New Report Shows Rental Housing Costs Rising Faster Than Income

New Report Shows Rental Housing Costs Rising Faster Than Income title=
New Report Shows Rental Housing Costs Rising Faster Than Income
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Activists protesting the no-cause evictions at the Ventura City Council Meeting in December (Photo: CAUSE)

By edhat staff

A local advocacy group released a report on the housing crisis and found the cost of renting is rising faster than income in Santa Barbara and Ventura counties.

The Central Coast Alliance United for a Sustainable Economy (CAUSE) surveyed 590 renters in both counties with an emphasis on working-class and immigrant neighborhoods where people are dealing with the most severe impacts of the housing crisis. Renters make up 51% of the population in Santa Barbara County overall and nearly 60% in the City of Santa Barbara.

Of those surveyed, 43% had experienced a drastic rent increase, 15% had been evicted, and 39% had experienced unsafe or unhealthy living conditions in the past five years.

The report states that between 2014 and 2019, rents increased by 27% and wages only increased by 8%.  "This crisis is particularly acute in the Central Coast, which has not benefited from the growth of high-wage jobs in California's major urban areas, but has still experienced the ballooning price of land along the California coast. Working families in our low-wage industries like agriculture and hospitality are unable to afford million-dollar home prices at poverty wages," the report reads.

In 2017, 55% of renters in both Ventura and Santa Barbara Counties were considered rent-burdened, meaning they pay more than 30% of their incomes in rent.

Based on the survey, many families have had to move out of their neighborhoods, take on additional jobs, or cut down on expenses such as food and healthcare to cover the cost of rising rent.

"When families face this imbalance and are foregoing basic necessities, rent eats before them," said Rob Fredericks, Executive Director of the Santa Barbara Housing Authority.

The report also covers the local homelessness issue and states there are far more vacant housing units in our region than the number of people without homes. In 2017, the US Census estimated over 26,000 empty units, approximately ten times the number of people in the 2017 homeless counts for Ventura and Santa Barbara Counties.

Those surveyed stated lower and more stable rent as well as responsiveness from property managers to make repairs would improve their lives as renters. The report suggests a "Mandatory Lease Law" that requires landlords to offer tenants the option of a long-term lease as well as a "Rental Mediation Program" and the right to legal counsel. 

Rent stabilization is also suggested as the strongest type of tenant protection as new state law limits rent increase to 5% per year plus the annual rate of inflation, which is typically around 2-3%.

Specifically for local governments, the report urges leaders to make investments with a housing bond or donating land, offer no-cost options by streamlining permitting and approval for affordable housing projects, and work on alternative housing models such as community land trusts and limited equity cooperatives.

The full report can be viewed here.

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letmego Dec 16, 2019 10:24 AM
New Report Shows Rental Housing Costs Rising Faster Than Income

tech industry is here, but no worries - we won't be the Bay Area. Tech industry has been here for decades and we cannot compete with them on salaries, and never will be able to. I've seen it quite a bit in the last decade or so - one one side, the inability to get people to move here (cost of living high, salaries not). On the other side, there are several tech companies in town who have relied on a steady supply of new grads from UCSB, coupled with older experienced workers who bought their homes in 1990s to early 2000s. Guess who is retiring soon? Yup, those older workers. Good luck getting replacements.

pstarSR Dec 14, 2019 09:19 AM
New Report Shows Rental Housing Costs Rising Faster Than Income

All the energy put into posts to say " its just how it is, get over it" yet no constructive comments to discuss ways of stemming this issue? I have worked my ass off since I was 12, yes 12. I worked with a special work permit, I have worked since then. I still dont own a home, The banking collapse, the home mortgage fiasco. all things I personally did not get involved with luckily. All those issues influenced our job market, and income levels. it is still affecting us. Income levels are still stagnant and have been for years, there is no "make more money" here, there is no "get another job" the jobs dont have the money to spend. So some of you are lucky, and bravo to you for getting in early, or getting a foot in the door somehow. but honestly the constant "judging" and shaming of people that cant seem to make ends meet its sickening. this is what community says? this is what community feels like? toxic community more like it.

