Cost of Building Affordable Housing in Major Cities Driven by Multiple Factors—But Not by Proximity to Transit

California taxpayers have supported more than a billion dollars of bonds to support affordable infill housing in neighborhoods with access to rail transit. The cost of constructing subsidized affordable housing in California has significantly increased over the past several years, leading the Legislative Analyst’s Office to conclude that the state’s affordable housing construction programs alone cannot solve the state’s housing crisis.

There has been limited analysis of the interactions between policies that prioritize affordable housing development in transit- and jobs-rich neighborhoods and the cost of affordable housing in general. To better understand this interaction, this project studied the key drivers of affordable housing production costs across four regional metropolitan areas in California: Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC), Sacramento Area Council of Governments (SACOG), San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG), and Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG). This brief summarizes the findings of that study.