California lawmakers have tried for 50 years to fix the state's housing crisis. Here's why they've failed

Azucena Gutierrez, 38, stands outside her apartment in Boyle Heights before leaving for her job in Torrance last fall. (Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times)


fter an hour of debate, Herb Perez had had enough.

Perez, a councilman in the Bay Area suburb of Foster City, was tired of planning for the construction of new homes to comply with a 50-year-old state law designed to help all Californians live affordably.

Everyone knows, Perez told the crowd at a 2015 City Council meeting, that the law is a failure. It requires cities and counties to develop plans every eight years for new home building in their communities. After more than a year of work and spending nearly $50,000, Foster City had an 87-page housing plan that proposed hundreds of new homes, mapped where they would go and detailed the many ways the city could help make the construction happen. But a crucial element was missing: Foster City was never going to approve all the building called for in the voluminous proposal, Perez said.

“What I’m seeing here is an elaborate shell game,” Perez said. “Because we’re kind of lying. It’s the only word I can come up with. We have no intention of actually building the units.”

“We’re kind of lying”: Foster City city councilman says his city won’t approve the homebuilding it’s planning for

Perez’s prediction came true. Despite soaring demand for housing in the Bay Area, the city hasn’t approved any new development projects in more than five years.

Foster City’s experience is shared by governments across California: The law requires cities and counties to produce prodigious reports to plan for housing — but it doesn’t hold them accountable for any resulting home building.

The law, passed in 1967, is the state’s primary tool to encourage housing development and address a statewide shortage of homes that drives California’s affordability problems.

Now, a bill from Sen. Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco) would, for the first time, force cities and counties that have fallen behind on their housing goals to take steps to eliminate some of the hurdles they put in front of development, such as multiple planning reviews for individual projects. Wiener’s legislation passed the state Senate this month and is awaiting a vote in the Assembly as part of a package of bills aimed at addressing the state’s housing problems.

“The system is so broken,” Wiener said. “It gives the public a false sense that a step has been taken toward having more housing when in fact it’s just an illusion.”

One of the main criticisms of the law is that it hasn’t spurred enough new home building. Fewer than half of the 1.5 million new homes the law said developers would need to build over eight years leading up to 2014 — the law’s most recent reporting period — were built.

In addition, state officials don’t know if cities and counties have met their housing goals. Local governments are supposed to give the state information on home building each year, but many don’t. As a result, there is no reliable measure of how many houses are being built in California for low-, middle- and upper-income residents.

State lawmakers have known about the law’s weaknesses for decades but haven’t fixed them. They have added dozens of new planning requirements to the process but have not provided any incentive, such as a greater share of tax dollars, for local governments to meet their housing goals.

“The law has been completely ineffective at addressing the issue of housing affordability,” said Paavo Monkkonen, an associate professor of urban planning at UCLA. “If anything, it’s a waste of people’s time.”

Prison beds and student dormitories count as low-income housing?

California’s housing affordability troubles have contributed to the state’s poverty rate, which is the highest in the nation. It also has burdened millions with high rents and, according to a recent study by the McKinsey Global Institute, created a more than $100-billion annual drag on the state economy by lowering disposable incomes and limiting construction jobs.

Ben Metcalf, the state’s top housing official, has said the affordability problems are as bad as they’ve ever been in California’s history. And the state is expected to add an additional 6.5 million people over the next two decades.

The primary driver of the affordability problem is a lack of home building. Developers in California need to roughly double the 100,000 homes they build each year to stabilize housing costs, according to the McKinsey study and reports from the state Department of Housing and Community Development and nonpartisan Legislative Analyst’s Office.

Home construction depends on complex factors including the cost of land, materials and labor, the availability of financing for developers and interest rates on mortgages for homeowners. But decisions made by California’s cities and counties are important, too, and many of those local governments have made it even more difficult to build new housing.

More than two-thirds of California’s coastal communities have adopted measures — such as caps on population or housing growth, or building height limits — aimed at limiting residential development, according to the Legislative Analyst’s Office. A UC Berkeley study of California’s local land-use regulations found that every growth-control policy a city puts in place raises housing costs by as much as 5% there.

The housing supply law, known formally as the “housing element,” is supposed to help knock down local barriers to development by requiring cities to plan for new housing that would accommodate children born in California and people expected to relocate to the state. Over an eight-year period, state officials send estimates of housing needed to meet projected population growth to 19 regional agencies, including the Southern California Assn. of Governments in the Los Angeles area.

