There is a housing crisis in Marin. Is it a simple supply and demand problem? In large part it is undeniably driven by the clash, on the demand side, of robust job growth, against, on the supply side, Marin’s anemic housing development. MEHC has spoken often about how Marin’s land use policies have contributed to this problem, but for now, let’s just look at the numbers.
Since 2010, Marin’s economy has added 17,000 NEW jobs, a 15% increase. Over the same period, our housing stock grew by just 700 units, less than one percent (0.627%, to be exact). We were already way behind in the housing/jobs balance in 2010; this is much worse now.
One result considering the supply-and-demand scenario: the cost of housing is out of control. From 2010 to 2016, the median sales price for a home rose from $700,000 to over $1 million, a 35% increase, and the average monthly rent went from under $1700 to over $2,600, almost a 60% jump.
Here’s what the housing crisis has led to —
- Over 27,000 low income households (income less than 60% of the area median) spend more than 30% of their budget on housing. When low income households pay more than 30%, of course they have to cut back on essentials — transportation, food, health care or the kids’ clothing.
- Many families pay half their income to live in overcrowded homes.
- “Help Wanted” signs now common throughout Marin.
- Longer waits for needed home repairs, and for other construction and landscaping projects — because the folks who do this work for us don’t live here.
- 68,000 workers commuting from other counties to jobs in Marin.
- School closures on stormy days because teachers cannot get to the classroom — and the cascading effects of parents scrambling for child care or missing work themselves.
- Traffic nightmares related to the increase in the number of Marin workers who have to drive here from other counties, demonstrably affecting our ability to get around Marin easily.
The best solutions to the housing crisis are already vetted in local Housing Elements. All we need is the political will. We don’t have any numbers on that.