State housing shortage discussed

By on September 9, 2017
Economic conference scheduled

California’s chronic housing shortage was a main topic of conversation Thursday at a luncheon sponsored by the Baldy View chapter of the Building Industry Association of Southern California.

The event was the chapter’s second annual education summit, which is dedicated to discussing how schools in San Bernardino County are impacted by the housing industry, and vice versa.

“One of the first things people look for when they buy a house is what school district it’s in,” Carlos Rodriguez, the chapter’s chief executive officer, told the audience of about 150 at the Chaffey College Chino Community Center. “They want to know about quality of schools.”

But the fact that housing starts in Southern Californian have declined during the past 10 years or so, and that some of that decline happened in San Bernardino County, dominated much of the conversation.

The county, which has some of the most affordable housing in the state, needs to average about 10,200 starts a year, long-term,to keep up with demand, according to a BIA market analysis.

However, San Bernardino County hasn’t hit that mark since 2006, when it issued 13,857 housing permits. At the current pace, it will be short about 65,000 houses by the year 2019.

“The good news is that we had 3,913 housing starts through June, which is more than we had all last year,” Rodriguez said. “We’re on pace to get about 8,000 starts this year. The bad news is that isn’t enough to keep up with demand.”

It’s not enough that cities issue housing permits, they must find developers who want to contribute to the community, Fontana Mayor Acquanetta Warren said.

“You want developers who want to bring retail, or a park, or who help you build a library,” Warren said during panel discussion. “You don’t want someone who just wants to build houses and get out. Fortunately, most of them do want to contribute.”