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Carlsbad Low-Income Housing Sites

Give input on locations for future housing

The city is seeking input on where new housing units could be built in Carlsbad to satisfy a state requirement that cities accommodate their fair share of the region’s housing needs, including homes for people of all income levels and stages of life.

Eighteen proposed locations were chosen based on public input gathered last year, input from a citizens advisory committee and direction from the City Council.

Over the next eight years, Carlsbad was assigned 3,900 new housing units.

The city can meet some of this number through existing locations and approved projects, but the city still needs to identify locations for about 2,600 new homes. Most of those need to be affordable for people with moderate to low incomes, according to state formulas for household income levels.

Review sites on an online map.

The city is seeking input on proposed sites that would need to be rezoned, either to allow housing where it’s not allowed today or increase the number of units allowed on sites already zoned for housing. Owners and people living within 600 feet of all the potentially affected properties have been notified by mail of the potential rezoning.

The city would not build housing on these sites. Instead, the city’s obligation is to identify space for housing and create policies that would facilitate new housing to be built based on different income levels and stages of life.

All feedback gathered will be presented to the City Council in early 2022.

https://www.carlsbadca.gov/Home/Components/News/News/588/15

 

Carlsbad Low-Income Housing

Let’s also mention Carlsbad’s efforts to meet state requirements for low-income housing:

https://thecoastnews.com/carlsbad-city-council-approves-70-affordable-housing-units/

CARLSBAD — Affordable housing is a challenge for many cities as the housing crisis rages statewide.

But the Carlsbad City Council chipped away at its state-mandated affordable housing requirements by approving 70 units for very-low to low-income households during its Aug. 31 meeting.

Additionally, the council approved a $3.1 million loan as requested by Bridge Housing, which partnered with Summerhill Apartment Communities, to develop the Aviara Apartments.

The loan will allow Bridge Housing to cement its application for state and federal tax credits to help fund its affordable portion of the 329-unit project on Aviara Parkway just south of Palomar Airport Road, according to Mandy Mills, Carlsbad’s director of housing and homeless services.

The Aviara East Apartments, where the 70 units will reside east of Aviara Parkway and north of Laurel Tree Road, make up the bulk of the affordable units for the project

In total, 81 units, or 25% of the total project, will be affordable units, Mills added.

The cost for the entire project, which rests on lots east and west of Aviara Parkway, is estimated at $30.9 million, Mills said.

“The project started the process in 2017 (with design and environmental reviews) before the Planning Commission approved it in December 2020,” Mills said. “Bridge will submit tax credit and bond allocation requests next month … and construction is expected to start in summer 2022.”

Rent will run between $600 and $1,700 depending on area median income (AMI) of each resident. Mills said seven units each are allocated for 30% and 50% of AMI and 55 residences for 60%.

Summerhill will manage the market-rate units, while Bridge Housing will operate the affordable units, she explained.

Jeff Williams, of Bridge Housing, said his company has two other developments the company manages in Carlsbad.

Bridge Housing owns the 334-unit Villa Loma project and 92 units at Poinsettia Station Apartments.

Bridge Housing intends to secure tax-exempt bonds and tax credit equity to finance the majority of the project’s cost to improve its competitiveness for bond and tax credit financing, according to the staff report.

Per the estimates, state and federal tax credits would account for $15.3 million along with a permanent loan of $7 million for the bulk of the funding.

The $3.1 million, though, will come from the Housing Trust Fund, which has a current balance of $13.6 million.

“Our mission is to provide housing, services and opportunities for residents of all income levels,” Williams said. “We do that by building on our record.”

The average cost per unit, though, is about $442,000, while city staff cited a Terner Center Report of the cost-per-unit for affordable units in the state is at $480,000, an increase of nearly $70,000 since 2008.

Another benefit of the 81 units is pushing the city closer toward its required affordable housing allotment under the Regional Housing Needs Assessment.

The RHNA numbers set by the county is 3,873 units for Carlsbad and more than 2,000 must meet very low to low-income residences.

This RHNA cycle runs from 2021 through 2029.

https://thecoastnews.com/carlsbad-city-council-approves-70-affordable-housing-units/

JC Is Lord Apartments

The developer paid $4,900,000 cash for this site in 2020, so he must have had some assurance from the Encinitas City Council/Planning Commission that he could build his 72-unit apartment house here.