letmego Dec 16, 2019 10:27 AM
New Report Shows Rental Housing Costs Rising Faster Than Income

SANTABARBARAOBSERVER - there's not infinite money, capability, possibilities, to earn more. Not by a long shot. Some can, many cannot, for a multitude of reasons, including health, age, mental health, intelligence, or whatever. You are trying far too hard to simplify a complicated issue. (That's not to say that everyone should be able to live here. Not everyone can. I learned that in my 20s living in the DC area. Cannot afford DC, move further out!)

forrestmv18 Dec 15, 2019 08:21 AM
New Report Shows Rental Housing Costs Rising Faster Than Income

A nationwide issue? Seriously? There is affordable housing in this state and across the U.S. The majority of housing in the U.S. is cheap. With interest rates at or below 4% and our amazing economy our only crisis is how easy it is for everyone to buy a house. Yes, even in California as long as you are not in three key coastal areas. Further, if you removed the massive number of resource draining illegal aliens from California wages would shoot up in all of the trades; simple supply and demand.

pstarSR Dec 14, 2019 09:06 AM
New Report Shows Rental Housing Costs Rising Faster Than Income

Thats not the point of this, and thats such a cope out dodging response. so you are ok with raising cost of living to the moon, but yet not personal income? I bet you change your tune when you run out of money. So many people here think they are high above the rest, you're not. get off the high horse and realize this is a NATIONWIDE issue also, this isnt people complaining for a handout. I will for one continue to berate people that say this, today, tomorrow, and the day after. You are an asshole to say peoples plight and struggle is "just how it is". its not.

VinSB Dec 14, 2019 08:28 AM
New Report Shows Rental Housing Costs Rising Faster Than Income

A semester of economics is something that is now required in high school, thank goodness! Unfortunately, those who missed out on this opportunity imagine basic economic concepts as forces caused by greed and evil (visualize the caveman's discovery of fire). For those who are unclear on the concepts of supply, demand, market value and market rate, I urge you to research the basic concepts of macro and micro economics (better yet, take classes). We all have Google!

aragorn Dec 14, 2019 08:27 AM
New Report Shows Rental Housing Costs Rising Faster Than Income

I know a Latina woman who has a business over on Milpas (Eastside) and she told me that this year for her has been very bad. She told me that last year was just a little better for her. I remember back in the 80's, 90's and early 2000 her business did very well with the Latino community. Lucky for her she owns the building, but even still, no business still makes very difficult for her. I saw this coming back in 2016. Now the Latino families who reside at 219 E. Haley St. will have to move out because the owner(s) of the property already have the approval to build a massive AUD complex, and AUD's start off well over for $1,000 per month for a studio, 1 bedrooms over in the $2,000 range, 2 bedrooms well over $2,500 and 3 bedrooms over $3,000. Some home rentals and 2 or 3 apt. units are over $4,000 per month. Working, middle class, and our first responders just cannot afford to reside here in SB.

OAITW Dec 14, 2019 08:10 AM
New Report Shows Rental Housing Costs Rising Faster Than Income

1. THERE IS NO HOUSING CRISIS! (Yes I’m shouting, sorry.)
2. The birth rate in California is below replacement. (Google it, it’s true.)
3. With an effective vacancy rate of 0%, by definition, every dwelling in Santa Barbara is affordable to those living there.
4. When our elected officials use the term ‘Affordable Housing’, they are speaking in code. What they mean is that in every community in California there should be an equal distribution of income levels living there. This is a ridiculous and ultimately destructive concept. (See 5.)
5. Each one of us is competing with the other 8 billion people for resources including housing (Now more than ever because of the internet). We may not like it, but that’s like saying you don’t like the tides or the sun coming up. It’s just the way it is.
6. Santa Barbara is a desirable place to live. Many of those 8 billion people would like to live here. There is effectively infinite demand for housing in Santa Barbara. High demand creates high prices as those people compete for available housing. (Econ101).
7. In a market with infinite demand, increasing supply (Building more housing) has absolutely no effect on pricing. I’ve lived here for 45 years and have yet to see increasing housing supply lowering prices.
8. Our elected officials are bought and paid for by the real estate and development industry.
9. Most of the government intervention in the the housing market has the opposite effect of the stated purpose. When the government mandates affordable units be built, a lucky few win the lottery for under market prices, but by removing those units from the open market you lower supply and increase prices. When the state interferes with local zoning ordinances and mandates ADUs (Accessory Dwelling Units) in all zones, the market now prices in the potential income from the ADU. The more services we provide for the homeless, the more homeless we have.
10. The one sure way to lower housing prices in Santa Barbara is to make it less desirable and our elected officials are doing all they can to make that happen.