These agencies outline how many new homes are needed across four income levels: very low, low, moderate and above-moderate. So, in theory, all cities and counties would receive their fair share of growth. Local governments must show they’ve zoned enough land for the new housing — and the state must sign off on those plans. But the state doesn’t hold cities accountable for the goals they set, and the plans are often ignored.

Even so, city and county officials resent the law, arguing it unfairly takes away their power over development in their communities. To avoid complying, local governments have over the years asked state lawmakers to, among other things, count prison beds and student dormitories as low-income housing and allow cities that place foster children in their communities to reduce the number of low-income homes they need to plan for.

In one case, La Habra Heights, in Los Angeles County, asked that it be exempted from the law because the city was too hilly for apartment complexes.

‘People want to be with people who are like them’

At the base of the San Gabriel Mountains, the affluent bedroom community of La Cañada Flintridge has few apartment or condominium complexes — and many of the city’s 20,000 residents and public officials want to keep it that way.

Four years ago, city leaders wrote a plan to make room for multifamily housing in several sections of the city. But, to discourage developers, they chose areas already occupied by single-family homes and, in one case, a big-box retailer. As a result, developers would have needed to buy up the homes one by one or, in the case of the retailer, purchase the commercial real estate and force the store out. In devising the plan, city officials assured concerned residents that it would be prohibitively expensive for developers.

“Everybody on this dais and that’s here is on the same page,” Planning Commission Chairman Rick Gunter told the audience at a November 2013 hearing on the housing plan. “We like living here. We like the way it is now.”

Herand Der Sarkissian, a former La Cañada Flintridge planning commissioner who approved the city’s housing plan, said in an interview it didn’t make sense for the state to try to force low-income housing into La Cañada Flintridge because the city’s high land costs made it fiscally irresponsible. He added that any state efforts to integrate housing of all income levels into wealthy communities are doomed.

“People like people of their own tribe,” Der Sarkissian said. “I think the attempt to change it is ludicrous. Be it black, be it white. People want to be with people who are like them. To force people through legislation to change in that way is impractical.”

None of the multifamily housing called for in the La Cañada Flintridge housing plan has been built.

In Redondo Beach, officials told the state in 2014 they would work toward the city’s housing goal by supporting a proposed commercial and residential development with 180 apartments — nine of them reserved for very poor families — to replace a run-down strip mall and parking lot along the Pacific Coast Highway. The city zoned the land for that amount of housing.

But in numerous hearings over the next two years, planning commissioners and council members argued the development was too big, and the city ultimately approved 115 apartments with none set aside for low-income residents. The developer has since sued Redondo Beach and the project remains in limbo.

La Cañada Flintridge and Redondo Beach did not report housing construction data to the state from 2006 to ‘14. Some new homes were built in both cities, according to permit information, but far fewer than were outlined in the cities’ plans over that period.

These and similar examples across California show that the housing law is a “complete farce,” Wiener said. His legislation would do away with some planning reviews that are often levied on projects in cities that haven’t kept pace with their housing goals.

“Many local communities basically run a scam where they spend all sorts of time — lots of public hearings, lots of public discussion — and then it’s over and you have this collection of paper sitting on a shelf,” Wiener said. “It doesn’t result in any additional housing.”

‘With this living situation, I can’t even think of having children right now’

Sandwiched between wealthier communities to the north and south and more industrial areas to the east, the coastal Los Angeles County city of Torrance has swaths of single-family neighborhoods and lots of land for commercial and industrial business.

“A city should be allowed to say we’re full”: Torrance city councilman argues against new homebuilding

“At some point, a city should be allowed to say we’re full,” Bill Sutherland, then a Torrance city councilman, grumbled before voting for the city’s most recent housing plan in 2013. “I think we are actually at that point.”

Torrance’s growth has slowed. Less than half of 1,828 houses called for in the city’s previous housing plan were built, according to construction permit data.

The lack of home building has had consequences.

Nearly 40% of Torrance’s 147,000 residents now pay more than 30% of their incomes on housing, according to federal data. In 2014, Toyota Motor Corp. decided to relocate its North American headquarters — and 3,000 jobs — from Torrance to Plano, Texas, citing as one factor the Lone Star State’s lower cost of living.