It appears that expanding La Costa Avenue to four lanes will be required – though there aren’t plans or money to do so – yet the Encinitas City Council approved the development:

https://thecoastnews.com/encinitas-council-approves-new-plans-for-vulcan-avenue-project/

An excerpt:

The site of the project is 1967 N. Vulcan Avenue in the northernmost part of Leucadia near La Costa Avenue. The intersection of Vulcan and La Costa is a major concern to residents who oppose the development.

Wermers said the updated project plans now include changes to Vulcan Avenue that are meant to make the area safer for pedestrians and bicyclists.

“When we do this it also promotes vehicle safety,” Wermers said.

Wermers also made a commitment to pay his company’s fair share in whatever changes the city decides to make at the Vulcan and La Costa intersection.

“Whatever you guys decide, we want to pay our fair share,” Wermers added.

There was more support for the newly redesigned project, some pointing to the need for low-income housing in the area and the project will boast 12 units designated as low-income.

“We need more roofs over our heads. This housing project is the perfect one to bookend Vulcan Avenue and Leucadia,” resident Kevin Daniels said. “I can’t express this enough, this project is a perfect fit.”

https://thecoastnews.com/encinitas-council-approves-new-plans-for-vulcan-avenue-project/

San Diego’s Housing Crisis

We are in the midst of a real housing crisis.

The rapidly-increasing home prices are exacerbating the problem too – especially for existing homeowners who had hoped to move up. If you paid $500,000 for your house and now it’s worth $1,000,000, you need to spend $1,500,000 on the upgrade just to make it worth it. But the gap isn’t between $1.0 and $1.5, it’s the whopping million dollars between the previously-comfortable $500,000 and the new price of $1,500,000. Even if you are over 55 and can take your old property taxes with you, the new mortgage amount will be double the previous amount AND last for another 30 years. It’s why more and more of the current homeowners are staying put, which is limiting the inventory now, and in the future.

It’s why I said on the TV show that the current market insanity is likely to continue.

With a finite number of homes and 1,700 new millionaires being created every day in America (we are now up to 18,000,000 millionaires!), the affluent have commandeered the local market.  Apparently, they don’t mind paying these prices, and will throw in another $100,000 or so to win the home, if needed.

We hear regular calls for government to ease up on zoning requirements, but more action is needed because we are out of land.  Bill Davidson, the most prolific home builder in the history of San Diego County, talked about the shortage back in 2012:

On the TV show, I suggested redeveloping the MCAS Miramar or getting the City of Carlsbad to free up some of the dedicated open space to create larger opportunities for builders, because we need thousands of more homes, not dozens, to balance the market and slow down the pricing.

But those ideas have no chance of happening.

It would take a monumental shift in priorities for our society to consider those. If the government were to propose redevelopment on a grand scale, it would take dozens of years to come to fruition. The Kearny Mesa project is a good example, but it will only add 26,000 homes over the next 30 years which probably won’t be enough to slow down pricing – and no single-family residences are planned there.

Any other new projects will face intense opposition.

The NAVWAR site off the I-5 freeway would seem like an ideal redevelopment project, and it could provide housing right where it’s needed. But the opposition is fierce – consider this attorney’s opinion:

https://timesofsandiego.com/opinion/2021/08/07/massive-redevelopment-of-navy-property-threatens-san-diegos-future/

Unless we have a game-changing shift in our community’s mindset about redeveloping the infill sites, the hordes of affluent people will dominate the home-buying – and keep pricing at these levels or higher.

Oh but wait Jim, how about those boomers – half of which haven’t retired yet?  Will the boomers who are still working be more likely to need the dough, AND be young enough to endure a move out-of-state?

Maybe, but their kids and grandkids will be lined up to inherit the house, and with that being the only feasible way for them to stay in San Diego, the boomers will find a way to age-in-place instead.

Buyer-Agents Being Crushed

Home buyers deserve to have their own representation.

The broker cooperation system which allows every agent to share their inventory with all other buyers via the MLS has worked well for 100+ years.  But it has been under attack for years, and it may not survive the tight-inventory era where sellers and listing agents want to minimize or eliminate buyer-agents altogether.

