Why SLO does not have affordable housing

April 23, 2017

Allan Cooper


The regulatory process has universally been blamed for the high cost of housing. This is a myth.

Even if, here in San Luis Obispo, we eliminate all regulatory constraints in the permitting process and new housing can be built more quickly:

1. We will never have affordable housing when our rate of job growth (2 percent per year) exceeds the growth in our housing supply (maximum 1 percent per year).

2. We will never have affordable housing as long as Cal Poly enrollments keep increasing thereby driving up rents and the price of home purchases.

3. We will never have affordable housing because new construction always costs more and more profits are to be made building larger homes. All of this raises the median price of new and existing housing.

4. We will never have affordable housing as long as mortgage rates are ratcheting up.

5. We will never have affordable housing as long as rents are high in SLO and therefore suppressing the growth in, and increasing the demand for, owner-occupied housing.

6. We will never have affordable housing when there remain incentives to own a house as an investment and because of the standard tax deductions, write-offs on property taxes and rental income.

7. We will never have affordable housing if cheap construction labor (undocumented workers) are deported.

8. We will never have affordable housing because the high capital gains taxes assessed on the sale of a house discourages the elderly to downsize. This suppresses the availability of housing.

9. We will never have affordable housing as long as wealthy retirees from the urban centers cash in on their million dollar homes and move to SLO.

10. We will never have affordable housing as long as the SLO Chamber, the SLO Downtown Association and the SLO Promotional Coordinating Committee keep promoting tourism. More visitors to SLO whet the appetite of prospective homeowners and increases the demand.

11. We will never have affordable housing as long as local tax assessments keep rising.

12. We will never have affordable housing as long as San Luis Obispo remains a desirable place to live. Even if SLO no longer remains a desirable place to live – like LA – the cost of housing will remain high – as it has in LA.

13. We will never have affordable housing as long as new transplants employed in the professions and the government sector command such high salaries.

14. We will never have affordable housing as long as down payments on mortgages remain at 20 percent.

15. We will never have affordable housing as long as foreign investors keep purchasing our homes in order to provide a safe haven for their wealth.



That argument about cheap labor is ridiculous on its face: we already have a large illegal labor force, and housing is still expensive!

And my citizen son in law who works in construction says “thank you” for throwing him and other hard working Americans under the bus.

So tired of these America “lasters”.


Here, here! Speaking as a “white” who is doing the work whites are not supposed to do (and surrounded by Hispanics and Filipinos, I also appreciate the generally negative view assigned by those who have delusions of elitist mentalities…

Usually, as it turns out, most of those guilty white America-haters have raped the public for their ill-gotten gains, in one way or another; often enjoying an early retirement they really did not earn, nor ever have to pay much for.


SLO does not have affordable housing because we have limited the supply of homes. Less homes and more people to fill them means a higher cost. SLO county has the room for more housing but there are green zones hindering construction of new homes. If you want to bring down the cost of homes in our county build more homes. It’s not as complicated as Allen would suggest. Supply and demand is one of the easiest economic concepts to grasp.


Don’t worry Allan… socialist California is well on its way to chasing out every tax paying resident. Once “other people’s money” runs out…. you’ll have your affordable housing and everyone who’s left behind will be equally miserable.


#7 is disturbing. I feel like there should be a second list “We will never have a living wage because: the flood of cheap immigrant labor keep wages low”


I agree with CCWine. Just today the wine industry complained that they will have a difficult time finding workers for harvest if the borders are closed. I say to the wine industry to pay a living wage for labor and hire legal workers and stop encroaching into slave owner status.


Thank you, that was the point I was trying to make. We want people to be paid MORE than what undocumented immigrants get. MORE than the minimum wage. This is to just be able to live here on the central coast, which is expensive. Illegal immigration, or the flood of cheap labor, keeps wages very low.


In the 1970s, FHA or HUD had a home purchase program for low income workers. My dad worked in the oilfields and my mom didn’t work. They were able to buy a 3 bedroom home for 28,000 on 1978. My aunt worked a minimum wage job and bought a house in Grover Beach for 26,000 in 1974. It is worth 600k now. I bet there are quite a few old timers who benefited from these kinds of programs. Must be nice!


I have a family member who is early 20s and works as a phlebotomist. Makes $16 an hour. Most rentals require 2.7 times the rent in gross income. Gross income is 2,560 a month. That means my professional family member can only afford $948 a month in rent. Anyone know of a rental for that price in SLO county?

We need people like phlebotomists, X-ray techs, dog groomers, bus drivers,grocery clerks. They need a place to live.

Landlords, would you be ok with 4 people going in on your rental to make do? My neighbor owns 4 properties and wont do it. Just asking.

Here is what needs to happen: we need creative zoning, like for a community of tiny homes or something that will allow low paid working professionals to live here.


Let’s put all of that together and we can easily have affordable housing, just like parts of the decaying cities of Chicago and Detroit. Very affordable homes, some even under $1000 dollars but they are fixer uppers. Upon completion don’t forget the security bars on the windows and doors.

Government is the direct cause of real affordable housing. In order to obtain these types of units large projects need to be assembled. When submitted to the government all they see is $$$$$ for themselves. Consequently as the projects gets processed in slow motion the developer is paying around $200 a day interest on every million dollars invested in a project. At the same time some of these projects will cost the developer in excess of $500k to provide their concepts to the government agency for approval or denial. All of these costs are incorporated into the final cost of an affordable home. Thank you government for charging everyone additional costs to add to your bonuses, retirement packages and fringe benefits.




“7. We will never have affordable housing if cheap construction labor (undocumented workers) are deported.”

sorry but i’d rather have cost rise to support a citizen make a decent wage. want to know why “no one will do the work”? Because ILLEGAL labor keeps wages artificially low. why aren’t the folks on the left screaming about that?


Are we talking about the same undocumented workers that installed all the windows upside down in Paso or messed up the welds on water pipes in the walls so they started leaking (mold) or just nailed in the cracked boards for the roof structure, or didn’t get the concrete mix right for patios? And we can’t have affordable homes built without these unskilled,non union labor people?