High costs have left housing in Torrance out of reach for Azucena Gutierrez and other workers in the city.

Every weekday, Gutierrez goes into Torrance homes to teach prenatal and infant care to new and expectant parents. Gutierrez, 38, earns less than $15 an hour.

She lives in Los Angeles’ Boyle Heights neighborhood, crowding into a two-bedroom apartment with her husband, who is a substitute teacher, their 14-year-old son and 5-year-old daughter. Steep housing costs have forced Gutierrez’s older sister to move in with them too.

Gutierrez would like to live near her job and for her children to attend Torrance’s better rated schools. But the $1,600-a-month rent she saw advertised for a one-bedroom apartment in Torrance was more than the $1,500 she pays now for more room across town.

Azucena Gutierrez, 38, leaves her home before sunrise in Boyle Heights and heads to her job in Torrance. Gutierrez lives with her husband, children and sister and pays $1,500 a month for her two-bedroom apartment. A one-bedroom in Torrance would cost her $1,600 per month. (Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times)

“I waste a lot of time in traffic,” Gutierrez said. “Time, I can’t get it back. I’m spending close to two hours driving every day. That’s 10 hours [a week] I could be spending with my family.”

Gutierrez’s colleagues share her struggles. Georgina Romero, 28, makes $13.50 an hour teaching toddlers and pays $600 a month to live with her boyfriend, mother, two younger siblings and her sister’s boyfriend in a three-bedroom house in Watts.

She moved there in March to help her mother with her housing costs. Before that, Romero paid $300 a month to live with her boyfriend in a 400-square-foot garage behind his parents’ house in Lawndale.

“I would love to have children,” Romero said. “But with this living situation, I can’t even think of having children right now. I don’t feel like I’m stable enough.”

Georgina Romero, 28, used to live with her boyfriend in a garage behind his parents’ home in Lawndale. (Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times)
Romero works at a head start office in Torrance and said she wants children but doesn’t feel stable enough in her living situation. (Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times)

Torrance Mayor Patrick Furey said he’s sympathetic to those who can’t afford to live in his city. But, he added, Torrance shouldn’t have to make changes to the character of its neighborhoods to accommodate new housing.

Instead of Torrance, he said, nearby cities should take on the needed growth.

“You won’t have the ZIP Code you want,” Furey said, “but it’s close enough.”

‘No intention of facing up to housing responsibilities’

The state’s housing law faced problems from the start.

In 1967, Gov. Ronald Reagan signed the law, which had a simple goal: Cities and counties would have to plan “for the housing needs of all economic segments of the community.” But just five months after the first plans were due in July 1969, state officials realized local governments were ignoring the law, with a report warning about “discouraging indications” that a number of communities had “no intention of facing up to housing responsibilities.”

Over the years, legislators passed numerous bills adding detailed rules to local government housing plans. But things only got worse.

Torrance workers struggle to find nearby housing

By 1993, the law’s increased paperwork requirements turned it into “an energy- and money-guzzling bureaucratic maze,” said Timothy Coyle, then-director of the Department of Housing and Community Development, at a legislative oversight hearing that year. He called the law “broken” because it did nothing to encourage cities to permit more homes.

Coyle said in a recent interview that the law “was destined to fail.”

Today, the state lacks basic information on the law’s effectiveness. More than a quarter of California’s 539 cities and counties failed to tell the state how many homes were built within their boundaries over the eight-year period leading up to 2014, according to a Times review of housing department data.

Wiener’s legislation would require all cities and counties to turn in home-building data and remove some of their ability to review and block new development if they fall behind their housing goals.

Gov. Jerry Brown has also said he’d also support tying state financial aid to whether local governments met their housing goals. Still, if the state plans to hold cities and counties accountable for meeting those targets, the targets themselves might require reevaluation.

Bay Area counties are on track to meet their overall home-building goals for the eight-year reporting period ending in 2023, the Legislative Analyst’s Office found recently.

But developers aren’t building nearly enough homes to affect affordability, the analyst’s office also said. The Bay Area has added half a million more jobs than houses since 2011, and other fast-growing parts of the country — around Austin, Texas; Portland, Ore.; and Raleigh, N.C. — are building homes at more than twice the rate of the Bay Area.

