Priced Out: Can High-Density Housing Solve the Affordability Crisis? 

August 27, 2015

Can a city built on the single-family home as a sign of success and achievement accept density? Only 30 percent of households earning the state's median income — $61,000 a year — can now afford to buy a home. The disparity is greater in major cities. Fewer than 20 percent of median-income households can buy in San Francisco, where the median home price is $980,000. More and more, Californians find themselves trapped amid high prices, a shortage of inventory, rising populations around job centers, and opposition to new development. In California's major metro areas, a growing, mostly young workforce is priced out of the housing market and forced to dedicate greater portions of income to rent or face long commutes from less-expensive communities. Aversion to density and lack of new residential development creates a market without adequate growth where demand outstrips housing supply and will for the foreseeable future. What can state and community leaders do to overcome the aversion to high-density development and increase access to affordable housing while keeping neighborhoods whole?

Ed DeMarco, Milken Institute senior fellow in residence, shared policy perspectives on density and affordable housing with community leaders at a forum co-hosted by the Institute and KPCC-Southern California Public Radio.


Dana Cuff, Professor of Architecture/Urban Design and Urban Planning at the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs
Ed DeMarco, Senior Fellow in Residence at the Milken Institute Center for Financial Markets
Larry Gross, Executive Director of the Coalition for Economic Survival
William K. Huang, Director of Housing for the City of Pasadena 
Jeff Schaffer, Vice President and Southern California market leader, Enterprise Community Partners
Josie Huang, KPCC reporter covering housing (moderator)