Gavin Newsom Promised To Build 3.5 Million Homes By 2025. He’s Not Even Close

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Will Kessler Contributor
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Democratic California Gov. Gavin Newsom is far from completing his promise of increasing the number of housing units by 3.5 million in the state by 2025.

Newsom promised in October 2017 amid his campaign for governor that he would help spur the construction and completion of 3.5 million new housing units by the start of 2025, according to a post the then-lieutenant governor made on Medium. The governor took office in January 2019, when the state had around 14,235,201 housing units, and after five years at the helm, the number of units has increased to 14,824,626 as of the beginning of 2024, totaling just 589,626, according to data from the state’s Department of Finance. (RELATED: Office Loan Defaults At Highest Point In More Than A Decade)

“I realize building 3.5 million new housing units is an audacious goal — but it’s achievable,” Newsom said in the 2017 Medium post. “There is no silver bullet to solve this crisis. We need to attack the problem on multiple fronts by generating more funding for affordable housing, implementing regulatory reform and creating new financial incentives for local jurisdictions that produce housing while penalizing those that fall short.”

Around 116,000 housing units were added in 2023, slightly less than the 124,546 that were added in 2022, but around the same as the number added in 2021, according to the Department of Finance. California’s population declined by more than 520,000 from the start of 2019 to 2024.

“Let’s consider the facts: the median home value in California is $469,300, and a lot higher in coastal areas,” Newsom said in the Medium post. “Homeownership rates have dropped dramatically. Nearly half of renters spend a huge proportion of their income — more than 35% — on housing costs and still often live in unsafe and unsanitary conditions. Yet since 2005 California has only produced 308 housing units for every 1000 new residents. Add in the fact that California will be home to 50 million people by 2050, and it’s obvious we’re not on pace to meet that demand.”

The median home sale price in March 2024 in California was $816,800, according to Redfin. In 2023, California renters, on average, spent 28.47% of their income on rent, with an average annual income of $76,614, according to KTLA5.

Newsom has taken steps to boost housing supply during his time in office despite so far lagging behind his stated goal, including billions for construction and loosening restrictions requiring only single-family homes on certain lots. The governor also signed legislation in 2019 limiting the amount landlords can raise rent to 5% per year in addition to inflation until Jan. 1, 2030, according to The Associated Press.

Newsom’s original plan to boost the number of housing units called for increasing funding for statewide housing bonds, more tax credits for affordable housing and expanding statewide the use of financing districts to facilitate public cash at both the state and local level for development, according to the Medium post.

The homelessness population continues to be the largest out of any state, totaling 181,399 in 2023, up from 118,552 ten years earlier. The state has poured nearly $24 billion into addressing homelessness and housing services over the past five fiscal years.

The number of issued housing permits dropped by 42% in California in 2023 year-over-year, compared to a national drop of just 11.7%. The state has the second-highest average rent in the country.

Huge outflows of people have also led to a $24 billion decline in tax revenue and a $73 billion budget deficit in fiscal year 2024, requiring that the state’s government come up with a plan to balance the budget. High taxes, regulations and poor governance have also led to economic turmoil in California, marked by the highest unemployment in the country, a lack of private sector job growth and an explosion of retail theft in some cities.

Housing affordability across the country has been particularly hard hit by elevated inflation, which was most recently measured at 3.5% in March, far higher than the Federal Reserve’s 2% target. The average interest rate for a 30-year mortgage has increased dramatically in accordance with hikes in the federal funds rate, which was set higher to combat inflation.

The California governor’s office did not immediately respond to a request to comment from the Daily Caller News Foundation.

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