Perez, the Foster City councilman, believes the state is ignoring the housing law’s problems.

Developers have built more than 500 homes in Foster City since the council approved its housing plan in 2015, a number that already exceeds the new houses called for under the plan through 2023.

But all those new homes came from projects approved before 2012 that home builders are just now putting on the market. And the city has turned away other developers interested in building housing where the city’s plan said they could, Perez said.

Since early 2015, Foster City’s median home value has increased 13% to a record $1.5 million, more than seven times the national average.

Perez believes state politicians should hold cities accountable for approving new housing projects by providing money to local governments that do, and penalizing those that don’t. Otherwise, he said, cities will continue to act as he said Foster City did — signing off on plans to appease state regulators but blocking housing from being built.

“I think the most important part of this is that there’s complicity on the part of the state,” Perez said. “They created this fake thing that they know no one has any intention of doing, and then they say they’ve done something about housing.”

How many homes were built in your city?
Less than half the new homes called for in California’s most recent eight-year housing plan, which ended in 2014, were built, according to permit data from the construction industry. See how building stacked up compared to state targets, and whether cities and counties reported their homebuilding to state regulators.
City or county New homes built/needed Percentage met of housing goal Data sent to state
Alameda 259/2046
Albany 123/276
Berkeley 2097/2431
Dublin 3666/3330
Emeryville 1277/1137
Fremont 2531/4380
Hayward 2226/3393
Livermore 809/3394
Newark 307/863
Oakland 3540/14629
Piedmont 367/40
Pleasanton 925/3277
San Leandro 256/1630
Union City 793/1944
Unincorporated Alameda County 595/2167
Alpine County 62/68
Amador City 1/13
Ione 175/228
Jackson 20/261
Plymouth 1/67
Sutter Creek 19/189
Unincorporated Amador County 338/1413
Biggs 0/155
Chico 2104/5716
Gridley 59/1068
Oroville 300/2363
Paradise 189/1240
Unincorporated Butte County 1351/3402
Angels 30/201
Unincorporated Calaveras County 647/2344
Colusa 104/523
Williams 82/468
Unincorporated Colusa County 147/902
Antioch 1194/2282
Brentwood 1952/2705
Clayton 16/151
Concord 238/3043
Danville 266/583
El Cerrito 77/431
Hercules 188/453
Lafayette 230/361
Martinez 146/1060
Moraga 201/234
Oakley 1584/775
Orinda 215/218
Pinole 143/323
Pittsburg 1635/1772
Pleasant Hill 66/628
Richmond 501/2826
San Pablo 134/298
San Ramon 650/3463
Walnut Creek 951/1958
Unincorporated Contra Costa County 4791/3508
Crescent City 54/314
Unincorporated Del Norte County 375/1569
Placerville 132/388
South Lake Tahoe 517/218
Unincorporated El Dorado County 2946/8044
Clovis 4659/15383
Coalinga 153/114
Firebaugh 203/380
Fowler 345/551
Fresno 12616/20967
Huron 152/476
Kerman 600/2425
Kingsburg 149/1213
Mendota 244/359
Orange Cove 307/781
Parlier 296/640
Reedley 683/1350
San Joaquin 91/200
Sanger 584/2351
Selma 477/2167
Unincorporated Fresno County 1518/2784
Orland 233/621
Willows 122/487
Unincorporated Glenn County 125/1108
Arcata 216/811
Blue Lake 19/20
Eureka 104/880
Ferndale 9/52
Fortuna 127/586
