Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Economic contribution of housing

In the state, the business of building homes is a major boon to the economy, creating jobs to pay the bills and economic activity that helps keep California in the black. New home building is a true cornerstone of the state's economy.
Giving new home developers an opportunity to toot their horn as well as some lobbying leverage to pry loose cumbersome building restrictions, the Sacramento Regional Research Institute's (SRRI) new report, "Economic Benefits of Housing in California" says the Golden State's home building industry could pull even more economic weight.
SRRI, which spotlights the intimate details of California's regional and statewide economies, says the new home construction industry alone:
· Contributes nearly $68 billion to the California economy, about 3 percent. A little over one half of the sector's economic output, about $37 billion, is directly the result of new housing construction. The balance, some $31 billion is generated by those sectors which supply goods and services to the residential construction industry as well as the consumption activities of the employees of the construction industry and its supplier sectors. Include the impact of still more related industries -- remodeling, repair, brokerage, property management, financing, etc. -- and the economic output jumps to $273 billion or 11 percent of the total output.
That's more than any one of other sectors, including computer and electronics technology manufacturing ($131.6 billion); professional, scientific and technical services ($197 billion); and wholesale and retail trade ($238 billion).
· Is directly responsible for nearly a half million jobs a year. Again, when related activities are considered the industry supports twice as many jobs, 960,000.
"In all of the state's major economic regions, new housing construction is a sizable and stable economic contributor with total output benefits measuring in the billions and job creation in the tens of thousands for 10 of California's 26 major regions," the report says.
What's more, "The Riverside-San Bernardino; Los Angeles-Long Beach-Santa Ana; and Sacramento-Arden Arcade-Roseville economic regions have seen the greatest economic benefits from new housing construction, based on 2005 new housing unit construction data."
Unfortunately that data represents a housing shortfall of as many as 20,000 homes a year since the late 1990s, based on demand projections calculated by a California Department of Housing and Community Development analysis in the latest report this February "California's Deepening Housing Crisis".
Not only does the shortfall get a large share of the blame for the high-cost of housing in California, especially in large metropolitan areas, it also represents missed economic opportunity. The report says every dollar spent on new housing construction in California generates another $0.80 in total economic activity. Each job created through residential construction supports an additional 1.2 jobs.
While new housing construction is clearly a leading economic force in the state, its potential economic contributions are much greater. An annual production level closer to the statewide need would significantly increase the economic benefits of new housing construction in California.
"Practice is the best of all instructors."
- Publilius Syrus


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