housing opportunities shows major progress for LA County. Still, this is just the beginning. Visit housingreimagined.org to learn more about SB 9 eligibility and what this legislation means for homeowners and communities.