Rio Dell 38/138
Trinidad 252/11
Unincorporated Humboldt County 1102/2249
Brawley 661/3088
Calexico 604/2498
Calipatria 103/202
El Centro 598/2908
Holtville 7/139
Imperial 1731/1810
Westmorland 23/256
Unincorporated Imperial County 1145/13426
Bishop 15/110
Unincorporated Inyo County 50/457
Arvin 782/532
Bakersfield 13148/27252
California City 957/407
Delano 581/1817
Maricopa 19/16
McFarland 537/775
Ridgecrest 485/379
Shafter 594/502
Taft 29/62
Tehachapi 455/454
Wasco 1059/858
Unincorporated Kern County 5349/8586
Avenal 108/711
Corcoran 332/905
Hanford 1073/5758
Lemoore 747/3021
Unincorporated Kings County 294/1094
Clearlake 237/1228
Lakeport 65/430
Unincorporated Lake County 570/3847
Susanville 63/705
Unincorporated Lassen County 135/1333
Agoura Hills 93/110
Alhambra 626/1546
Arcadia 1123/2149
Artesia 171/132
Avalon 7/148
Azusa 1031/745
Baldwin Park 226/744
Bell 50/47
Bell Gardens 199/122
Bellflower 348/1067
Beverly Hills 577/554
Bradbury 30/35
Burbank 931/3786
Calabasas 231/521
Carson 496/1812
Cerritos 483/95
Claremont 621/457
Commerce 30/64
Compton 346/69
Covina 169/1337
Cudahy 41/399
Culver City 98/504
Diamond Bar 250/1090
Downey 214/1108
Duarte 145/367
El Monte 708/2208
El Segundo 121/168
Gardena 357/1105
Glendale 3455/3131
Glendora 957/744
Hawaiian Gardens 24/145
Hawthorne 1154/910
Hermosa Beach 335/562
Hidden Hills 31/34
Huntington Park 24/1013
Industry 9/6
Inglewood 439/1658
Irwindale 13/68
La Cañada Flintridge 126/235
La Habra Heights 40/80
La Mirada 47/1751
La Puente 107/807
La Verne 457/854
Lakewood 91/673
Lancaster 4096/12799
Lawndale 101/468
Lomita 103/346
Long Beach 2071/9583
Los Angeles 76942/112876
Lynwood 275/363
Malibu 175/441
Manhattan Beach 789/895
Maywood 50/22
Monrovia 416/567
Montebello 213/502
Monterey Park 429/1141
Norwalk 47/297
Palmdale 3854/17910
Palos Verdes Estates 128/72
Paramount 105/1017
Pasadena 2659/2869
Pico Rivera 85/855
Pomona 1039/3678
Rancho Palos Verdes 125/60
Redondo Beach 913/2234
Rolling Hills 25/22
Rolling Hills Estates 61/26
Rosemead 292/780
San Dimas 267/625
San Fernando 113/251
San Gabriel 204/827
San Marino 59/26
Santa Clarita 1536/9598
Santa Fe Springs 528/460
Santa Monica 2692/662
Sierra Madre 28/139
Signal Hill 183/222
South El Monte 225/202
South Gate 410/1313
South Pasadena 78/166
Temple City 716/987
Torrance 822/1828
Vernon 90/0
Walnut 332/587
West Covina 707/2461
West Hollywood 762/584
Westlake Village 10/52
Whittier 234/892
Unincorporated Los Angeles County 9223/57180
Chowchilla 247/1375
Madera 917/6298
Unincorporated Madera County 788/9474
Belvedere 18/17
Corte Madera 189/244
Fairfax 10/108
Larkspur 156/382
Mill Valley 206/292
Novato 198/1241
Ross 5/27
San Anselmo 39/113
San Rafael 143/1403
Sausalito 27/165
Tiburon 53/117
Unincorporated Marin County 249/773
Unincorporated Mariposa County 338/1084
Fort Bragg 67/256
Point Arena 3/19
Ukiah 61/459
Willits 115/209
Unincorporated Mendocino County 750/2552
Atwater 121/2381
Dos Palos 26/185
Gustine 55/202
Livingston 232/375
Los Banos 450/3000
Merced 405/3076
Unincorporated Merced County 818/7364
Alturas 4/41
Unincorporated Modoc County 90/99
Mammoth Lakes 66/279
Unincorporated Mono County 131/292
Carmel-by-the-Sea 75/32
Del Rey Oaks 8/150
Gonzales 48/689
Greenfield 218/538
King City 123/571
Marina 188/1913
Monterey 54/657
Pacific Grove 76/120
Salinas 670/4076
Sand City 0/120
Seaside 82/598
Soledad 534/897
