My name is Tony Capitelli, Government Affairs Director for the Orange County REALTORS, and I’d like to take some time to talk about Orange County’s desperate need for more housing.
For many that have lived in their community for a long time, the thought of higher density can be terrifying. Especially because some of the new development is not particularly ascetically pleasing, and does not take into account important community character qualities such as walkability.
If we do this right, however, and there are plenty of great examples to point to, higher density and new development can actually enhance our community’s character. We have all visited mixed use neighborhoods around the world that are beautiful. We can have that, and many local communities already do, right here in Orange County.
The current realty is scary. The median home price in Orange County is $675,000. You need an income of at least $92,571 to afford this price, which only includes 21% of Orange County’s population. And that number keeps falling.
For a median priced single family home at $795,000 with 5% down, which is pretty typical in this market, you would need to make $168,841 to qualify for a loan.
Most in our younger workforce are making the smart financial decision and moving elsewhere. The result of this is an aging county and grandparents and parents living further away from their children and grandchildren. Homelessness is up 8% in 2017, and our local work force cannot find an affordable place to live.
Over time, the effect of the local economy will be disastrous. It will result in less tax revenue, which results in a crumbling infrastructure and underfunded schools. Not to mention longer commutes and more traffic.
It doesn’t, however, have to be this way. The neighborhood of Orange County’s future may look a little different, but can enhance local quality of life. So let’s work with local policy makers to improve our communities.