An agent sent this in today:

Do you know that Lennar is no longer paying agents a commission or referral fee?

I have been working with a client for almost a year. She wouldn’t have known about the Lennar at Treviso community without me bringing her there. I registered her as my client and when her name got called on the list, they told her they’re no longer cooperating with agents and if she tried to include me she’d lose the house. Thank you Lennar for putting my client is a horrible position. Hey builders. Don’t ostracize the brokerage community! The market may be busy now but when the tides turn, you’re going to need us again. This is bad business.

I know for a fact that Lennar isn’t paying commissions on any of their SD communities currently.

I agree that it’s bad business to have an agent sign in their buyer as required to receive the commission, but then rescind their offer of compensation when the buyer steps up to purchase.  But nobody cares about buyer-agents, and the abuse will continue. Lower or no commission being offered, no clarity on how multiple offers get handled (other than the usual “I just let the sellers decide”, which is a lie), and no easy path to show and sell.

What is the result of buyer-agents being snuffed out?

Here you go:

https://www.cnbc.com/2021/05/17/64percent-of-millennials-have-regrets-about-buying-their-current-home.html

Buyers don’t recognize the need for getting good help.

An apprentice from a realtor team will suck them in with the promise of getting them an ‘off-market deal’, but then get sold a 1,200sf two-story house in a gang-infested area for 10% to 20% over value (true story).

We should probably just drop the seller-paid commissions – though they should have the right to offer a bounty – and have buyers pay their own agents. Those who value good help will seek out the best agents, and those who don’t will get what they get and wind up with regrets.

 

San Diego Has Been Undervalued

For months the talking heads have cited the ultra-low rates, the shortage of new homes being built, stock market, millennials, covid, etc. as reasons why the real estate market has exploded.

Let’s add a few no-so-obvious reasons.

Did we fully recover from the last downturn? We know that because Bernanke and the banks unilaterally changed the rules to rescue the MBS investors, we never hit the true bottom.  The short-sales muddied the water further because there were so many that were never exposed to the open market and sold instead at artificially-low prices by unscrupulous realtors.  In 2010-2014, we saw it here on the blog where many commenters expected the downturn to last for at least a few more years, and even the Frenzy of 2013 didn’t convince everyone we were out of the woods. Low (but not ultra-low) rates made it interesting, but there wasn’t enough confidence for buyers to flood the streets desperating seeking a home to buy – though in hindsight, they probably wish they did.

The lower-end inventory has been decimated by rental conversions and aging-in-place. Because the rents have exploded, any of those homeowners who didn’t have to sell their existing home had to consider hoarding their prized possession that was probably the best investment they ever made and turn it into a rental instead. The high costs of senior care is causing many if not most to age-in-place, and besides, one of the kids or grandkids can take over and assume the low tax basis. While pricing is flying on the lower-end today, it’s a recent occurrence that the appreciation has been 2% to 3% per month. If there had been more listings in recent years, we would have had prices rising faster, sooner. In the chart above, the rest of the categories look fairly uniform – it’s the lower-end that has changed drastically and having the most impact on the frenzy upstream.

The builders never got the memo about open bidding. Still to this day, it is first-come, first serve.  Pardee is down to their last 20-30 houses ever in Carmel Valley, they were taken over by Tri-Pointe, and they have nothing left to lose. You know there has to be 50-100 people waiting on their buyers’ list yet they only release 2-4 homes per phase. Toll Brothers sold two of their models for $4,000,000+, yet Pardee is keeping their production homes attractive priced in the mid-$2,000,000s. If they just opened up the bidding at each release to ALL the buyers on the list, they would pick up an extra $500,000 easily – just because if you are number 50+ on the list, you’re not going to get another chance. But they don’t do it, which is keeping a lid on pricing.  Because most everyone is buying their forever home, there won’t be enough turnover in the next few years to generate the momentum needed to find the real top-dollar value.

There are three examples of what has been undercutting the trajectory of home pricing.

When we have BOTH sales and pricing on the rise exponentially like we do now, it demonstrates what is possible when you take off the inhibitors. We are probably running a little hot today – can we be so undervalued that this frenzy could keep going for months or years?

Perhaps – especially if there are new market factors we haven’t considered before!

Builder Insights

Rick is the Director of Research at JBREC and a great guy:


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