Unincorporated Monterey County 1103/1554
American Canyon 264/728
Calistoga 29/94
Napa 739/2024
St. Helena 80/121
Yountville 53/87
Unincorporated Napa County 330/651
Grass Valley 179/1094
Nevada City 0/131
Truckee 565/1259
Unincorporated Nevada County 821/2988
Aliso Viejo 822/919
Anaheim 4622/9498
Brea 985/2048
Buena Park 646/676
Costa Mesa 1373/1682
Cypress 224/451
Dana Point 204/68
Fountain Valley 358/467
Fullerton 1365/1909
Garden Grove 826/560
Huntington Beach 3221/2092
Irvine 22884/35660
La Habra 281/257
La Palma 18/16
Laguna Beach 229/30
Laguna Hills 299/8
Laguna Niguel 918/356
Laguna Woods 136/135
Lake Forest 950/29
Los Alamitos 41/41
Mission Viejo 695/147
Newport Beach 1594/1914
Orange 1754/5079
Placentia 360/97
Rancho Santa Margarita 72/123
San Clemente 921/584
San Juan Capistrano 802/1063
Santa Ana 1058/3394
Seal Beach 89/57
Stanton 348/818
Tustin 2446/2381
Villa Park 33/11
Westminster 437/147
Yorba Linda 1618/2039
Unincorporated Orange County 3322/7980
Auburn 177/307
Colfax 64/69
Lincoln 2385/10095
Loomis 65/148
Rocklin 2469/2238
Roseville 5602/8933
Unincorporated Placer County 2679/6229
Portola 26/25
Unincorporated Plumas County 367/152
Banning 77/3841
Beaumont 4864/7071
Blythe 126/778
Calimesa 204/2271
Canyon Lake 63/100
Cathedral City 371/3329
Coachella 1551/5733
Corona 2667/3307
Desert Hot Springs 903/9924
Eastvale 1750/1549
Hemet 1948/11243
Indian Wells 350/244
Indio 5123/4143
Jurupa Valley 216/0
La Quinta 2977/4326
Lake Elsinore 4394/5590
Menifee 2622/2734
Moreno Valley 3720/7474
Murrieta 1306/6303
Norco 21/949
Palm Desert 2549/4586
Palm Springs 1442/2261
Perris 3014/4163
Rancho Mirage 386/3208
Riverside 3887/11381
San Jacinto 1947/12026
Temecula 4663/4085
Wildomar 1322/1471
Unincorporated Riverside County 19374/50615
Citrus Heights 191/262
Elk Grove 4107/11314
Folsom 1884/3601
Galt 403/635
Isleton 21/77
Rancho Cordova 2776/10395
Sacramento 8799/17650
Unincorporated Sacramento County 2898/15160
Hollister 408/3050
San Juan Bautista 17/49
Unincorporated San Benito County 111/1655
Adelanto 860/9323
Apple Valley 1577/3886
Barstow 308/4478
Big Bear Lake 295/496
Chino 4331/3045
Chino Hills 903/1040
Colton 349/3705
Fontana 3964/5699
Grand Terrace 244/329
Hesperia 2046/9095
Highland 354/2784
Loma Linda 476/2646
Montclair 559/1810
Needles 41/66
Ontario 1870/7661
Rancho Cucamonga 4353/1282
Redlands 716/2845
Rialto 806/4323
San Bernardino 921/5687
Twentynine Palms 574/3077
Upland 727/1995
Victorville 6099/8617
Yucaipa 664/2819
Yucca Valley 576/2509
Unincorporated San Bernardino County 5603/20626
Carlsbad 6470/8376
Chula Vista 11722/17224
Coronado 561/64
Del Mar 99/25
El Cajon 395/621
Encinitas 1100/1712
Escondido 2575/2437
Imperial Beach 175/87
La Mesa 1034/396
Lemon Grove 144/242
National City 1061/319
Oceanside 3644/6423
Poway 620/1242
San Diego 31031/45742
San Marcos 6844/6254
Santee 1689/1381
Solana Beach 152/131
Vista 915/2267
Unincorporated San Diego County 15753/12357
San Francisco 19896/31193
Escalon 92/495
Lathrop 871/1326
Lodi 95/3892
Manteca 2957/4053
Ripon 333/951
Stockton 1673/16540
Tracy 762/4887
Unincorporated San Joaquin County 2552/6075
Arroyo Grande 221/362
Atascadero 657/462
El Paso de Robles (Paso Robles) 78/646
Grover Beach 138/193
Morro Bay 452/180
Pismo Beach 289/411
San Luis Obispo 678/1590
Unincorporated San Luis Obispo County 2413/1295
Atherton 184/83
Belmont 42/399
Brisbane 97/401
