There is no doubt that California is experiencing a housing crisis, especially when it comes to affordable housing options. No matter if you live on a Belvedere waterfront property or Kentfield or Ross Estate, we all can agree that the price of properties has skyrocketed in California and the state needs more “affordable housing” for all.
In an effort to address these concerns, Governor Newsom recently signed SB 8, 9, and 10 which will lead to more than 84,000 new housing units and $1.75 billion in affordable housing funding, as well as creating a streamlined process and additional tools for those building multi-unit housing.
What is SB 8?
SB 8 extends through 2030 all the provisions of the Housing Crisis Act of 2019. The original Act was scheduled to expire in 2025. Provisions in this Act prevent the government from downzoning (reducing the permitted density of housing), limit fee increases on housing applications, and accelerate the approval processes for housing projects.
What is SB 9?
SB 9 is a bill that allows property owners to have two units on a parcel that has been zoned for a single-family home. Essentially, it allows for creating a duplex on land that was previously reserved only for a single-family home. In addition, SB 9 would also require that a property owner who chooses to split his land into two parcels would need to live in one of the housing units for at least three years with exceptions for areas that are in earthquake zones, are historic districts, or are in “very high” fire zones (unless these developments follow California mitigation rules.)
Other restrictions to SB 9 include the plot being at least 1,200 square feet in size and one parcel not being less than 40% of the total original lot size. As opposed to Senate Bill 1120, SB 9 also includes a provision that discourages investors from evicting current tenants, as it excludes any property where a tenant has resided for at least three years.
What is SB 10?
SB 10, which is less controversial than SB 9, allows cities to zone parcels for up to 10 residential units, as long as it’s located in what is known as a “transit-rich area.” This is defined as one that is located on a fixed-route bus line or within a half-mile of a central transit stop. SB 10 essentially allows developers to bypass the California Environmental Quality Act and begin construction on new developments more quickly. The number of units that can be built on a lot is four, including accessory dwelling units.
624 Ridge Road Tiburon
What are the pros of SB 8, 9, and 10?
As with most government Acts, there are proponents and opponents of SB 8, 9, and 10. Here are some of the benefits of the Acts that proponents are touting:
◾ They would give certain property owners easier access to finances to help them build additional units.
◾ SB 9 could create more than 714,000 new homes—most in the form of duplexes—that otherwise would not be able to be built.
◾ The Acts would at least partially address the rising housing prices by increasing the supply of affordable units throughout the state.
◾ The legislation makes multifamily housing—which was previously illegal in two-thirds of the state—legal and will help more families pursue the dream of homeownership.
What are the cons of SB 8, 9, and 10?
Those who are not supportive of these Acts have the following concerns:
◾ Many property owners would not be financially able to rent or sell a home that was developed under SB 9.
◾ SB 9 would enable development on only 410,000 of the state’s single-family parcels, which accounts for just 5.4% of these types of parcels in California. In addition, it appears that development under SB 9 is only financially feasible for 110,000 of the eligible 410,000 parcels.
◾ The development that will likely occur as a result of these Acts will address only a fraction of the overall need for affordable housing in the state.
◾ Some state that SB 9 infringes on local decision-making by the city and that SB 9 favors wealthy investors as opposed to local residents.
◾ Those who oppose the Acts are concerned that passing them without also making plans for the increased demand for transportation, parking, and utilities will set the communities up for eventual failure.
They also understand that government action is sometimes needed to address housing concerns and make California more affordable for all those who want to live the American dream. Though the new legislation will not directly affect those with luxury homes, it could help ease the overall housing crisis, curtail skyrocketing home prices, and make the state an overall better place to live for everyone.
Working with an experienced Bay area real estate agent who is aware of current and ongoing housing legislation and who can help you choose the right area and type of home that’s right for your needs is an essential part of the process.
Whether you plan to buy Sausalito, Mill Valley, Larkspur, Corte Madera, Belvedere, Tiburon, Ross, Kentfield, San Anselmo, and San Rafael, working with the right agent is the best decision you can make to ensure you achieve your goals. Ready to get started? Reach out to Lydia Sarkissian, Magda Sarkissian, and Bill Bullock. The Sarkissian Bullock Team at Golden Gate Sotheby’s International Realty provides expert local guidance.
*Header: 624 Ridge Road Tiburon