More dwellings needed to address shortage

When I read editorials or articles about the housing shortage, they almost always sound confusing and confrontational. It doesn’t have to be that way.

Our current housing crisis is a shortage — call it a housing shortage. Solve the housing shortage and you solve the housing crisis. By adding 3,000 new units in Marin, you automatically do two things:

• You welcome newcomers to the community.

• You give options to current members of our community who would prefer a new apartment, so they move. When they move out of the older apartment, someone coming from a less desirable unit often moves in (or up), which opens up an apartment at the lower end of the market.

That movement and welcome to newcomers creates the life our community needs, but more importantly it has a moderating effect on rents. New inventory; more competition for tenants; lower rents.

You need look no farther than Petaluma. Right now, with over 300 new units completed or under construction, rents for the same unit have fallen from six months ago.

Yes, there is also a need for actual affordable units for those who make less than the median household income. But, if we build 3,000 new market rate units we will see rents come down further.

I survey over 17,000 units in the North Bay and it is clear that rents have stabilized and will further stabilize with the addition of new inventory.

We need new apartments for our workers and families. That’s the answer. Ask your city and county leaders what they are doing to break the roadblocks to new construction.

— Scott Gerber, San Rafael

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