About the Initiative
End CEQA lawsuit abuse, cap excessive housing taxes, help construction workers get on the housing ladder.
The California Homeownership Affordability Act
If Californians come together to support this Initiative, we can help restore the California Dream for all of us.
Understanding The California Homeownership Affordability Act
California is suffering from a housing affordability and supply crisis of its own making that is actively harming hardworking families and our environment.
California has the lowest rate of homeownership in the nation, driven by the nation’s highest housing costs, with the current median home price at $750,000. As a result, it also has the highest poverty rate in the nation.
California is the most expensive state to buy a home in, because it’s the most expensive state to build a home in. The combined effects of decades of California’s laws and regulations has made it approximately three times more expensive to build a home in California than the rest of the country, leading to the highest housing costs of any state.
The Homeownership Affordability Act will enact three commonsense changes to lower the time and cost of building and buying a home while safeguarding California’s environment:
End CEQA Lawsuit Abuse:
The California Homeownership Affordability Act reforms the California Environmental Quality Act (also known as CEQA) by limiting those who may file lawsuits that block housing and related infrastructure to local District Attorneys and the State Attorney General.
Unlike almost all of California’s other environmental laws, anyone can sue to block a project under CEQA. Over the years this has resulted in rampant abuse with over 70% of all lawsuits filed under the California Environmental Quality Act intended to prevent or delay the construction of new homes and the infrastructure to support them. In the year 2019 alone, the development of over one million new locally approved and environmentally compliant homes were tied up in CEQA lawsuits which were filed and financed by special interest groups and wealthy individuals. In the year 2020, nearly 48,000 individual housing units were subject to new CEQA litigation, a figure equaling half of all he housing produced by the state in 2020. The California Homeownership Affordability Act puts an end to this.
Abusive CEQA lawsuits benefit special interests and wealthy attorneys while making homes more expensive for the rest of us. They also damage our environment by making it more difficult to build the housing and infrastructure we desperately need to meet the state’s climate goals.
By putting an end to abusive special interest lawsuits that block housing we’ll be able to address one of the most significant drivers of home prices in California and begin to turn the page on the state’s man-made housing crisis.
Cap Excessive Housing Taxes:
The California Homeownership Affordability Act caps fees on new construction as a percentage of the construction costs to bring down the cost of purchasing or even renting a home.
Over the years California agencies have imposed unprecedented levels of fees and other regulatory compliance costs on new housing: California housing fees are also nearly three times the national average. New homes and apartments can be charged hundreds of thousands of dollars in fees, on top of the cost of land, labor, and building materials. These fees and regulatory costs can make housing unaffordable to middle income families even without CEQA lawsuits.
Excessive “impact fees” charged by local governments to build new homes are passed directly on to homebuyers, serving as a de facto housing tax and contributing to the affordability crisis. These fees can make it impossible to build any affordable homes in an area, putting the cost out of reach and contributing to the worsening affordability crisis.
While it’s reasonable to impose taxes to mitigate the impact of new development on local infrastructure, it should never be out-sized in proportion to the total cost of construction.
Help Essential Workers Get on the Ladder:
California’s high cost of living is fueling a desperate shortage of essential workers such as teachers, public safety officers and others, who can’t afford a place to live within a reasonable distance from where they work. This includes highly-skilled carpenters who are critical in the creation of affordable housing.
California needs to build, at a time when builders can least afford to live in the state. To make homeownership more attainable for this critical segment of the population, the California Homeownership Affordability Act allots a small fee ($300 per unit sold and $50 per unit rented) to the California Housing Finance Authority, which administers other down payment assistance funding programs, to assist highly skilled construction workers in purchasing their own homes.
Unless there are sufficient homes that can be purchased by these essential workers, trained workers will migrate to other states where they can buy a home and raise their families. The California Homeownership Affordability Act will help more workers get a foot on the housing ladder to help restore the ‘California Dream’ of homeownership for all.