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Report · March 2004

In Short Supply? Cycles and Trends in California Housing

Hans Johnson, Michael Dardia, and Rosa M. Moller

This report studies California’s housing shortage during the 1990s, finding that the production of new housing units lagged that of previous business cycles and did not keep pace with demand. It also finds, however, that the actual housing shortfall was much smaller than previous estimates, especially when key demographic and macroeconomic factors are taken into account. Moreover, almost the entire housing shortfall was confined to the Bay Area, San Diego, and coastal Los Angeles (including Los Angeles and Orange Counties). Because the state’s regional housing markets vary significantly, the authors suggest that any policies designed to address housing shortages should focus on challenges in specific regions.