Home shortage pushes up housing prices

SAN DIEGO — The median price of a home in San Diego County rose by 8.2 percent in May, compared with the same month a year earlier, while the number of homes sold jumped by 2.6 percent, a real estate information service announced Wednesday.

According to CoreLogic, the median price of a San Diego County home was $530,000 last month, up from $490,000 in May 2016. A total of 4,138 homes were sold in the county, up from 4,033 during the same month the previous year.

A total of 23,478 new and resale houses and condos changed hands in Los Angeles, Riverside, San Diego, Ventura, San Bernardino and Orange counties last month, according to CoreLogic. That was up 15.8 percent from 20,278 in April and up 5.2 percent from 22,327 in May 2016.

The median price of a Southern California home was $492,000 in May, up 1.4 percent from $485,000 in April and up 7.1 percent from $459,500 in May 2016.

“Healthy demand continues to meet a relatively low inventory of homes for sale, helping to nudge prices higher,” said Andrew LePage, research analyst with CoreLogic. “Last month’s Southern California median sale price rose to within three percentage points of its all-time high, but in inflation- adjusted terms, it remains 15 percent below the peak reached a decade ago — a peak made possible by a lot of very risky home loans.”

Mayor Faulconer, council members unveil plan to increase housing supply

San Diego officials Wednesday unveiled a dozen proposals designed to ease the high-cost city’s lack of affordable housing.

The goals of the “Housing SD” plan are to spur the construction of low- income and middle-class housing through incentives, streamline development standards and speed up the review process, direct funding toward affordable housing and encourage growth in transit-friendly areas.

The latter point would support the city’s plan to address climate change, according to the mayor’s office.

“The state’s housing shortage and the unaffordable housing market it spawned has left the dream of homeownership out of reach for the majority of San Diegans,” said Mayor Kevin Faulconer, who made the announcement at an affordable housing complex in Logan Heights.

“The only way to change that is to build more housing that people can actually afford,” the mayor said. “Hardworking folks who love San Diego and want to live in San Diego should not be priced out of San Diego.”

Last month, the California Association of Realtors reported that just 28 percent of San Diego households could afford to purchase a median-priced home in the area.

“The housing affordability crisis is the top issue facing our city that is literally forcing the next generation of San Diegans to move outside the region,” said Councilman Scott Sherman, who chairs a committee that deals with land-use issues.

The dozen proposals include:

— creating incentives for developers to construct housing projects that provide units that can be sold or rented to entry-level or middle-income households;

— updating regulations to allow builders to gain higher densities for their projects;

— streamlining the review process for public and private development projects that are consistent with densities established by existing zoning, community plan or general plan policies for which an environmental impact report was certified;

— reforming a develop impact fee system that discriminates against affordable units;

— updating the city’s 60-year-old parks master plan; and

— establishing a $20 million financing fund to encourage development near transit hubs.

Another provision, which would ease regulations on construction of auxiliary units or “granny flats,” was recently given a nod by a City Council committee.

“Housing costs spiraling out of control impacts everyone, and everything we aspire to accomplish as a city,” said Councilman Chris Ward. “These proposals are an important jumping off point to ensure we provide all the housing opportunities San Diegans need to succeed and thrive here.”

Ward represents downtown, Hillcrest and North Park, areas where housing is expensive and the problem of homelessness has continued to grow.