Burlingame 283/650
Colma 2/65
Daly City 434/1207
East Palo Alto 36/630
Foster City 576/486
Half Moon Bay 302/276
Hillsborough 117/86
Menlo Park 407/993
Millbrae 236/452
Pacifica 143/275
Portola Valley 54/74
Redwood City 1889/1856
San Bruno 470/973
San Carlos 195/599
San Mateo 923/3051
South San Francisco 260/1635
Woodside 118/41
Unincorporated San Mateo County 655/1506
Buellton 14/278
Carpinteria 162/305
Goleta 675/1641
Guadalupe 0/88
Lompoc 352/516
Santa Barbara 549/4388
Santa Maria 967/3200
Solvang 226/171
Unincorporated Santa Barbara County 1201/1014
Campbell 297/892
Cupertino 702/1170
Gilroy 1133/1615
Los Altos 905/317
Los Altos Hills 185/81
Los Gatos 303/562
Milpitas 3283/2487
Monte Sereno 67/41
Morgan Hill 1574/1312
Mountain View 2706/2599
Palo Alto 1499/2860
San Jose 19916/34721
Santa Clara 3212/5873
Saratoga 387/292
Sunnyvale 3620/4426
Unincorporated Santa Clara County 704/1090
Capitola 152/143
Santa Cruz 638/672
Scotts Valley 46/188
Watsonville 212/923
Unincorporated Santa Cruz County 642/1289
Anderson 228/767
Redding 1379/7538
Shasta Lake 164/742
Unincorporated Shasta County 793/3958
Loyalton 2/21
Unincorporated Sierra County 51/124
Dorris 5/13
Dunsmuir 11/29
Etna 7/12
Fort Jones 5/10
Montague 6/25
Mount Shasta 22/58
Tulelake 2/15
Weed 10/47
Yreka 41/117
Unincorporated Siskiyou County 407/394
Benicia 97/532
Dixon 165/728
Fairfield 1516/3796
Rio Vista 650/1219
Suisun City 205/610
Vacaville 1870/2901
Vallejo 278/3100
Unincorporated Solano County 135/99
Cloverdale 107/417
Cotati 12/257
Healdsburg 196/331
Petaluma 1060/1945
Rohnert Park 26/1554
Santa Rosa 2584/6534
Sebastopol 98/176
Sonoma 152/353
Windsor 261/719
Unincorporated Sonoma County 1278/1364
Ceres 278/1819
Hughson 184/282
Modesto 902/11130
Newman 215/421
Oakdale 552/983
Patterson 90/686
Riverbank 293/894
Turlock 775/3461
Waterford 89/357
Unincorporated Stanislaus County 693/5568
Live Oak 204/625
Yuba City 652/4740
Unincorporated Sutter County 189/313
Corning 113/411
Red Bluff 136/878
Tehama 0/25
Unincorporated Tehama County 489/2206
Trinity County 243/750
Dinuba 916/1087
Exeter 90/781
Farmersville 257/556
Lindsay 389/394
Porterville 966/5474
Tulare 1911/5643
Visalia 3526/13835
Woodlake 690/282
Unincorporated Tulare County 1562/7035
Sonora 17/246
Unincorporated Tuolumne County 514/2581
Camarillo 1125/3340
Fillmore 213/985
Moorpark 889/1617
Ojai 45/433
Oxnard 3498/7093
Port Hueneme 135/180
San Buenaventura 1152/4011
Santa Paula 327/2241
Simi Valley 601/3383
Thousand Oaks 637/1847
Unincorporated Ventura County 680/1404
Davis 450/498
West Sacramento 2107/5347
Winters 111/403
Woodland 1526/1871
Unincorporated Yolo County 281/1403
Marysville 31/137
Wheatland 4/916
Unincorporated Yuba County 2345/6636
    Home construction depends on complex factors, such as the costs to build and mortgage interest rates for prospective homeowners. Researchers contend that local government regulations play a larger role in the housing supply of California's coastal communities than those inland. The data reflect the state's varied housing cycles for different regions of the state. Data from the San Diego region is from 2003-11; Sacramento, Fresno and Kern 2006-13; Los Angeles and greater Southern California 2006-14; Bay Area and the remaining jurisdictions 2007-14.

    Credits: Additional reporting by Ben Poston. Graphics by Joe Fox. Produced by Andrea Roberson.