Supporting Affordable Housing Projects and Addressing the Housing Crisis

Affordable Housing in Santa Barbara

Like many other cities across the nation, the Santa Barbara region is deeply impacted by a housing affordability crisis. Cost of housing impacts both renters and those seeking to purchase a home.

Home ownership is out of reach for most Santa Barbara residents. Estimated median income for the Santa Barbara region is $107,300. Therefore, housing costs for this household should not exceed $2,682 per month. Depending upon size of down payment, a home around $500,000 would be an affordable price. According to County Recorder data, the median home sales price for 2022 was $1.5 million. As a result of the cost of entry into home ownership, many residents end up renting. Approximately 60% of the City of Santa Barbara’s residents are renters.

Rents are unaffordable for most working households. The median rents as of April 2022 for a 2-bedroom apartment in the City of Santa Barbara was $3,475. This means renters are cost-burdened or end up crowding together in housing to afford to live in the area. 

While Santa Barbara is a desirable place to live, the generally understood cause of this is an undersupply of housing to meet local housing needs. Most housing in the city was built prior to the 1970s. This is a result of anti-housing land use policies. For example, the City of Santa Barbara downzoned many areas, which means a reduction in the amount of housing that could be built on a given property. Despite the downzoning, the City’s population continued to grow. This increase in housing demand drove up housing costs. 

More recently, the state and the City have adopted policies like the Average Unit Size Density (AUD) Incentive Program and State Bill 9 that support housing development by eliminating regulatory and procedural barriers. As a result of local level policy changes the City is experiencing a sharp uptick in the amount of multifamily housing unseen since the downzoning efforts of the 1970s.

Support Housing Projects

There are often negative comments made by neighbors on housing projects, and they can drown out the majority of people who wish to be able to afford to live in the area. We provide that positive voice in public comments, saying yes, we want these projects!