Number of homes for sale on the Central Coast down 19% since 2016, says report

Apr 18, 2017

The most recent market report from the Century 21 real estate company says the housing shortage on the Central Coast is at an all-time high. 

According to the report, there’s been a 19 percent drop in homes listed for sale in the past year in San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara Counties. Century 21 CEO Jack Hardy blames strong environmental regulations in California that he says makes it difficult for builders to establish new developments.

He says it takes about five to ten years to go through the permit process to build, longer than other areas in the country. Hardy says regulations like one concerning the protection of the native flower Pismo clarkia, a federally-listed endangered species, can deter builders.

“They make you go spend money to go see if it is on your property. And if it is, you can’t build. So it’s very, very difficult to build housing units. There’s far more buyers than there are sellers. Which in turn, drives prices up,” Hardy told KCBX Monday. 

The market report released by the real estate company says Central Coast homes sold 36 percent faster in March than February.

In a 2016 report entitled "Housing Policy Solutions,'  prepared for San Luis Obispo County Administrative Officer Dan Buckshi and Jim Bergman, the county's director of planning and building, a trio of organizations - the Home Builders Association of the Central Coast, the San Luis Obispo Chamber of Commerce and the Economic Vitality Corporation of San Luis Obispo County - do not list stringent environmental regulations among the reasons for the Central Coast housing stock shortage. But they do count high fees, lengthy entitlement processes that span years and inadequate infrastructure financing as contributing factors.

The HBA, the Chamber and the EVC identify "Compared to other jurisdictions, the county is restrictive in its guidelines and interpretation of how the applicant is allowed to consult with staff during the preparation of the Administrative Draft EIR," the report states. The authors propose that developers "should be allowed to review the administrative draft of the EIR in pursuit of achieving the best possible product (a complete, technically sound and objective EIR) with the least amount of expense and time. "

Correction: In a previous version of this story, an editor added the last two paragraphs to Zender's story and listed Buckshi and Bergman as the authors of the 2016 study "Housing Policy Solutions." However, the report was only prepared for Buckshi and Bergman; it was produced by the Home Builders Association of the Central Coast, the San Luis Obispo Chamber of Commerce and the Economic Vitality Corporation of San Luis Obispo County.