‘This could be a game-changer’: Real estate expert dissects new state housing laws

Local

SAN DIEGO — Two housing laws passed by Gov. Gavin Newsom Thursday could help ease the affordable housing crisis in California, but some are saying that it will change the character of local neighborhoods.

One of the measures would allow more housing units on single-family lots.

“This could be a game-changer, but I think it’s going to be a little bit longer down the road,” local real estate expert Ken Kaplan said.

Senate Bill 9, introduced by Sen. Toni Atkins (D-San Diego), would allow up to four housing units on a single family lot. It would also allow splitting single-family lots, so they could be sold separately.

“It could absolutely increase the amount of units that are for sale at least in San Diego and it could make it more affordable down the road,” Kaplan said.

The White House came out in support of Atkins’ bill on Sept. 1, saying efforts to change zoning regulations to allow more housing “are consistent with the administration’s stance on the need for zoning reform.”

Senate Bill 10, introduced by Sen. Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco), will allow local governments to approve multi-family buildings with up to 10 market-rate units, along with potentially four “granny flats,” on lots zoned only for single-family homes.

However, opponents worry the moves will change the character of neighborhoods and increase gentrification.

“There is this, ‘Hey that’s fine, but not in the area that I bought’ kind of mentality, which you have to take everybody’s perspective into consideration,” Kaplan said. “If somebody purchased a single-family home and expected that kind of privacy and that amount of density in that area, because they wanted to be away from people. They didn’t want to have huge homes in the area that were larger than this.”

Kaplan added many questions remain, including how the permitting process will work, how big the units will be allowed to be on a single lot and whether units will be popping up anytime soon.

“I think the question is how long will it take to go through that process before those units, hypothetically, are on the market,” he said.

Meanwhile, the median price for a single family home in California is more than $800,000.

City News Service contributed to this report.

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