Factors Affecting Development Decisions and Construction Delay of Housing in Transit-Accessible and Jobs-Rich Areas in California

Research Team: Nicholas J. Marantz (lead), Jae Hong Kim, Doug Houston, Narae Lee, Moira O’Neill, Eric Biber, and Giulia Gualco-Nelson

UC Campus(es): UC Irvine

Problem Statement: Recent state legislation has attempted to address California’s housing affordability crisis by encouraging new development in transit-accessible and/or jobs-rich areas. But policy makers have limited information about (1) the effects of laws and plans on developers’ decisions regarding whether and where to build housing; and (2) factors contributing to delays in receiving development entitlements and building approval in target areas. Moreover, development and entitlement processes vary substantially by jurisdiction and local context.Local preferences about new housing are mediated through land-use law, which governs what is legally permissible to build (through zoning district designations) and what is required in the approval process for new developments (e.g., number of hearings). Such land-use laws can affect residential development, as delays in construction can be costly and lot and building size requirements in zoning regulations can affect the feasibility of development. Although it is widely recognized that regulatory requirements can affect housing development, there is little evidence concerning the relationship between specific requirements and housing outcomes. In addition, California has adopted numerous laws in recent years intended to increase housing production in ways that will put housing in places that are accessible to jobs, but the evidence concerning the impacts of these laws on housing development remains largely anecdotal.

Project Description: This project investigates the factors that affect development approval decisions by using the Comprehensive Assessment of Land-Use Entitlements (CALES) dataset —a unique dataset of all residential projects of five units or more that received development entitlements from 2014 through 2017 in selected California jurisdictions. The CALES dataset includes data on over 1,000 projects, with over 100 variables for each project. Using descriptive statistics and multivariate modeling, the researchers examined the factors associated with multifamily development approval delays for six cities in Southern California: Inglewood, Long Beach, Los Angeles, Pasadena, Redondo Beach, and Santa Monica.

Status: Completed

Budget: $79,991

Policy Brief(s):