California has a housing shortage problem that is talked about quite a bit, but very few solutions that make fiscal sense are offered. Housing prices are rising beyond affordability for the middle class in most markets, and certainly for first-time buyers in almost all markets due to the law of supply and demand. We simply don’t have enough housing. There will be two propositions on this November’s ballot that will deal with housing, Propositions 5 and 10.
Prop. 10 will support rent control statewide, which is the absolute worst answer for the housing crisis. Rent control as a solution for more housing is like the middle-age practice of bleeding someone to bring them back to health. Rent control simply removes the incentive for developers to build more housing and multifamily units. Prop. 10 is a disaster in waiting.
However, Prop. 5 offers a measure of relief for Californians 55 and older or severely disabled to move to a more affordable location in the dtate by transferring their tax assessments from their current home to a new residence. In essence, Proposition 5 eliminates the “moving penalty” of increased property taxes by letting senior homeowners take their property tax rate with them when they move.
The inability to afford the increased property taxes of a new home keeps many California seniors living in homes that do not fit their needs or lifestyle as they transition into retirement, where fixed and reduced incomes become a concern.
By extending Proposition 13 tax protections for Californians 55 or older, we will begin to ease our housing crisis by making more homes available and lowering prices. Giving seniors the opportunity to buy new homes will increase the inventory of mid-level and move-up housing available to younger families and professionals, and in the longer term housing prices will begin to come down as the available inventory catches up with the current demand.
Prop. 5 isn’t the end-all-be-all solution to housing in the Golden State, but Proposition 5 is a market-driven solution that will increase inventory and lower housing costs. Prop. 5 is step in the right direction and deserves a “Yes” vote on Nov. 6th .
Rob Poythress is a Madera County supervisor now campaigning for a state Senate seat in November’s election.