sunny isn’t nearly so interesting anymore

You know the myth: “Housing prices in San Diego are so high because everyone wants to live here.”  It’s depressing if you want to buy a home, but it turns out it just isn’t true.  We’ve been losing more people than we’ve gained over the last four years, and it started just about the time housing prices started going up.

Catherine MacRae Hockmuth of Voice of San Diego has an interesting take on it:

…a society in which only 9.4 percent of the population can afford a median-priced home is not a healthy society. The situation is bad for businesses who struggle to attract workers whose money will stretch much further in places like Dallas or Atlanta. And before you offer up San Diego’s mantra — But then you have to live in Dallas or Atlanta — consider that people who live there like it well enough and they don’t have to do financial gymnastics to own homes there.

So here’s the question: since there isn’t an influx of people driving housing prices up (at least here), and if it’s not due to rising wages or inflation, then what’s the real cause?

3 thoughts on “sunny isn’t nearly so interesting anymore

  1. Welcome to Alberta, except hoards of people are moving here, breeding like rabbits, and nobody can afford it. Our house doubled in value in less than the two years we have owned it! Doubled! (We thought it was expensve enough when we bought it.) $400 000 homes are average, 35 year mortgages are normal, as are their ridiculous monthly payments. Most of my friends are moving far away simply because they cannot afford to live here.

    Sorry, had to rant… it’s getting lonely.

    That being said, we know why things are increasing here. San Diego must have a ghost economy someplace driving costs up. It is beautiful and warm there though, and maybe that alone is doing it.

  2. Similar cituation in Chicago that depressed the heck out of me everytime a friend asks “So, are you looking for a place again?” Well, did I get a 100 k raise yet?

  3. Certainly when the prices were going up there was a certain amount of irrational exuberance as people jumped into real estate for speculative investments. And when you can get interest-only mortgages for no money down, it creates more demand among the population of buyers who are willing to take the risks or don’t know any better.

    It’s interesting too — if you have one of those 100% mortgages and prices start to go down, you’d rather leave the house on the market for a long time than bring the price down much, or else you’d end up with negative equity. So now there is more supply but many sellers don’t want to budge on the price.

    Anyway, the housing supply and demand here are so far apart that some people leaving doesn’t affect pricing much because on average, those people couldn’t afford to buy a place here anyway.

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