Policymakers and Constituents Disagree on Causes of, Solutions to High Housing Costs

According to a new poll from U.S.C Dornsife and the L.A. Times, California policy-makers and their constituents don’t agree on how to address rapidly rising prices. While both gubernatorial candidates running in this November’s general election have expressed a commitment to increasing the supply of housing by setting ambitious housing production goals, only 13 percent of the poll’s respondents identified “too little homebuilding” as the primary driver of unaffordability. Additionally, some of the solutions considered by the state legislature — including a failed bid to relax local zoning restrictions — do not match the public’s perception that municipalities should retain local control. Instead, respondents identified a lack of rent control (28 percent) and lack of funding for low-income housing (24 percent) as the top two causes of high housing costs. Any attempt to tackle housing affordability will need considerable public buy-in, which will require either a shift in public opinion or a change in strategy by policymakers.

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