The sound of electric saws slicing through plywood pierces the air in the Twelve Bridges neighborhood in Lincoln, a suburb outside Sacramento where new single-family homes are rising. Despite the progress, Mike Wyatt, like many housing developers in this state, is frustrated.

Building these two-story tract homes will take a few months, but getting to that point, he says, is an exercise in extreme persistence. 

“It just takes too long in California to get projects approved,” Wyatt, regional president for K. Hovnanian Homes, adds. 

Before any nails are hammered or concrete poured, developers must navigate a painstakingly slow and complex approval process. In California, this can take years, or even decades, and cost millions of dollars in fees, far more than in other states. 

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