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Where is the Affordable Housing In San Diego?

While San Diego rents and home prices are starting to come down, Zillow said the region is still the fifth least affordable in the nation. It’s also the seventh least affordable for renting compared to an average income. Homes for rent San Diego are very high compared to the rest of the nation.


That’s bringing things to a boiling point for many middle-income workers, who lack housing options.

“Many feel like they may not ever be able to afford a home for sale in San Diego in the communities where they work,” said California Teachers Association Director Kisha Borden.


Middle Income Workers Forced to Leave San Diego

Middle Income Workers Forced to Leave San Diego


Moderate-income workers make up a significant portion of the population statewide, and they're having trouble affording to live where they work.


Rents are too high, and this is what's leading to people leaving the state; number two: Homeownership is inaccessible.


Zoning is part of the issue. 70% of urban land in California is zoned for single-family housing, which makes the cost of living pricey.


Smaller floor plans and denser construction in multi-family housing are what make renting and buying more affordable, because they lower land costs per unit.


Solution to High House Rentals in San Diego


While new construction can take a while, middle-income housing doesn't all have to be new buildings.

“We could essentially take market rate multi-family housing projects and convert them to middle-income projects,” said Sean Rawson, co-founder of Waterford Property Company. - Check out this company, they are doing great things locally!


 Waterford Property Company

His organization converts existing properties through a combination of bonds and property tax exemptions. Rawson said those exemptions have caused some controversy in the state over lost revenue for cities, but the program works.


Waterford has such a project underway with hundreds of units in Escondido.

“We've lowered rents 18% across the board from where they were,” Rawson said. “What that translates into, is that we now have about $800 monthly savings to our tenants.”


The city of San Diego hasn’t yet explored that program, but they have been offering incentives to build middle-income housing.


Still, very few developers are taking advantage of the opportunity. In 2021 the city only built 19 middle-income units. Building more middle income units can help reduce the cost of rentals in San Diego Zillow.


“While we have produced thousands of low-income units, and we've produced tens of thousands of luxury units, we've really provided just a couple dozen middle-income units,” San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria said. “That's the main challenge for people who are looking at this housing market and really trying to decide whether not to stay or to go.”



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