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Santa Barbara Housing Shortage Impacting Local Businesses

By HOM Editorial Team
September 2015

Recent Santa Barbara REALTORS® research cites new housing shortage concerns

The lack of available housing in the Santa Barbara area is having an impact on local businesses. The Santa Barbara Association of REALTORS, through its involvement in the Coastal Housing Coalition, has helped produced a new study detailing the developing problem.

Based on thousands of interviews with local employees, the study shows that 70% of area employees can’t afford to purchase a suitable home that is less than a 25-minute commute (one-way) to their place of employment. In addition, about a third of employees are priced out of the area’s rental market.

The study warns that the local economy will become increasingly dependent on the talents and skills of employees who cannot afford to own a home in the area. In fact, 44% of employees surveyed indicated that they’ve considered leaving the area entirely to live and work in a region where housing is more affordable.

The National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) recently released new research that makes it clear the issue of home affordability is an ongoing issue for both homeowners and local employers. NAR research demonstrates that cities across California continue to face housing shortages and unhealthy price growth due to low levels of new home construction, slow housing turnover and the diminishing supply of distressed properties.

The California housing shortage that is affecting prospective homeowners and businesses has the potential to impact the overall well being of Santa Barbara as well. The NAR study indicates that when housing shortages create an increase in workers’ commuting time, an increase in traffic congestion, wear-and-tear on infrastructure, and environmental side effects often follow.

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