Single-famly homes under construction by Pardee Homes in San Diego. REUTERS/Mike Blake

The housing crisis is San Diego County is worsening, with only four smaller cities experiencing enough home building to shelter their growing populations.

That was the conclusion of a tough new report by the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce and Greater San Diego Association of Realtors, who warned that the region as a whole is building only 50 percent of the homes needed, and very little affordable on a low to moderate income.

The “housing scorecard” released Thursday found that lack of affordable housing is driving seniors and families out of the state and hurting the San Diego economy.

“Time and again we hear from employers who say their employees and potential employees can’t find housing they can afford,” said Jerry Sanders, chamber President and CEO. “For businesses in San Diego to continue to grow and create jobs we need to make sure our workforce can afford to live here.”

Among the findings from the scorecard:

  • Only four of the county’s 18 cities are building enough units to meet their need: Coronado, Lemon Grove, San Marcos and Vista
  • San Diego is building the most by far, but at a pace that will add only 51 percent of new units needed by 2020
  • Only the most expensive homes are being built in sufficient numbers to meet demand
  • Many cities have not built any units affordable by families with low to moderate income

“When San Diegans leave town, we lose part of our tax paying population and our community. And when housing is too expensive, businesses and jobs choose to go elsewhere,” said San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer. “San Diegans literally can’t afford to wait for their elected leaders to act.”

Faulconer said San Diego will promote policies that encourage middle-class housing and smart urban planning.

Bob Kevane, board president for the local Realtors association, said environmental regulations and government fees are a significant part of the problem, and also proposed making a home’s property tax base portable at any age, to allow older people to move without facing much larger tax bills.

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.