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The Dirt on SB9 and SB10

Posted by John Hathorn on July 30, 2021
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California’s severe shortage of housing is driving a couple of Senate bills that have neighborhood associations on edge. Proponents for the bill SB9 believe the housing shortage problem stems from it being illegal to build more middle-income housing in 70% of the state. They believe SB9 is the key to fixing this as SB9 makes two important changes to state law:

  • It allows homeowners in most areas around the state to divide their property into two lots, thereby increasing opportunities for homeownership in their neighborhood.
  • It allows two homes to be built on each of those lots, with the effect of legalizing fourplexes in areas that previously only allowed one home.

This means SB9 will allow 4 units to be built on a single-family lot with only 1 parking space per unit and 4 foot setbacks.

SB10 allows a 10-unit apartment building on single-family lots in transit-rich areas. Some say that these bills may open the floodgates to a host of problems that will make the housing crisis worse.

Opponents of SB9 and SB10 claim that the bills do not mandate affordable housing and studies show upzoning single-family parcels does not provide affordable housing. A study by Yonah Freemark, a doctoral student in urban planning at MIT, evaluated the impact of upzoning near transit stops in Chicago neighborhoods. Freemark analyzed building permit data in upzoned areas between 2010 and 2018, before, during, and after the upzonings took place and came to a conclusion: Upzoning lead to higher property prices at the local level in the short term, however, no additional new housing construction occurred.

SB9 and SB10 may seem, to some, to be an invitation to developers in to moderate- and lower-income neighborhoods, where development properties are often less expensive to buy. Neighbors fear that developers will buy older properties on the cheap, then build pricey, market-rate apartments, luring in affluent residents which then could drive up rents and gentrify once-affordable communities.  Long-time, less affluent residents could be priced of the neighborhood, unable to pay the rising costs. (There is no rent control on single family homes).

There are concerns about parking and infrastructure repairs (current water and gas lines were made for single-family lots would have to carry the burden of multi-family usage leading to more and more infrastructure damage over time). About one-fifth of Los Angeles water pipes were installed before 1931 and nearly all (including sewage lines) will reach the end of their projected durability in the next 10 years. Original Santa Monica property owners have sewer pipes (unless they have been replaced) that are well beyond their life expectancy. My Pence Hathorn Silver team sells more Santa Monica real estate than any other and know this problem first-hand. Almost every sale we broker has sewer pipe issues ranging from small to extensive.

Are you for or are you against SB9 and SB10?

In 90402 real estate news…


There have been 11 new listings since my last update.

1334 San Vicente BlvdListed for $3,850,000 by my partner Loraine Silver. This is a livable, single level home on an elevated corner lot. This 3 bedroom house has quite a bit of privacy and a nicely updated kitchen and new baths.

558 15th StreetListed for $7,888,000 by my partner Charles Pence. Brand-new Craftsman style home with elevator on a corner lot. We don’t see many new construction homes done in this style, so it is pretty unique. About 6,200 sqft on three levels.

333 16th Street– Listed at $3,450,000. Little 1800 sqft lot value on a 50 foot wide lot.

225 22nd Street– Listed at $7,295,000. Traditional 3-story home built in 2013. Over 6700 sqft with nice finishes and a classic floorplan. Last sold in 2014 for $5.7M.

2012 La Mesa Drive– Re-Listed at $11,995,000 after falling out of escrow. Previously listed at $12,995,000 and looking for new Buyers.

423 Palisades Avenue– Listed at $4,495,000. West of 7th, this 8,700 sqft lot has a pool and a nearly 3,000 sqft house ready for remodeling or building new.

553 12th Street– Listed at $4,995,000. Beautiful renovated Spanish home. Nearly 4,500 sqft with lots of charm and character. Last sold in 2009 for $2,725,000.

711 21st Place– Listed at $7,495,000. Built in 1990 this French Manor lives large with over 6,000 sqft on three levels. Lot is 50 foot wide and has a pool. Last sold in 2018 for $6,365,000.

728 12th Street– Listed at $5,687,500. This Spanish Revival has been on and off the market a few times this year. Originally listed at $5,995,000. Nicely renovated plus it has a killer guest house and parking for 8!

521 20th Street– Listed at $5,698,000. Bright and airy contemporary home. Over 5,300 sqft built in 1995 on a 60 foot wide lot with pool.

229 22nd Street– Listed at $5,300,000. Built in 2003, Classic floorplan with 4,200 sqft on two levels. Last sold at the beginning of 2019 for $4,334,000.


Four properties went into escrow-

458 19th StreetListed at $9,495,000 by Pence Hathorn Silver.

258 21st Place– Listed at $4,995,000.

441 Marguerita Avenue– Listed at $5,488,000.

1130 Georgina Avenue– Listed at $10,950,000.


10 properties have sold-

239 20th StreetI sold this property for $5,300,000. We listed it for $4,995,000 aiming to sell with multiple offers, and the market performed as expected. My Buyer was able to close escrow in just two weeks! Happy clients all around!

301 20th StreetSold for $7,875,000 by Pence Hathorn Silver. Originally listed for $8,495,000.

1709 Georgina & 270 18th StreetListed and Sold by Pence Hathorn Silver for a combined $9,915,500. This purchase included to adjacent properties.

527 15th Street– Sold for $3,400,000. Originally listed for $3,250,000.

332 17th Street– Sold for $6,260,000. Originally listed for $6,699,000.

101 17th Street– Sold for $9,100,000. Originally listed for $8,995,000.

455 21st Place– Sold for $7,350,000. Originally listed for $7,395,000.

1208 Georgina Avenue– Sold for $11,431,200, this combined sale included an adjacent property at 209 12th. Originally listed for $8,849,000.

603 16th Street– Sold for $3,610,000. Originally listed for $3,288,000.

414 Euclid Street– Sold for $3,600,000. Originally listed for $3,800,000.

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