a-1576338501 Dec 14, 2019 07:48 AM
New Report Shows Rental Housing Costs Rising Faster Than Income

This has been the case for a LONG time. Santa Barbara is a special place, in fact it is the best place to live in the entire United States and maybe the world. Get over it, it is expensive. Work hard, start a business, save money, buy a home because it will NOT get cheaper. Legislation or subsidization is NOT the answer!!

seahorse Dec 14, 2019 07:18 AM
New Report Shows Rental Housing Costs Rising Faster Than Income

The first graphic is perplexing. San Francisco, with the highest housing costs in the state, has the lowest rent burden rate. Riverside & San Bernardino are higher than Santa Barbara. Clearly the problem is more affected by income than housing cost. Santa Barbara has a huge service industry to cater to the tourist industry while Riverside and San Bernardino have become low wage warehouse economies. Maybe we need to increase the take home pay of our low paid workers before we start regulating housing costs.

a-1576300445 Dec 13, 2019 09:14 PM
New Report Shows Rental Housing Costs Rising Faster Than Income

I wonder what percentage of the rent increases are due to landlords being greedy, and how many are simply due to the extremely high cost the landlords have to cover for their own expenses—mortgage, insurance, taxes, maintenance. If someone bought a rental property many years ago, they should be able to keep the rent low. But if they bought it recently, it will have cost them a bundle and they will have to charge ridiculous rents just to cover their costs. Real estate in this area is crazy expensive. Not all landlords are making major bucks off their properties.

letmego Dec 16, 2019 01:44 PM
New Report Shows Rental Housing Costs Rising Faster Than Income

I'm sure there are plenty of landlords who are just scraping by. Look, the housing boom and bust in 2004-2007 was a big one. There were plenty of houses and condos purchased for big bucks back then. After that, with the bust, a fair number of people lost their jobs, and had to leave town. Then they are stuck with a house/condo worth less than they paid for it. I remember seeing rentals advertised on the internet with comments on how atrociously high the rent was. Thing is, you could easily look at Zillow, look up the purchase date and price, and estimate the property taxes and mortgage payments. In almost every case, those terribly high rents were basically breaking even. Even today, with the market MOSTLY recovered, you can see houses go on the market being listed for exactly what they sold for in 2006. Thirteen years later, same value. For many landlords, they were just stuck being a landlord. For others, they hold on to the property for the simple reason that they aren't making more land. If you can swing keeping it, it may be worth more income than social security some day.

a-1576341808 Dec 14, 2019 08:43 AM
New Report Shows Rental Housing Costs Rising Faster Than Income

If "not all landlords are making major bucks off their properties" why invest in housing? Good tax shelter and hedge on inflation. Landlords profit handsomely or they wouldn't buy up to 1/3 of residential properties. Often middle class families lose the opportunity to buy homes when they can't compete with all cash offers from wealthy landlords.

yin yang Dec 13, 2019 09:31 PM
New Report Shows Rental Housing Costs Rising Faster Than Income

Thank you for pointing that out, a point I glossed over. Our building was bought decades ago, thus the low rents. But I do believe, with some experience, that greed also plays a part. It was only 4 units, but I wish we could've kept the building.

a-1576298670 Dec 13, 2019 08:44 PM
New Report Shows Rental Housing Costs Rising Faster Than Income

In 2009 I rented a very small 1bedroom Apt in SB for $900 a month. Over the next 4 years, it rose to $1250, then at the 5th year, it was going to rise to $1650...... for the same very small 1 bedroom Apt. I jumped ship and moved to Ventura and got a Luxury 1 bedroom Apt with several more amenities, a assigned carport and the inside was/is gorgeous, the grounds certainly showed a picture perfect landscape.... all for $1450 a month...... I'll NEVER move back to, or recommend Santa Barbara to anyone....

