On Thursday, the California State Legislature [official website] passed [vote record] SB 2 [text], an affordable housing bill. The bill enacts a $75 fee “to be paid at the time of the recording of every real estate instrument, paper, or notice required or permitted by law to be recorded, per each single transaction per single parcel of real property, not to exceed $225.” The funds recovered by the fee will be used for affordable housing. The fee will not be imposed on “any recording made in connection with a sale of real property.” Funds collected in 2018 will be evenly divided between local governments and the Department of Housing and Community Development. Local governments will use the funds to streamline housing production, and the Department will use the funds to assist those who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless. Twenty percent of funds collected after 2018 will be used for affordable owner-occupied workforce housing, while the remaining funds will be sent to local governments.
California has been experiencing a housing crisis for many years. The median cost of a house is $500,000, making housing unaffordable [NYT report] for many. It has resulted in many having very long commutes in order to get to work. Homelessness in the state has also increased significantly in recent years, with Sacramento County seeing an increase of 30% [Sacramento Bee Report] of homelessness between 2015 and 2017. They have also been reports of many living in vans with makeshift kitchens or in recreational vehicles. SB 3 and SB 35 [Text] were also passed on Thursday to combat unaffordable housing. SB 3 provides $4 billion on bond funding for low-income home building and home loans for veterans. SB 35 is meant to help streamline the approval process for affordable housing.