Is LA Overbuilding
Los Angeles has a shortage of housing, in a supply and demand model if you have less of a product than the price is increased. There is more of a need for housing than there is an availability. The question then becomes what do you build, where do you build, and for whom do you build?
What do you build?
Downtown has become a mecca for new development. Fifteen years ago, there were more parking lots than people and with the substantial number of Angelinos working in the central area when the city passed the provisions allowing mixed-use, people especially the younger generation, flocked to DTLA.
Where do you build?
I’ve been in neighborhood meetings where communities will claim developers are greedy but then ask where is the affordable housing then say they don’t want anything that big. Development brings more people to areas, it causes traffic, congestion, and in the short term it is a headache. Not to comfort the NIMBYs (not in my back yard) are the local roads and municipalities built for big for infrastructure? No, especially in the suburbs. But if we keep pushing away development, where will our kids live?
For Whom do We build?
In the early 2000’s, my friends said that Los Angeles was too expensive to buy so they moved further out to areas like Rancho Cucamonga and the Inland Empire. I applaud the plan of the highspeed train and METRO to have more transportation methods to bridge some of these outlying areas. Land in Los Angeles is not cheap, neither is the cost of materials, permits and planning or labor. When you create affordable housing, someone needs to pay for it in government subsidies or by charging higher prices to pay for lower priced units.
One of the reasons I began to learn about real estate and started my own brokerage, was so that I could understand the market and be an active participant. I did not want to leave Los Angeles but I had to venture out and gain an advantage. I discovered LA is a diverse city with a ton of dynamic neighborhoods. People are always going to want to move here because of the weather, lifestyle and opportunity. Are we overbuilding, that is a question we can ask once we have built to satisfy demand but it is a discussion each locality should have now. Is the dream of home ownership over? No but we must think differently because times have changed and we are not entitled to living in Los Angeles.
By Dane Flanigan
Dane Flanigan is a business consultant who helps companies build strategies to grow sales.