Fresno-area homebuilders, their trade partners, and Assemblyman Jim Patterson stood on dirt lots in a new Clovis home development on Friday to publicly oppose a proposed law that could raise home prices in the central San Joaquin Valley.
Assembly Bill 199, authored by Assemblyman Kansen Chu, D-San Jose, and the California Building and Construction Trades Council, a labor group, would require workers to be paid prevailing wage rate on new, private residential housing projects. Proponents argue the law would ensure that construction workers earn a decent wage.
If the bill passes, it could increase the cost of a house, depending on size, by 40 percent or up to $60,000, Patterson said, with at least 200 building employees, construction workers and Realtors and trades people from more than a dozen businesses standing behind him in a Lennar Homes development.
Report after report continues to rank California as the toughest state for homebuyers, Patterson said. For millennials and low- to middle-income families, it is a struggle to make the jump to homeownership at all, he said.
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We believe that this bill, if passed at its current condition, would make housing substantially less affordable, especially for those who need it the most.
Darius Assemi, Granville Homes
Mike Prandini, president and chief executive officer of the Building Industry Association of Fresno and Madera Counties, called the proposed law a “killer bill” that will devastate the local homebuilding industry and make it almost impossible to build homes under $400,000 widening the housing affordability gap for central San Joaquin Valley families.
“This needs to be put on a shelf and never brought back to life,” Prandini said.
At Granville Homes, “we believe that this bill, if passed at its current condition, would make housing substantially less affordable, especially for those who need it the most and are at most risk of not being able to afford a home,” said president Darius Assemi.
The state legislature needs to defeat this bill so “we can move forward in an alternative effort to really solve the supply of housing in the state and meet demand,” said Dennis Gaab, the Central Valley division vice president of entitlements and government affairs for Benchmark Communities.
That means, for example, making housing more affordable, creating incentives for developers to create market-rate housing, and improving the speed of the approval process with local government, which could control the cost and enhance the supply of homes, Gaab said.
“The market in the San Joaquin Valley is certainly stronger today than in 2008 before the Great Recession…we are by no means out of the woods,” Gaab said.
“We’ve got a lot of catching up to do. This sort of legislation defeats that effort.”