JB86 Dec 13, 2019 07:23 PM
New Report Shows Rental Housing Costs Rising Faster Than Income

This has been the case at least since the 1970's. The hard fact is that supply and demand dictate that not everyone who wants to live on the South Coast will be able to afford it. Government can tinker around the edges but never take care of everyone who aspires to live here.

a-1576295903 Dec 13, 2019 07:58 PM
New Report Shows Rental Housing Costs Rising Faster Than Income

Just a few years ago 2009 to 2012, during the "great recession" caused by failed monetary and regulatory policy by the federal government and malfeasance by the mortgage/credit/ banking industry, local housing prices dipped considerably due to massive foreclosures, from over 1 million average home price to the low $ 500,000's. Condos dipped to $350,000, vacancies and employment also dipped, lowering rents. Financial policy by the fed (borrowing and spending above income) have resulted in unsustainable inflation and prices and rents have since soared. None of this is necessary or beneficial to the poor and middle class. All the policies help one group, the rich, who have received huge tax decreases while taxes on the 99% have increased. proportionately. The rich used their financial windfall to buy up much of the formerly middle class housing and turn it into tax sheltered income.

a-1576293373 Dec 13, 2019 07:16 PM
New Report Shows Rental Housing Costs Rising Faster Than Income

We are experiencing a repeat of the 'roaring" 1920's when the rich were buying up mansions, homeless camps were called "Hoovervilles" after Republican president Hoover, the middle class were squeezed in between with wages that didn't compete with the buying power of the elites who run the country, owned all the newspapers, and controlled the government. (Sound familiar?) Don't know if we're headed for recession, but with the rate the U.S. is borrowing, who knows? How can homes average 1 million in this area, with average wages not even close to paying for mortgages or rent. Unsustainable fiscal management by government at all levels.

Lina24 Dec 14, 2019 10:19 AM
New Report Shows Rental Housing Costs Rising Faster Than Income

Yin Yan, and 7:16 p.m. , 7:58 pm Commenters, Well said - you hit the nail on the head. We're not heading for a recession though - we're heading for a full on Depression. Unfortunately the only affordable places left in this country for average wage earners (twice minimum wage!), have no jobs!!

Lina24 Dec 14, 2019 10:19 AM
New Report Shows Rental Housing Costs Rising Faster Than Income

Yin Yan, and 7:16 p.m. , 7:58 pm Commenters, Well said - you hit the nail on the head. We're not heading for a recession though - we're heading for a full on Depression. Unfortunately the only affordable places left in this country for average wage earners (twice minimum wage!), have no jobs!!

yin yang Dec 13, 2019 09:00 PM
New Report Shows Rental Housing Costs Rising Faster Than Income

Exactly what I was going to say. It's news because the situation in the state and in the nation has gotten even worse. I've been a renter, and I've been an owner. We made good money when our rents were below SB market rate! Had to sell due to changes after deaths in family. I know we screwed our last tenants -- everyone moved out when building changed hands. I also know we housed many over several decades, including Section 8. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- Any and all who want to rail against low income people here; want to tell them to leave: You're wrong. And who is going to run most of the businesses you patronize? Every restaurant, dry cleaner, gas station, grocery store, mini-mart? Who is going to do your gardening, clean your house, clear your brush, empty your hospital bedpan, clean your wood-burning chimney, install your solar panels, drive the street cleaner, deliver your mail, and, a BIG ONE, care for you in your old age?

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