California has a homeownership crisis

When the California legislature reconvenes in a few weeks, it will have dozens of new members thanks to term limits and new legislative districts drawn after the 2020 census.

There’s no shortage of critical issues for the Legislature and newly elected Governor Gavin Newsom to address, but none ranks higher than a chronic housing shortage. This shortage not only causes severe overcrowding, particularly in urban areas, but also rents, which are the main contributors to California’s highest poverty and homelessness rates nationwide.

Much of the policy debate about housing has focused on the lack of affordable rental housing for low- and middle-income families, and with good reason. The construction of more homes is the focal point in the ongoing conflict between the state and local authorities.

But there is another dimension to the housing problem in California — the increasing inability of families, even those with six-figure incomes, to buy homes and build generational wealth.