Housing ties homelessness as top issue facing California, new poll shows

Inside California Politics

SACRAMENTO (INSIDE CALIFORNIA POLITICS) — Housing costs continue to be a top concern to California residents, even after the brief respite when rent prices dropped during the prime of the pandemic.

The exclusive Inside California Politics / Emerson College poll of more than 1,000 registered voters, which has a margin of error of +/-2.9%, asked respondents to choose what is the number one issue facing the state today, and housing costs tied with homelessness at 19%.

As of June 2021, the statewide median home price was $819,630 – up 30.9% from June 2020, according to the California Association of Realtors. Even then, more than half of California homes sell above listing price, the association added.

The over-asking sales are happening most noticeably in the Bay Area city of Berkeley.

The housing costs issue began well before Governor Gavin Newsom took office, however. “Between 1970 and 1980, California home prices went from 30 percent above U.S. levels to more than 80 percent higher,” according to a report published by the California Legislative Analyst’s Office in 2015.

But this year, Newsom has proposed some housing solutions to direct a portion of the state budget toward.

The proposal, among other items, includes $300 million in funding to maintain the state’s affordable housing stock, $280 million for the Bringing Families Home program, plus additional funding to finance affordable housing projects.

Along with the budget proposal to potentially ease housing costs, the California Legislature just passed the country’s first state-funded guaranteed income plan which provides monthly cash payments to young adults who recently left foster care and pregnant people.

The $500 to $1,000 payments do not come with specific spending restrictions, but will likely aid the beneficiaries in making rent or mortgage payments.

The U.S. housing market has grown so overheated as demand outpaces supply that prices keep hitting record highs — and roughly half of all houses are now selling above their list price. Two years ago, before the pandemic struck, just a quarter of homes were selling above the sellers’ asking price, according to data from the real estate brokerage Redfin.

The Inside California Politics/Emerson College poll was conducted July 19-20, 2021. The sample consisted of California registered voters, n=1,085, with a Credibility Interval (CI) similar to a poll’s margin of error (MOE) of +/- 2.9 percentage points.

Nexstar Media has stations In San Francisco (KRON4), Sacramento (Fox40), Fresno (KSEE/KGPE), Bakersfield (KGET), Los Angeles (KTLA), and San Diego (Fox5).

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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