Survey: Public Not Sold on New Supply as a Solution to the Housing Crisis

The public and the "urbanism cognoscenti" do not see eye to eye when it comes to housing policy. A new survey makes the disconnect in opinions on matters of supply, regulations, and affordable housing very clear.

2 minute read

October 23, 2018, 9:00 AM PDT

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell

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Sheila Fitzgerald / Shutterstock

Liam Dillon shares the results of a survey conducted by USC Dornsife and the Los Angeles Times that reveals how complicated public opinion can get on matters of housing policy.

In fact, public opinion does not at all correspond to the consensus academic researchers, state analysts and California’s gubernatorial candidates, according to Dillon's explanation of the survey's findings:

A USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times survey found that just 13% of eligible California voters believe that too little home building is a primary contributor to the state’s affordability issues. The answer ranked sixth among eight options offered in the poll, when first and second responses were combined. (Poll results reflect the percentage of people who chose a particular reason as their first or second option.) Lack of rent control topped the list with 28%.

Following lack of rent control was lack of funding for affordable housing. While political candidates, social media-savvy urbanists, and a growing YIMBY movement, among others, blame restrictive zoning for high housing costs, very little of the public agrees: only 9 percent of respondents pointed to finger at zoning regulations as the culprit in the state's housing crisis. The public also exhibited a strong preference for maintaining local control over allowing the state greater powers to preempt local regulations.

The article includes a lot more detail about the survey results and how they reflect on the big planning, land use, and housing policy actions and failures of recent years.

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