On April 19th, 2023, the California Senate Housing Committee passed Senate Bill 834, a proposed law authored by Senator Anthony J. Portantino of Burbank, California. The bill aims to create a financing program that will make homeownership more accessible for low and middle-income families in California.
Senator Portantino noted that many younger Californians, particularly those burdened with student loans, have been priced out of the housing market. Additionally, low to middle-income renters need help to afford conventional down payments, further exacerbating California's housing crisis. Senate Bill 834, however, seeks to address this issue by providing down payment assistance to prospective homeowners.
The housing crisis in California has been a growing concern for many years. One in five California households spends half or more of their income on housing. The median cost of a home in California is over $750,000, more than two times the national average. Furthermore, California ranks 49th in the nation for homeownership, with a rate of 54 percent. The average California home now costs more than seven times the median income for 25-to-34-year-olds, compared to a cost of only three times the median income for this demographic in 1970.
Senate Bill 834 aims to enact the California Family Home Construction and Homeownership Bond Act of 2023. The bill will enable the California Housing Finance Agency to award loans to eligible applicants as a down payment or to pay closing costs on purchasing a new home. By providing financial assistance to those who otherwise could not afford to buy a home, the bill hopes to increase the number of homeowners in California and alleviate the current housing crisis.
The eligibility requirements for applicants seeking loans from the program have yet to be finalized. However, Senator Portantino stated that the program is geared toward low-income and middle-income families without a home.
The passing of Senate Bill 834 in the Senate Housing Committee marks a significant step towards making homeownership more attainable for Californians. The bill's implementation would not only benefit families seeking to buy a home but also have a positive impact on the state's economy. In addition, increased homeownership can lead to more stable neighborhoods, higher property values, and a greater sense of community.
Senate Bill 834 provides a much-needed solution to California's ongoing housing crisis. While much work is still to be done, the proposed program is a promising step towards a more accessible and affordable housing market for all Californians.