Economists say more housing may be key to growth in South Bay

SAN JOSE (KGO) -- Economists say chaos in Washington is making it difficult to predict what the future holds, but in the South Bay it seems more housing is needed for growth.

Traffic isn't the only thing slowing down in the South Bay.

At San Jose State's Economic Summit Thursday morning, the message there was that there are plenty of jobs, but not enough people. "Well, you can't grow an economy without people. So, at this point in time, San Jose if they want to see labor markets or economy markets grow, either they're going to have to import more and more people, but the question is where," Beacon economists Christopher Thornberg said.

Thornberg said another way to economic growth is more housing. Rental and home prices have skyrocketed in recent years, with high demand and low supply. "With affordability a major factor, gentrification and social issues will become reality," Thornberg said.

The question people in Santa Clara County will have to ask themselves at this point in time, is do they want a country club California or do they want a California that is good for everybody.

San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo said economic growth is a double edged sword. "Certainly we've created a wonderful economy. It's created a lot of misery," he said.

He said affordable housing must be a priority, but expect more high rises and not single family homes. "That's really our vision, downtown, some key areas where we have a lot of transit infrastructure is to build up, not out," Liccardo said.

The Santa Clara County Regional Intelligence report discusses many more issues including investment, wages and the state's economy.
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